A bachelor’s degree in accounting prepares graduates for careers as public accountants, auditors, and accounting managers. Accounting graduates may also work as budget analysts, fraud investigators, and financial analysts. Accountants earn above-average salaries and benefit from strong job growth projections.
Our list ranks the most affordable online bachelor’s degree programs in accounting
to help prospective students find a program that fits their budget. An affordable online degree lets students increase their earning potential and achieve their career goals without incurring abundant debt.
In addition to ranking the most affordable online accounting degrees, this page introduces common accounting courses, the requirements for applying to accounting programs, and scholarship opportunities for online accounting students.
Top 10 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Degrees
||Fort Wayne, IN
||Saint Louis, MO
||Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
||Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
||Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale
||Fort Lauderdale, FL
||University of Mary
||Northwestern State University of Louisiana
||Indiana Wesleyan University
||Southern New Hampshire University
||Missouri State University-Springfield
Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Overview
Accountants prepare financial records for businesses and individuals. They may also examine financial documents to identify inaccuracies and uncover financial fraud. During an online bachelor’s in accounting degree, students complete coursework on topics like financial accounting, managerial accounting, and auditing. In addition to accounting coursework, online learners may take business courses to strengthen their professional skills.
Students may also complete an internship or capstone project to gain hands-on experience in the field. Some programs offer concentrations in areas like public accounting, forensic accounting, and finance, which prepare students for specialized careers after graduation.
A bachelor’s degree in accounting meets the minimum entry-level requirement for most accounting careers. However, to become a certified public accountant (CPA), candidates need 150 credits, which they often obtain by completing a 120-credit bachelor’s degree and a 30-credit master’s degree in accounting. In 2019, accountants earned a median annual salary of over $71,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
An affordable online degree in accounting helps professionals advance their earning potential through a flexible format without taking on abundant debt. Online schools often design their accounting programs for working professionals, offering options like flexible, asynchronous coursework. Online learning also allows accounting majors to enroll in the most affordable online bachelor’s degree programs in accounting without relocating.
Common Bachelor’s in Accounting Courses
Learners study fundamental accounting principles, such as the accounting cycle, financial disclosure requirements, and financial statements. Students learn how to record financial transactions, interpret balance sheets, and create statements showing income and cash flow.
The class trains learners in the different elements of financial statements, such as cash, inventory, payroll, and assets. Students also examine topics like balance adjustments and financial document analysis. The course prepares graduates for upper-division accounting classes.
Students learn to analyze and manage costs. Learners study topics such as organizational planning, cost flow, and strategic decision-making. Coursework explores the cost analysis process from a strategic viewpoint, including how to improve an organization’s position through managerial accounting.
Learners also study performance evaluation methods, including expenditure analysis and cost management, to forecast financial performance. The class emphasizes improving operations and lowering costs, preparing graduates for careers in business.
Auditors review financial documents to identify irregularities and errors. Auditing classes introduce auditing standards, the process of conducting an audit, and ethical considerations for auditors. Students also learn about internal vs. external audits and audit reports.
Auditing courses may incorporate case studies and hands-on auditing exercises to build career-ready skills. Coursework trains students in the reporting requirements for auditors in addition to other key auditing skills.
Public accounting classes introduce students to accounting fields that require public disclosure, including tax accounting and securities accounting. Learners study the federal income tax system, including tax regulations for individual taxpayers and corporations. Students also examine the laws and regulations governing public accounting, including rules for investments, income, deductions, and exemptions.
Online learners may review case studies, complete projects, and participate in class discussions on public accounting topics. Public accounting courses prepare graduates for the advanced study required for the CPA exam.
Forensic accounting combines accounting with criminal justice. Learners study topics like common forms of fraudulent financial reporting, methods of fraud examination, and detecting occupational fraud. Learners also explore types of fraud, like money laundering, financial theft, and tax evasion.
Additionally, students learn fraud examination techniques, like how to interview witnesses, create investigative reports, and obtain evidence. Students also learn about the role of forensic accountants in the legal system. The course prepares graduates for careers in forensic accounting and fraud investigation.
Bachelor’s in Accounting Requirements
Admission requirements vary depending on the institution, but they typically include a high school diploma or the equivalent and SAT or ACT scores. Schools often waive the standardized test score requirement for students with prior college credits.
Many affordable online colleges set a minimum GPA for admission. They may also require a personal statement detailing the student’s reasons for pursuing an online accounting degree and letters of recommendation. Some programs also consider prior work experience when admitting students.
After gaining admission, students must meet the requirements to declare an accounting major. Prospective accounting majors typically must complete prerequisites, which can include introductory accounting classes, general business courses, and a statistics class.
Bachelor’s in Accounting Scholarships
AICPA/Robert Half Student Scholarship
This scholarship supports accounting students who show potential for leadership in the CPA profession. Applicants must complete at least 30 college credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also demonstrate financial need and full-time enrollment status. Recipients receive $10,000 to cover educational costs for one year. The committee grants scholarships to four students each year. Past recipients may not reapply for the award.
AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship Award
This scholarship supports students transferring from a two-year college to a four-year bachelor’s in accounting program. Recipients must be an AICPA Student Affiliate member to qualify. Applicants can apply for membership at no cost. Applicants should be full-time students attending an accredited school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also demonstrate some financial need. Awardees receive $5,000 for one year through this nonrenewable scholarship. The foundation offers up to 25 awards per year.
AWSCPA Scholarship Award
This award supports female students earning an undergraduate degree in accounting or a related field. The committee also evaluates candidates on their leadership skills, academic achievements, and future career plans. The committee awards up to four of these $5,000 scholarships per year. Scholarship payments go directly to the student’s financial aid office to cover tuition, fees, and other expenses.
AICPA Foundation Scholarship for Future CPAs
This scholarship supports undergraduates majors in accounting or a closely related field. Applicants must plan to pursue CPA credentials after graduation. The committee reviews applicants based on their academic record, leadership skills, and career interests. Winners receive $5,000, and the foundation awards up to 25 scholarships per year. The nonrenewable scholarship must go toward tuition, fees, and other educational expenses.
Bachelor’s in Accounting Skills
During an online bachelor’s degree in accounting, majors learn hard skills, like how to file public tax documents, conduct internal audits, and monitor budgets for enterprise-level organizations. Undergraduates also gain business skills through classes in finance, management, and information systems.
Additionally, accounting majors gain soft skills, such as communication skills, which help accountants interact with clients, and organizational skills, which help professionals manage financial documents. Students also strengthen their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
Certain prior skills help incoming accounting majors succeed in their program. For example, prospective accounting students benefit from strong math skills and a detail-oriented personality.
2020 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Degrees
See our rankings methodology page.
Based in Indiana, Trine University offers one of the most affordable online accounting degrees in the nation, preparing graduates for career opportunities in CPA firms and businesses. Trine Online, the university's distance learning division, delivers a fully online accounting major within its bachelor of science in business administration.
The program's 120-credit curriculum features asynchronous courses offered in eight-week sessions. In addition to general education classes and electives, distance learners must complete 35-36 credits of core business courses and 30 accounting credits. Relevant courses include cost accounting, accounting information systems, and auditing. Students planning to sit for the certified public accountant examination must take additional courses for a minimum of 150 credits.
Trine is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Trine's accounting program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Established in 1872 as a small Catholic women's college in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville University has grown into a comprehensive, coeducational private institution. The university features over 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees, including an online bachelor of science in accounting.
Maryville's 128-credit accounting program, available entirely online, does not require any on-campus attendance. The curriculum consists of 13 core business courses and seven accounting courses in areas such as managerial accounting, forensic accounting and ethics, and financial reporting.
Distance learners interested in earning an online master's in accounting can take advantage of Maryville's Early Access option. Through Early Access, undergraduate students may take three graduate-level courses, billed at the undergraduate tuition rate, that count toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting.
Maryville is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Maryville's Simon School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, founded in 1840 as an academy for women, is the oldest Catholic college in Indiana. SMWC became coeducational in 2015. SMWC currently administers over 50 undergraduate and graduate programs. Over the past four decades, the college has developed distance learning programs designed for working professionals, adult learners, and other nontraditional students.
SMWC's 125-credit online bachelor of science degree in accounting prepares students for careers in accounting, banking, and finance. The curriculum features courses in accounting information systems, tax preparation, and managerial and cost accounting. The program offers two optional concentrations: entrepreneurship and professional prep.
SMWC provides distance learners with year-round flexible start dates, eight-week and 16-week course schedules, and technological and academic support.
SMWC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Established in 1865 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a business school, Peirce College offers career-focused, accelerated programs for nontraditional students. Peirce offers several specialized programs that enable students to earn their degree during the evening or weekend or through distance learning. The college offers most courses in seven-week formats during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
Peirce offers a bachelor of science in accounting delivered entirely online or in a blended format. Requiring some face-to-face sessions, the program consists of 121 credits. The curriculum requires either a capstone or internship. This affordable online degree provides graduates with the core course requirements to sit for the certified public accountant, certified management accountant, and certified fraud examiner exams. The curriculum features courses in accounting principles, auditing, and global dimensions in business.
Pierce offers credits for prior learning and partners with corporations to provide discounted tuition to employees.
Peirce is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Keiser provides undergraduate and graduate programs to over 17,000 students in campus-based and online formats.
Keiser offers a bachelor of arts degree in accounting as a residential or online program. The online option delivers all courses asynchronously, enabling students to complete coursework on their own schedules. Online semesters last four months. Distance learners take one course per month in their first semester. Students who earn a 3.2 GPA or higher may enroll in more courses beginning in their second term.
The accounting degree requires 120 credits, including 51 credits of upper-division accounting, finance, and business courses. The professionally-oriented curriculum emphasizes data analytics, office applications, and accounting-related software tools. This affordable online degree charges out-of-state learners the same tuition rate as in-state students.
Keiser is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The only private Catholic university in North Dakota, the University of Mary features over 65 undergraduate degrees, including accelerated programs designed for working professionals. The university's bachelor of science in accounting offers evening, online, and blended options. Online classes begin every five weeks throughout the year.
Distance learners who enroll in the fully online accounting degree can finish all requirements in 42 months. The 124-credit degree requires a capstone project and a culminating competency examination. Students planning to become certified public accountants must complete a minimum of 150 college credits to sit for the examination. Mary also offers students an accelerated pathway leading to a master's degree in five years.
The curriculum provides a strong foundation in accounting principles and business practices with an emphasis on auditing standards, Internal Revenue Service regulations, and reporting requirements for the Security and Exchange Commission.
Mary is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Founded in 1884, NSU is part of the University of Louisiana System. The university has established more than 40 distance education programs through its online division, eNSU, including one of the most affordable online bachelor's programs in accounting.
The 120-credit online bachelor of science in accounting provides online learners with financial analysis and business skills in courses such as cost accounting, auditing, and organizations and management. Graduates of this program meet state requirements to sit for the certified public accounting exam.
All distance learners pay the same flat tuition rate regardless of residency. Fast-track courses, delivered in accelerated eight-week sessions during the fall and spring semesters, give students the flexibility to focus on one or two classes each term. Summer sessions feature both four-week and eight-week schedules.
NSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Indiana Wesleyan University
Indiana Wesleyan University, the largest private Christian higher education institution in the Hoosier State, offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate programs, including an affordable online degree in accounting designed for working professionals.
Applicants to this online degree completion program must hold an associate degree or have already completed at least 60 transferable credits. The 120-credit curriculum focuses on auditing, taxation, and preparing graduates to sit for the certified public accountant exam.
IWU's accounting program features monthly start dates and a flexible, asynchronous delivery method. Distance learners complete the degree in 18-20 months depending on transfer credit. The program maintains small classes, encouraging online learners to interact with their peers and receive personal attendance from faculty.
IWU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. IWU's accounting program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Southern New Hampshire University
One of the fastest-growing universities in the United States, Southern New Hampshire University serves a student body of over 130,000 -- with a particular focus on working professionals and adult learners. Over 90,000 distance learners study at SNHU, which provides an open enrollment policy, flexible eight-week schedules, and low tuition. All online students pay a flat tuition rate and may receive further discounts for military service.
SNHU's online bachelor of science in accounting ranks among the most affordable online accounting degrees in the country. In addition to core coursework in accounting principles and practices, auditing, and financial analysis, online learners may pursue optional concentrations in forensic accounting or fraud examination. The university also offers an accelerated pathway within the undergraduate degree for students interested in earning a master's in accounting.
SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The accounting degree is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Missouri State University-Springfield
Missouri State University serves over 20,000 students through nearly 200 programs. Students interested in distance learning programs can choose from MSU's 11 affordable online degrees, including a bachelor of science in accounting.
The program's 125-credit curriculum prepares students for professional roles in business management and accounting by developing financial analysis, decision-making, and ethical leadership skills. Students may take courses completely online or in a hybrid format that combines web-based instruction with evening classes. The curriculum fulfills the educational requirements for the certified management accountant and certified internal auditor exams.
This adult-friendly, degree completion program costs well below the national average for similar degrees and less than most universities in the state. Roughly 78% of MSU's undergraduate students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, or loans.
MSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Eastern New Mexico University
The largest regional comprehensive institution in the Land of Enchantment, Eastern New Mexico University offers one of the lowest tuition rates among southwestern colleges and universities. ENMU offers 60 programs, including over 30 online programs designed for working professionals.
ENMU's online bachelor of business administration in accounting requires 120 credits and features coursework in accounting principles, taxation, and accounting information systems theory. The fully online program blends synchronous and asynchronous coursework. To support distance learners, ENMU offers advising help via email or phone, a dedicated librarian, and an online writing center.
ENMU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Alaska Pacific University
Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Alaska Pacific University offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Founded in Anchorage, Alaska in 1957, this small, private liberal arts college offers innovative and affordable education that honors the state's Indigenous heritage and emphasizes sustainability.
APU's online accounting program offers an accelerated path to a degree. The 128-credit curriculum prepares students for the certifications in public accounting, managerial accounting, and internal auditing. Designed for working professionals, the program features two major tracks in healthcare management and nonprofit management. Distance learners benefit from a peer cohort structure that encourages collaborative learning and discussion.
APU maintains specific undergraduate admission requirements for adults. Applicants to this program should demonstrate proficiency in accounting equivalent to at least six college credits. All prospective students must also have relevant professional experience.
APU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. APU's accounting program is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.
Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in 31 academic departments on campus and online. FHSU prioritizes accessible and flexible distance learning, offering over 40 online degrees. Distance learners make up approximately 65% of the university's enrollment.
FHSU's bachelor of business administration in accounting ranks as one of the most affordable online accounting degrees in the nation. Online students pay a flat tuition rate per credit regardless of residency. The 120-credit curriculum requires 27 core classes that include finance, management, and business law. Students also complete 37 accounting credits in areas like cost accounting, accounting information systems, and income tax procedure.
FHSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of South Dakota
Established in 1862, the University of South Dakota has become the flagship of the state system. USD offers 280 programs, including 50 affordable online degrees.
USD's fully online bachelor of business administration emphasizes accounting within a general business curriculum. Well-suited for working adults, this flexible and affordable online degree enables distance learners to finish their bachelor's while working full time. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate for USD's online courses. All program applicants must have already completed 45 college credits with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
USD is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. USD's Beacom School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Located in the small city of Madison, South Dakota, DSU began as a teacher training school in 1881. Today, it serves over 3,000 students in four academic colleges. Many students enroll in DSU's distance learning programs and courses, taking advantage of low tuition rates and both merit-based and need-based scholarships.
DSU's fully online bachelor of business administration in accounting prepares students for entry-level careers. A separate online option fulfills the educational requirements needed to sit for the certified public accountant examination. The 120-credit curriculum includes courses in accounting principles, management information systems, and the legal environment of business. The program delivers all coursework asynchronously.
DSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The accounting program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Founded in 1912, the UofM now serves over 22,000 students. Distance learners may choose from more than 60 affordable online degrees at the UofM, including a fully online bachelor of business administration in accounting.
One of the nation's most affordable online bachelor's degrees in accounting, this program allows students to complete coursework entirely online or through a blend of online and on-campus classes. The fully online option does not require any in-person components. The degree prepares graduates for entry-level positions in accounting and business and provides the educational foundations for the certified public accountant exam.
The UofM supports distance learners through an innovative 24/7 online tutoring service and the Smartstart learning readiness assessment, which addresses the needs of adult students returning to school.
The UofM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
This private, Christian liberal arts university offers degrees from its main campus in West Point, Georgia, at multiple sites throughout the Peach State, and online.
Point's bachelor of science in accounting ranks among the most affordable online bachelor's degrees in accounting. All distance learners pay the same tuition rate -- almost 40% below the on-campus rate -- regardless of residency. The program delivers all courses asynchronously.
The program's 120-credit curriculum features a concentration in forensic accounting and fraud examination. In addition to accounting principles and financial standards, coursework covers forensic and investigative accounting, auditing, and governmental and nonprofit accounting.
Point is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The oldest institution of higher learning in Illinois, McKendree University began in 1828 as a Methodist seminary. Today, MCK offers undergraduate and graduate programs to approximately 2,500 students at its main campus in Lebanon, its satellite centers in southern Illinois and Kentucky, and online.
MCK's entirely online, 120-credit bachelor of business administration in accounting uses a convenient delivery format that allows students to take up to two courses during each eight-week accelerated term. Coursework covers accounting principles, taxation for individuals and business enterprises, and accounting information systems.
MCK offers tuition discounts to community members, military personnel, veterans, and other adult learners. Students may transfer up to 96 credits to complete their degree.
McKendree University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Washington State University
Established in 1890 in Pullman, Washington, this public research institution serves roughly 21,000 students. In 2012, WSU launched its Global Campus, providing web-based courses and programs to approximately 3,200 distance learners.
Among the Global Campus' 20 online undergraduate degrees, the bachelor of arts in business administration features an accounting major that combines an emphasis on business theory and practice with the practical skills needed to enter the accounting field.
The program ranks as one of the most affordable online accounting degrees in the West.
WSU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. WSU's accounting program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Center Valley, PA
A private, Catholic university based in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, DeSales offers 12 flexible, accelerated, fully online degrees designed for adult learners.
The university's affordable, 120-credit online degree in business administration allows students to choose a major in general accounting or forensic accounting. Both tracks require core courses in managerial accounting, taxation, and auditing. DeSales accepts up to 75 transfer credits from other accredited schools and awards credit for prior learning, professional experience, and military experience. Distance learners at DeSales qualify for financial aid and tuition deferment programs.
DeSales is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The university's business programs, including the online accounting degree, hold accreditation from the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs.
A Pennsylvania-based, private, Catholic institution, Misericordia University serves over 2,500 students. Misericordia offers the ARCH program, an accelerated degree path for adult learners with prior college credits and work experience. The ARCH program features affordable tuition and fees, several start dates throughout the year, and the option to skip a term to accommodate busy work schedules.
Students in the ARCH program can earn a fully online bachelor of science in accounting degree in 30 months. The 121-credit curriculum combines a liberal arts core with major coursework that includes cost accounting, financial accounting, and business practices. The curriculum also incorporates training in accounting software, business writing, and presentation skills.
Misericordia is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Misericordia's accounting program is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Dickinson State University
Part of the North Dakota University System, DSU offers more than 75 programs through 10 academic departments and serves approximately 1,350 students.
The university's bachelor of science degree in accounting, one of DSU's 13 online programs, delivers all coursework asynchronously. The curriculum features two tracks: professional accounting and corporate accounting. The program charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all distance learners regardless of residency. DSU supports distance learners through online tutoring and academic advising.
DSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Penn State World Campus
University Park, PA
Launched in 1998 as the online division of Pennsylvania State University, Penn State's World Campus has grown into the second largest campus of the state university system. The World Campus awards 150 online undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificate programs and serves over 20,000 distance learners.
Penn State's bachelor of science in accounting offers an affordable and adult learner-centric curriculum. Graduates find work in the industry, nonprofit, and governmental sectors. The degree fulfills the educational requirements to sit for the certified public accountant examination. The program's 120-credit curriculum includes coursework in finance, business law, and supply chain management. In later semesters, online learners delve deeper into the accounting discipline through courses like accounting information systems and auditing.
Penn State is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Penn State's online accounting degree is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Founded in 1881, Concordia University Wisconsin offers around 80 programs and serves approximately 800 students. Affiliated with the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church, CUW also offers accelerated evening and e-learning programs.
CUW's affordable online accounting degree prepares its graduates for careers in business, government, or public accounting. The 120-credit bachelor of science in accounting also provides the educational foundations required for several professional certifications, including the certified public accountant and certified managerial accountant examinations.
CUW's distance learners receive considerable financial, advising, and academic support. CUW offers an accelerated admission process for adult students and targeted scholarships for employees of Christian churches and schools. Once admitted, distance learners work with an online student success advisor to help them navigate enrollment and academic challenges as they progress through their degree.
CUW is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Concordia University-Saint Paul
One of 10 universities operated by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, CSP serves 5,000 students through over 80 academic and professional programs.
CSP also offers 48 online degrees, including a 120-credit online bachelor of science in accounting designed for working professionals. The program's blended format combines fully online, seven-week courses with in-person courses. The degree prepares graduates to sit for the certified public accountant and certified management accountant examinations.
Once enrolled in a degree program, distance learners pay the same tuition rate each term, with no increases as long as they remain continuously enrolled.
CSP is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
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