Best Online MBA in Accounting Programs

Get started on your path towards a flexible online MBA accounting program. Discover some of the best schools for 2021 and the high-paying career paths that may be available after graduation.

Earning an MBA in accounting online is a flexible, affordable, and accommodating experience. Most programs give you the convenience to study while working, and they equip you with the tools necessary for career advancement. Knowledge gained includes fundamental business principles and core skills in auditing and financial reporting.

This guide highlights some of the best online MBA in accounting programs currently available, including learning outcomes and curriculum details. It also breaks down possible career paths, looks at potential expenses, and answers some common questions about completion time and online learning. Keep reading to start your journey towards earning your online MBA in accounting.

College Spotlights: Best Online MBA in Accounting Programs for 2021

Below is a preview of our full ranking of the best-in-class online MBA accounting programs for 2021. These schools offer the affordability, flexibility, and professional development resources you need for career advancement. Find out which programs stand above the rest and be sure to check back later this year for the complete ranking.

University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands offers an online MBA with a concentration in accounting that most students complete quickly and efficiently. The 37-credit program includes core instruction in finance, management, and economics along with specialized courses in accounting theory and tax policy. The school asks that students complete all requirements within four years, but most finish sooner. The University of the Cumberlands also accepts up to 6 transfer credits earned at an accredited institution.

Students in this online accounting MBA have complete access to the school’s range of career and student support services. The program achieves optimal levels of convenience and flexibility by using intuitive tools that combine self-paced study with structured class time in an interactive learning environment. Near the end of the program, students complete an applied learning practicum that bridges the gap between technical knowledge and practical implementation.

University of Maryland

The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business administers an online MBA with a career-focused specialization in accounting. It offers a flexible and engaging curriculum in management fundamentals with a focus on advanced managerial accounting. Graduates come away with hard skills in managing financial assets and communicating complex financial information, which they can use to craft business strategy. Students in this program experience the same academic rigor and learn from the same expert faculty as their on-campus counterparts.

Program electives cover a range of topics like supply chain management, data-driven decision making, and business operations. Students complete 54 credits and most graduate in about 24 months. Two residency experiences bookend the program: an orientation session at the beginning of study and a capstone experience near the end. The University of Maryland delivers all other learning experiences and course material entirely online.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s master of business administration with a concentration in accounting online entails 36 credits that many students complete in one year of full-time study. The fully accredited program builds in-demand skills in business and accounting to prepare students for leadership roles in their organization. The curriculum looks at behavioral management, economics, and marketing, bringing those core competencies into conversation with principles of forensic accounting and financial management.

The program trains aspiring professionals for work auditing or assisting with corporate fraud cases rooted in finance. Most classes at Southeastern Oklahoma State last 7 weeks and take place in a completely online environment for maximum accommodation. The school boasts a streamlined admissions process that does not require GMAT scores or a previous business degree. The school also extends various technology, academic, and general orientation resources to all new and returning students.

What to Expect from An Online MBA in Accounting Program

These programs begin with broad-based training in business, management, and organizational leadership. They then move to specialized learning experiences focusing on how accounting informs decision-making in business and commerce. This interdisciplinary approach supports a versatile knowledge base and cultivates in-demand skills in communication, data analysis, and operations management.

Each program delivers a sequence of course courses and offers many free electives. Those classes help build expertise even further by deepening your skill profile in areas that interest you and support broader professional needs. Some programs conclude with an integrative capstone requirement, but this is not a universal requirement.

The best online MBA in accounting programs use a range of tools and technologies to deliver program material. This typically means a blend of synchronous and asynchronous elements designed to make the experience more accommodating. This method also achieves an optimal balance between structured learning and self-paced study.

Each step of the way you can rely on intuitive technologies in an interactive environment. These include traditional email, real-time videoconferencing, nested discussion boards, chat groups, and other collaborative communication tools. These tools help you engage in common course content like that discussed below.

Common Courses

  • Financial Reporting

    This course introduces the main theories informing accounting practices and financial reporting. It looks at professional standards, industry best practices, and liability issues. Students learn to analyze financial statements, audit accounts for stakeholders, and offer sound advice in light of business goals. Additional topics may include cash measurements, inventories, and receivables.

  • Accounting Information Systems

    Students in this course receive training in the accounting process as it interacts with information systems. It looks at common issues related to accounting data storage and surveys some of the main tools and software packages used by professional accountants. It also develops facility with internal controls, account classification, and clerical functioning.

  • Regulation and Compliance

    This class offers an overview of current and historical regulations applicable to accounting and financial management. Students learn how to keep organizations compliant with ethical mandates and other legislation. They also investigate landmark case studies and develop reports based on analysis of conduct, disclosures, and court proceedings.

  • Taxation

    This course examines the historical development of tax law in the United States and builds core skills in tax preparation and auditing. Students build a sound knowledge base in financial accounting principles as they pertain to taxation, financial planning, and compensation. The class also looks at the role tax concerns play in corporate decision making.

  • Financial Markets

    This class introduces financial markets, both international and domestic, and the investment strategies pertaining to each. Students learn how interest and exchange rates are determined, what market efficiency means, and how financial institutions maintain portfolios in the global marketplace. The class also looks at policy factors and term structure.

What You Can Do with an MBA in Accounting

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in finance and accounting are expected to grow 5% by 2029. This is faster than average for most professions, but that growth rate also means high levels of competition.

Earning your degree from one of the best online MBA in accounting programs available helps set you apart from other job candidates. It qualifies you for more roles and verifies your expertise in financial reporting and asset management.

The jobs listed below offer a sampling of the positions available after graduation. In addition to positive overall growth, each occupation listed also sees above-average earnings.

Accountant

Accountants prepare financial documents and examine existing records. They identify potential areas of opportunity or risk and make recommendations to clients based on those findings. They make sure records are accurate and in compliance with federal regulations. Depending on the employer, some work to reduce costs and expand revenue.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$44,480 $71,550 $124,450

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Financial Manager

These professionals oversee all financial aspects of their organizations. They are responsible for maintaining fiscal health, monitoring investment activities, and finding new growth areas. They may supervise employees and often prepare financial statements. Some financial managers analyze market trends and create forecast models designed to increase profit.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$68,370 $129,890 $208,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Financial Examiner

Financial examiners often fulfill auditing and compliance roles. They ensure their employers operate within guidelines stipulated by local, state, and federal governments. They assess the financial condition of their organizations and often review balance sheets, expense reports, and loan documentation. Some may also evaluate internal assets and liabilities.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$43,500 $158,200 $208,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Business Executive

Top business executives usually work as chief executive officers, chief finance officers, or operations managers. Most professionals in these positions hold an MBA, and those with expertise in accounting are well situated to direct an organization’s financial activities and budget development. Additional responsibilities may include evaluating sales reports and other key performance indicators.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$62,290 $184,460 $208,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors offer counsel to private individuals by helping them manage their money and improve their financial habits. Most are self-employed and provide tax preparation services, investment guidance, and tools for retirement planning. Some may also monitor their clients’ accounts for irregularities or opportunities for further development.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$42,950 $87,850 $208,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online MBAs in Accounting

Understanding the bigger financial picture before you commit to your school of choice is important. As the table below indicates, tuition rates vary quite a bit and depend on factors like the type of school, enrollment status, and residency. So, it is always best to consult individual schools in light of your own needs before enrolling.

Tuition rates aside, there are quite a few financial aid opportunities available. Many schools offer their own scholarships or fellowships, but it’s also worth looking into private organizations or businesses and even your current employer. Stakeholders in accounting often extend merit or need-based awards to promising students.

How Much Your Online MBA in Accounting Might Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

Southern New Hampshire University

36

$627/credit

$22,572

Pittsburg State University

30

$375/credit

$11,250

Eastern Washington University

44

$338/credit

$14,872

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Accounting MBA Programs

What are the typical admissions requirements for an online MBA in accounting?

Most online MBA accounting programs follow a similar admissions process. However, requirements such as GPA thresholds and application deadlines can vary, so always check with individual schools for updates on criteria specifics. Typical admissions requirements include the following:

  • Official academic transcripts verifying successful reception of an accredited bachelor’s degree with a competitive GPA. Some schools want a business degree.
  • A current resume listing relevant professional experience. Some specify explicit business or management experience.
  • Recent GMAT scores. Some programs forego this; others offer waivers.
  • Course prerequisites for non-business majors, usually accounting and statistics. This is not a universal requirement.

Are there quality online accounting MBA programs that don’t require the GMAT?

Plenty of reputable and accredited schools don’t ask for GMAT results, including some of the best online MBA in accounting programs profiled above along with the programs at Colorado State, Maryville University, and Ohio University. If you’re concerned that the GMAT might make admission difficult for you, plenty of online MBA accounting programs do not require it.

How long will it take to finish my MBA in accounting online?

Time to completion largely depends on your situation. Most online MBA accounting programs accommodate a variety of circumstances and desired timeframes. Accelerated or intensive programs like those at La Salle, Fitchburg State, and the University of Southern Indiana graduate students in just over a year (i.e., 12-16 months on average). Other programs adopt a slower pace for busier learners and working professionals. For example, students in programs at the University of Denver and the University of West Florida usually finish in about 2 years.

Can I earn my MBA in accounting 100% online or do I need to go to campus?

Many online MBA accounting programs deliver all coursework experiences entirely online and most do not require any in-person components. Some offer optional hybrid elements for learners wanting hands-on work. Others require brief in-person sessions either at the beginning or the end of study (e.g., orientation sessions). For the most part, you will need to visit campus.

What’s the difference between an MBA in accounting and a master’s in accounting?

Both advance your career in business or accounting, but they do so in different ways. A master’s in accounting uses the same structure as an MBA in accounting – starting broad, then narrowing focus – but it focuses solely on accounting and does not deal with business or management fundamentals. A master’s in accounting begins with basic accounting theories and financial concepts and then moves to more technical considerations and practical applications. If you’re looking for more depth within the field of accounting, a master’s in accounting is a good choice. If you want a learning experience with more breadth and versatility, an online MBA in accounting is probably the best route.

Does a master’s in accounting sound like the better choice for you? If so, check out our complete guide to online master’s degrees in accounting.