An accounting degree is an important component of an accounting career. Most job requirements for accounting and auditor positions include a bachelor’s degree, and having an advanced degree and a certification can significantly improve a candidate’s job prospects. Yet for many people, lack of time prevents them from pursuing a certification. The opportunity to learn accounting online from an accredited college or university offers people wanting to elevate their career path a way to break free from traditional time constraints.
A Look at an Online Master’s Program
A reputable online master’s in accounting program, such as the online Master of Accountancy program from Ohio University, provides students with the opportunity to develop the same advanced skills and knowledge they would receive in a traditional in-person program. The key difference in the two options is that an online program can be accessed and completed from any desktop, laptop, or mobile device with internet connectivity.
Although an online master’s program does not involve a classroom setting, this does not mean that students are isolated or left on their own. Most programs feature staff members who act as curriculum guides throughout the educational process, from enrollment to graduation. The programs also offer plenty of avenues — chat rooms, message boards — that enable students to interact, network, and share ideas with one another.
The Benefits of an Online Accounting Program
The chief benefit of pursuing an advanced degree through an online program is convenience. The flexibility that an online program offers also enables students who currently have a job to continue working while pursuing their degree. This can help them apply the skills and knowledge they learn from the curriculum, even before they finish the degree. Full-time employment can also make it easier for them to pay for the degree.
Because the program is online, there is no rigorous commuting, which means students can earn a degree from a university that might normally be distance prohibitive. Some students may also feel that online courses create a more conducive environment for their learning since they get to pursue their degree from the comfort of their home. It should be noted, however, that some programs may occasionally require students to attend professional seminars or workshops on campus.
The Importance of Certification
Most online accounting programs prepare students to apply for certification status after they earn their advanced degrees. Earning a certification is often equally important as earning a degree. An advanced degree coupled with an appropriate certification can open up doors to otherwise unattainable opportunities, such as higher-paying managerial or executive positions.
Here are several types of certifications for people with an advanced degree in accounting.
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This certification demonstrates a deep understanding of a variety of accounting topics, such as risk management, compliance, taxes, and auditing. By law, an accountant who files a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required to be a CPA.
- Certified Management Accountant (CMA. This certification emphasizes a deep understanding of accounting principles related to financial stewardship, such as financial analysis, budgeting, and strategic assessment.
- Certified Bank Auditor (CBA). This certification highlights the capacity to evaluate a financial institution’s records for compliance and accuracy.
Additional certifications include Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
Potential Jobs Available with an Online Degree
The position of an accountant is one of the most well-known jobs available to finance graduates. They are responsible for preparing and analyzing and reconciling individual and corporate financial records to ensure accuracy. The average salary for a CPA is about $64,000, according to PayScale, a firm that tracks and compares salaries.
Those who gain additional experience can take on the role of financial controller. These individuals oversee an organization’s financial vitality through careful analysis of corporate transactions and financial reports. Financial controllers may work with management to devise strategies to achieve maximum efficiency and profitability. The average salary for a financial controller is about $80,000, according to PayScale.
Another high-level job that can be pursued with an online master’s of accounting degree is an accounting director. Those in this position are typically in a supervisory role, overseeing an accounting staff responsible for handling specific aspects of an organization’s strategies. The average salary for an accounting director is about $97,000, according to PayScale.
Eventually, accountants with an advanced degree and years of experience can attain the role of chief financial officer (CFO). This executive position is tasked with overseeing a company’s entire financial operations. CFOs also work closely with the finance and accounting departments to ensure operational efficiency and legal compliance. The average salary for a CFO is about $129,000, according to PayScale.
A Worthwhile Pursuit
Earning an online master’s degree in accounting is a convenient way to advance a career in accounting. The pursuit can expand one’s knowledge and skillset and thus make them invaluable to any business’s growth. The success that can come from attaining an advanced degree in accounting can make a job in the field so much more than mere number crunching.
Find out more about how Ohio University’s online Master of Accountancy program strives to prepare students for success as financial professionals.
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Ohio University Blog, “Finance or Accounting Degree: Which One Is Right for You?”
Ohio University Blog, “Accounting Interview Questions You Should Know”
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Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Accountants and Auditors”
Huffington Post, “The Benefits of Online Learning”
Investopedia, “Certified Bank Auditor – CBA”
Investopedia, “Finding the Right Accounting Certification”
Ohio University, “Online Master of Accountancy”
Ohio University, “Online Master of Accountancy Frequently Asked Questions”
PayScale, “Account Director Salary”
PayScale, “Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Salary”
PayScale, “Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Salary”
PayScale, “Financial Controller Salary”