Accounting is the computing, analyzing, and reporting of personal or business financial accounts. Accountants are in charge of making sure all expenses and taxes are paid by an individual or company. They track the movement of money among accounts and offer suggestions that can benefit the budget. The exact nature of an accounting career depends upon the subfield. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are four main subfields:

  • Public accounting.

    Public accountants serve corporations, non-profits, and individuals by performing consulting, analysis, and budgeting assistance. Many public accountants are certified public accountants that offer services like financial planning and tax preparation for their clients.

  • Management accounting.

    As members of the executive branch of a corporation, management accountants are in charge of long-term financial planning and analysis. They provide consultation and advice geared toward maximizing company profits and minimizing expenditures.

  • Government accounting.

    Government accountants are primarily concerned with the public sector. They examine the budgets of governmental agencies and monitor taxes and regulations. They also examine companies and businesses to make sure they follow tax laws.

  • Internal auditing.

    Internal auditors examine a business’s financial records to detect fraud, unnecessary spending, and poor efficiency. In doing so, they are able to help the company improve upon practices that affect the effectiveness and revenue of the company.

What Can I Do With an Online Degree in Accounting?

Researching online accounting programs is a good first step in establishing a career. In order to obtain accountant jobs, prospective employees must have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, it is common for accountants to obtain certification as public accountants, because doing so can improve job prospects and salaries, according to the BLS. Though all states use the same exam for certification, the specifications for qualifying for and upholding the certification varies based on state. Many states require continuing education hours for certified accountants.

Accountant and auditor salaries are dependent upon certification, experience, education, and subfield. According to the BLS, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll service accountants make an average of $61,480. Management accountants make an average of $59,820, while local government accountants make $53,660. State accountants average $51,250 annually.

PayScale.com lists New York City as being the best city for prospective accountants, with an accounting salary range of $34,017 to $71,679. Houston, Texas, is a close second, with accountant salaries averaging as high as $61,406. Average accountant salaries in Chicago, Illinois, range from $34,398 to $61,555. However, even with a certification, there is no guarantee that you will be able to find a career as an accountant. Success is dependent upon job prospects, the specific accounting firms, experience, and location.

What Is It Like To Get An Online Degree in Accounting?

Online degrees in accounting utilize an online portal through which all course work can be accessed. Students can download lectures, upload assignments, and engage in forum and chat discussions. At the bachelor’s degree level, accounting students take classes in finance, bookkeeping, auditing, payroll, and accounting software. Bachelor’s students also take classes in general content areas, like history, English, and science, as the goal of a bachelor’s degree is to help students achieve a well-rounded education.

At the graduate level, students delve deeper into accounting principles. They take course work in analysis, business law, and research. When earning a doctorate degree, students must complete a thorough research project known as a dissertation over an area that affects current financial theory and practice. At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, colleges and universities tailor classes to prepare students for the certified public accountant examination.

Certificates

Associate's

Bachelor's

Master's

Doctor's