Online Financial Accounting Certificate Programs

Dec 09, 2019

Research online financial accounting courses and certificate programs. Find out what you can learn in these courses and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

Essential Information

Online graduate certificate programs in accounting are available for those who already hold a bachelor's degree in a related field. These programs are typically designed for working accounting professionals. In-person proctored examinations may be required. It's important to note that most accountants and auditors are required to hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree in accounting or a closely related field.

Certificate in Financial Accounting

An online graduate certificate program in accounting aims to improve students' accounting skills in areas such as data interpretation, tax procedure, financial statement analysis, auditing and international accounting. Specialization areas may include accounting for financial analysts and accounting for controllers. Graduates should be well-versed in both the theory and practice behind financial accounting, as well as areas such as non-profit accounting, taxation of corporations, business law principles and forensic accounting.

Information and Requirements

Online graduate certificate programs in accounting are designed for accounting professionals or for individuals looking to break into the field. Programs can range anywhere from around 12-18 credits. GMAT or GRE scores are typically not required for admission into these programs. While coursework can be completed entirely online, students sometimes have to take proctored examinations at offline sites.

Students can access a wealth of materials and services online, including lecture notes, academic advising, chat rooms, tutoring, discussion boards and library resources. Computer requirements include an updated Internet browser such as the latest version of Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, as well as browser plug-ins such as Macromedia Flash Player and Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Course Topics

A professional certificate-level financial accounting curriculum emphasizes financial reporting practices and accounting principles.

Cost Accounting

An online cost accounting course focuses on accounting systems and how they contribute to the cost-effective operation of businesses and organizations. Topics covered include cost behaviors, accounting system design, relevant cost analysis, direct costing, transfer pricing and budgeting.

Advanced Financial Accounting

This course focuses on the preparation of financial statements. Areas explored include consolidated financial statements, foreign operations, business combinations and accounting methods related to trusts and estates.


An auditing course explores the techniques used in investigating financial reports and accounting systems. The course covers transaction cycles, fund accounting, official pronouncements and ethical implications.

Career Information

Financial accounting graduate certificate programs provide graduates the opportunity for career advancement in both private and public accounting settings. Certificate programs help students fulfill educational requirements needed to sit for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examinations. CPA requirements vary in some states but typically require a set number of additional hours of work beyond a bachelor's degree, which an online certificate program can fulfill. Credits earned as part of a graduate certificate program can also typically be applied towards an accounting master's degree.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment for accountants, along with auditors, was expected to increase by 6%, as fast as average for all occupations, between 2018 and 2028. The BLS also reported that accountants and auditors had median wages of $70,500 as of May 2018.

Online graduate certificate programs in accounting offer specialization options and include the in-person requirement of proctored exams. Central topics include data interpretation and analysis, auditing and statement preparation.

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