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Accredited Online Colleges with AS Degrees in Accounting

Accounting involves gathering, tracking and analyzing an organization's financial information, as well as using that information to make financial decisions, file reports in compliance with the law, and make or collect payments. Online associate degree programs in accounting help students learn the fundamentals of business and accountancy to prepare them for entry-level careers in accounting, bookkeeping or auditing, or for further study in a bachelor's degree program in accounting or other business-related major. Because organizations of all sizes and in all industries rely on accounting practices to keep their finances in order, earning an associate degree in accounting may open doors to a variety of career paths and work settings.

What does an Associate Degree in Accounting from an Online College Entail?

Online colleges in accounting often require students to complete coursework in basic accounting and accounting information systems. As students progress through their programs, accounting courses grow more advanced. Additional associate degree courses may include auditing, tax accounting, accounting for government or nonprofit organizations, and business law.

According to The College Board (collegeboard.org, 2013), students can expect to learn the three basic accounting forms: the balance sheet, the income statement and the statement of cash flow. Students who study accounting may also become familiar with tax filing and financial reporting procedures.The benefit of completing online associate degrees in accounting is that it enables students to maximize their time effectively. Earning a degree online often lets students continue their weekly work schedules and complete coursework at night or on weekends, or whenever it's convenient for them. Additionally, students in online degree programs may benefit from their frequent, hands-on use of technological tools.

Because information systems and various computer applications in accounting are vital components of the accounting profession, students in online programs may have an early opportunity to showcase these skills and enhance their technological know-how, which could benefit them in the workplace. Plus, with many accounting professionals working independently for their clients, the self-directed study inherent in online programs can provide early preparation for work environments.

Jobs You Can Have with an Online Associate Degree in Accounting

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, most employers prefer to hire accountants at least a bachelor's degree, and in some cases those who have earned the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license (bls.gov, 2012). However, it is possible to find employment as an accountant or bookkeeper with an associate degree. Online associate degrees in accounting cover accounting terminology and mathematics and may qualify graduates for work in entry-level positions such as an accounts payable/receivable clerk, bookkeeper or auditing clerk. Additionally, because accounting, bookkeeping and the principles of basic finance are critical in every kind of business, an associate degree in accounting could be helpful to business managers or entrepreneurs who have earned another degree. Experience as an accountant may make up for the lack of a bachelor’s degree for some employers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of accountants and auditors should grow 16 percent nationally from 2010 to 2020 (about as fast as average), while bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks are projected to see national employment growth of 14 percent during that period (bls.gov, 2012). Stricter laws for financial reporting and tax compliance are expected to cause an increased demand for accounting professionals, and tighter lending practices should increase demand for auditors. As of May 2012, accountants and auditors made a national median annual wage of $63,550 while bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks made $35,170 during the same time period (bls.gov, 2013). The top industries for both professions as of May 2012 were accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services and management of companies and enterprises.

Sources:
Accountants and Auditors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Major: Accounting, The College Board

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