Online MBA Programs in Accounting

Accounting is often called the universal language of business, accountancy is uniquely positioned to touch many aspects of a business organization. Businesses are relying more and more on capable accountants to drive their business forward and help them realize financial success.

In addition, governments and policymakers are turning to accountants to help them work on issues such as climate change solutions like carbon taxes or cap and trade. Whether you simply want to improve your fluency in the subject, or you’re looking to undergo a big career change, an online MBA in Accounting could be for you.


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An online MBA program is often a more flexible program option that prepares students for top jobs while they continue to work or pursue other activities.

(The below 8 online MBA in accounting programs are listed in no particular order.)

1. Athabasca University

Athbasca University logoAU began offering the world’s first online Executive MBA (EMBA) program in 1994, and today it has continued to build on this accomplishment. AU is a public Canadian university that is also MSCHE-accredited in the U.S. Its EMBA program is geared towards working professionals and built on a dynamic and challenging curriculum.

Athabasca offers an Executive MBA for Accountants online in partnership with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. The program is cohort-based, courses are asynchronous, and you can work offline or online. All courses have set start and end dates as well as assignment deadlines. Students are expected to contribute 20-25 hours of coursework per week.

A week-long residency experience and an applied project are required components of the EMBA. Completion time is typically two and a half to three years (up to five years is allowed). Accelerated students can finish in as little as 18 months.

Program Admissions
AU offers a standard entry route and accelerated entry route into its executive online MBA in accounting program. Each is based on a number of criteria, including undergraduate major (business or non-business), GPA, managerial experience, and professional accounting designation. Intakes are in winter, spring, and fall.

Foundational Coursework
Standard Coursework – Corporate Finance, Financial and Managerial Accounting, Human Resource Management, Information Technology Strategy, Marketing Management, Managerial Economics and Quantitative Analysis, Managerial Ethics and Decision Making, Operations Management, Strategic Management, and Strategy and Organizational Analysis.

2. Benedictine University

Benedictine University logoBenedictine University is a Catholic university headquartered in Illinois, and was named as one of America’s Top Colleges by Forbes in 2015. It offers an Accounting MBA online and is HLC accredited. Benedictine’s program is designed for working professionals interested in pursuing an accounting role within privately held companies, corporations, or the not-for-profit sector.

Benedictine’s 64 credit online MBA is delivered 100% online, with no campus visits required. Its course design is based on the latest research and includes a mini-capstone experience at the end of the program. To complete the accounting MBA, three concentration courses are added to the 16 MBA foundational courses. One or two classes can be taken at a time, and students typically spend 10-20 hours working each course per week.

Program Admissions
An accredited undergraduate degree in any discipline with a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required, along with an official GMAT exam score. The GMAT can be waived under certain circumstances. Foundational business courses are also necessary. Applications are received on a rolling basis.

Foundational Coursework
Standard Coursework (52 credits) – Analytical Tools for Management Decisions, Economics, Financial Management, International Business, Leadership & Ethics in a Global Environment, Managerial Accounting, Managerial Economics, Marketing Management, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, Project Management and Strategic Management.

Accounting Concentration Coursework (12 credits) – Corporate Theory and Practice 1 & 2, and Tax Influences on Decision Making.

3. Concordia University

Concordia University LogoFor more than 125 years, Concordia has provided post-secondary education with a Christian foundation. Its online MBA in accounting is designed to provide students with the skills necessary for a career as a CPA. From fraud management to systems analysis and design, Concordia’s online MBA in accounting provides a solid foundation.

The program is accredited both by the IACBE and HLC. It is 39 credits in length, which is broken into 24 core credits and 15 advanced concentration credits. Courses usually take 8-10 weeks to finish with one course completed at a time. Completion time varies for each student.

Program Admissions
An official GMAT exam score is not required. However, an accredited undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 is necessary. Foundational business courses are also required. Example topics include statistics, economics, and accounting. Additional requirements may be needed.

Foundational Coursework
Standard Coursework (24 credits) – Accounting: Financial Analysis for Decision Making, Applied Statistical Methods, Business Ethics, Corporate Finance, Human Resources Management, Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Managerial Economics, and Strategic Management.

Accounting Concentration Electives (15 credits required) – Database Management, Fraud Management, Public Speaking: Professional Reports and Presentations, Systems Analysis and Design, and Statutory Accounting.

4. Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University logoJacksonville State University offers an accredited online MBA in Accounting. JSU’s MBA in accounting is grounded in business fundamentals with an international twist and focus on changing technologies. Its online tuition is one of the lowest for an AACSB-accredited online program, and it offers a rich and diverse student body.

For individuals with an AACSB-accredited undergraduate in business, the program is 33 semester hours in length. Three courses (nine semester hours) are dedicated to advanced accounting classes, and the entire program can be completed in as little as 19 months. Studies can be pursued either full-time or part-time.

Program Admissions
For admission, an accredited undergraduate degree and GMAT score are necessary. A combination of your GPA and GMAT scores will be used to assess your eligibility. Foundational courses in business fundamentals are also required. Lack of these could result in additional courses being required. Admission occurs in the spring, summer, and fall.

Foundational Coursework
Standard Coursework (24 credits) – Business Finance, Business Organization and Administration, Legal and Social Environment, Statistics & Quantitative Methods, Principles of Financial Accounting, Principles of Macroeconomics, and Principles of Marketing, Operations Management.

Accounting Concentration Electives (9 credits required) – Accounting Information Analysis, Business Policy and Strategy, Financial Management, International Business, Marketing Administration, Managerial Economics, and Quantitative Methods for Business Decisions.

5. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University Florida logoFounded in 1889, Saint Leo University is a private, liberal arts university outside of Tampa, Florida. Its School of Business is IACBE-accredited and offers an Online MBA with an Accounting concentration. The program aims to foster and develop its students to become future business leaders and covers advanced topics such as fund accounting and fraud examination.

The 36-credit MBA in accounting program is delivered 100% online and its courses are identical to their campus counterparts. No campus orientations or visits are required. Students can take up to two courses per eight-week term and can complete their degree in as little as 12 months or extend it over five years.

Program Admissions
Admission is based on a number of criteria, including GPA, GMAT scores, maturity level, work experience, and leadership qualities. The GMAT can be waived under certain circumstances. Students can enroll anytime, and there are six start dates throughout the year. Six prerequisite foundational business courses are required.

Foundational Coursework
Standard Coursework (18 credits) – Global Business Management, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Managerial Economics, Professional Development and Strategic Management.

Accounting Specific Courses (18 credits) – Advanced Cost Accounting, Theory, Business Law and the Accountant, Fraud Examination, Fund Accounting for Governmental and Not-for-profit Accounting, and Using Financial Information.

6. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University LogoSouthern New Hampshire University was founded in 1932 and has offered an MBA program for more than 40 years. Its Online MBA program in Accounting is affordable, ACBSP-accredited, and flexible. What’s more, SNHU’s faculty is top-notch and brings real-world experience to the classroom.

The program is 39-57 credits in length (depending on the need for prerequisite business foundational courses). All courses are delivered 100% online and 10 weeks in length. A maximum of two courses can be taken at once. Completion time for the program can be as little as 15 months. Technical support is offered 24/365 via phone, online, or live chat.

Program Admissions
An official GMAT score is not required for admission. Admission is based on a variety of other factors, including GPA and resume, and applications are received on a rolling basis. Students can begin studies in any of SNHU’s five terms.

Foundational Coursework
Standard Coursework (27 credits) – Financial Analysis, Business Environment, Ethics, Corporate Culture and Social Responsibility, Finance, Economics, and Decision Making, Government Impact on Business, Innovations and Entrepreneurship, Leading in an Organization, Marketing and Strategy and Operations Management and Technology.

Accounting Specific Courses (9 credits) – Financial Reporting 1, Financial Reporting 2, and Tax Factors in Business Decisions.

7. Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Tech University logoTennessee is home to some well-known universities, including Tennessee Tech University. TTU offers over 20 graduate programs, including an AACSB-accredited MBA in accounting. The program is geared toward professionals and encompasses case methods, simulation, and research projects.

TTU’s Online MBA is 30 credit hours in length and delivered 100% online. It can be pursued either full-time or part-time and be completed in as little as 12 months. Additionally, the online program uses the same curriculum and is delivered by the same faculty as its campus counterpart. The program consists of seven core classes and three elective courses.

Program Admissions
Admission requirements include an accredited undergraduate degree (minimum GPA of 2.5) and a GMAT score (450 minimum). As of 2014, foundational business courses are not required before the accounting MBA program can be started. No work experience is required. Applications are received summer, fall, and spring.

Foundational Coursework
Standard Coursework (21 credits) – Accounting Information for Managers, Analytical Decision Making, Business Strategy, Financial Management, Management of Information Technology, Organizational Leadership and Strategic Marketing.

Accounting Concentration Electives (9 credits required) – Auditing and Attestation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Governmental, Not-for-Profit, and Healthcare Accounting, and Tax Research and Strategy.

8. University of Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts Lowell logoThe Lowell College of Management at UMass offers an AACSB Accredited Online MBA with a focus in Accounting. The degree is designed to propel managers and other professionals into leadership roles within the business world. UMass’ program is rigorous, challenging, and encompasses case studies, experiential learning techniques, and field programs.

UMass’ online MBA is 30 credits in length for individuals who have completed foundational business courses (46 for those who have not). Courses are asynchronous and delivered entirely 100% online – no campus visit is necessary (a hybrid option of online and campus classes is available). Plus, the same curriculum is taught by the same and faculty both online and on campus.

Program Admissions
To apply, students must submit an accredited undergraduate degree and official GMAT exam score. If a student has eight or more years in a managerial role, the GMAT is waivable. Prerequisite courses in microeconomics and statistics are required. Classes begin every fall, spring, and summer.

Foundational Coursework
Standard Coursework (21 credits) – Accounting Information for Management Decisions, Corporate Finance, Customers and Markets, Management Information Systems, Managerial Organization Change, Operations Management and Strategy Formation and Implementation.

Accounting Concentration Electives (9 credits required) – Advanced Management and Sustainability Accounting, Advanced Cost Management, Contemporary Accounting Issues, Globalization and Accounting, Taxation of Business Entities, and Special Topics in Accounting.

Career and Job Outlook for Online MBA Graduates

The need for accountants will grow as the globalization of business, international trade, and acquisitions continue to grow. In the wake of the corporate financial scandals of the past ten years, businesses will face even more audits and more stringent regulations. As these tighter standards become commonplace, accounting services will be expected to increase to support companies in complying with the new standards.

Consulting firm Robert Half International reports that businesses are moving their hiring focus toward positions in accounting that advocate company growth and that experienced accountants who can help businesses manage expansion opportunities will be in demand.

Top Earning Industries for Jobs

  • Auditor:
  • Government: $43,615-$61,179
  • Accounting/Auditing Firm: $46,745-$60,288
  • Bookkeeper:
  • Construction: $13.72-$20.03 Hourly Rate
  • Manufacturing and Distribution: $13.73-$18.57 Hourly Rate

Online MBA in Accounting vs. Master of Accounting

As a student looking for a business degree with a focus on accounting, you have two options. You can either pursue a business program that concentrates on accounting or do a full masters in accounting program.

A Broad Overview vs. In-Depth Training

The MBA gives you a broad overview of business management. The program typically covers many sides of the business world, giving you a general sense of how everything works. One course may cover business finances in a particular business type, such as non-profit accounting, while another course may cover business strategy in general.

The MBA program option gives you practical training in general management and entrepreneurship in addition to insight into general business finance. This training will help you make good decisions and improve your strategic planning skills. It can even pave the way for you to get into upper management. In effect, with an MBA, you equip yourself for management cadre positions and for entrepreneurship.

With a master’s in accounting, the focus is clearly on business accounting. The course content will delve deeper into this subject than the MBA. Enrolling in this type of program lets you hone in on just the money side of the business, though you will learn how it affects all areas of business. The Master of Accounting option imparts technical skills and functional training in accounting and related areas.

While both degrees equip you for a prosperous career in accounting and finance, an MBA is probably the better option if you are not sure that you want to be tied down to accounting, while the Master of Accounting option is better if you are certain you want to work in the financial side of the business.

Prior Accounting Knowledge and Work Experience

Many programs are restricted to students who have work experience. Some may require only a basic knowledge of concepts while others require you to have some specialized knowledge and experience in the field.

Prior work experience is an advantage. It can help you better understand what you are being taught and how to apply it. It also gives you more context for what you are learning. If you are getting your accounting MBA, you can put the concepts you learn to work right away; you don’t need to graduate to realize their value.

The master’s in accounting program usually does not require you to have work experience as a prerequisite for enrollment. Such experience may be viewed as a point in your favor, though. Fresh college graduates, however, should be able to follow the coursework easily and stay on par with their more experienced classmates.

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