Is An Online Accounting Degree Right For You?

The appeal of an online accounting degree is hard to dispute if your circumstances mean that you can’t go to a local college or university. 

Or maybe you just don’t want to go to an onsite campus. 

Either way, let’s start answering some questions about the pros & cons and clear up some myths and give you some facts.

Who takes these online programs?

For many people it’s simply not possible to go to college or university on a full time basis. 

Maybe you have work responsibilities. Young children. Older children. Elderly parents. You don’t live near a decent brick & mortar school that offers accountancy.

Are Online Courses Brand New?

Not at all. Distance education has been around for a long time but it used to be by letter correspondence (snail mail). 

Online accounting degrees are the modern equivalent of these programs. 

But much, much better given the technology advances. Email, live chat (like skype), virtual libraries, video lessons to name a few.

What types of online accounting degrees can you take?

There’s no shortage of accounting degree program options here with the usual suspects all available:

  • Certificates
  • Associate
  • Bachelor
  • Master (PhD)

Is an online degree in accounting taken seriously?

This is a huge question. Like everything in life you have to do your homework and ask the right questions. 

Being blunt, you can research a ton of stuff out there and you’ll get a thousand different opinions on whether they are good or bad.

But first, take a step back – what do you want to actually do with your degree?

Do you want to be a Certified Public Accountant at one of the Big Four firms - PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG?

If that's the case, completing an online course is probably not the best way to go although at lot will depend on the school you choose. But here’s a novel suggestion that many people in the online forums don’t bother with. 

Go directly to your local Big 4 firms and actually speak to their career people. They’d love to hear from anyone interest in joining them. Really. 

Ask them - “I want to become a CPA but I want to get my degree online. Do you consider potential employees who take this route?”. You’ll get a real answer from a real person.

But maybe you don’t want to go work for the Big Four (or even become a CPA) and want to work in a local accounting firm. Guess what, the likelihood is that they will be far more receptive to online accounting degrees. 

And who knows, you could even be working for them part-time whilst you study.

So, yes, we firmly believe these course are taken seriously.

Are online accounting degrees accredited?

This is absolutely critical. Before you enrol at a school you have to know whether or not they are regionally and/or nationally accredited. 

The long & short of it is that to have any kind of creditability the accounting school you’re looking at must beregionally accredited. Check your school's websites and then check then check the organisation that they claim to be accredited by.

How long do online programs take?

Pretty much the same as if you were on campus. A real education takes time no matter where you do it.

Can I take the CPA exam?

Absolutely. Guess what though. Homework time. Speak to your state CPA licensing authority and tell them what you are planning to do. 

They will confirm whether or not the accounting program you're enrolling will count towards the educational requirements.

So, where can you find these degrees?

So, if you think this is the right path to follow and fits your lifestyle then great. Now you have to start researching where to find these accredited accountancy programs. 

It’s always worth repeating just how important this part of your search is. You must find a reputable college, school or university.

Currently, there's an ever increasing range on online schools offering undergraduate and graduate accounting programs. Many of them are private organizations and are very aggressive in their marketing drive.

We've also laid out 16 reasons why online accounting degree programs could make sense for you. Have a read and let us know what you think.