Online accounting courses are found at several institutions, including community colleges, four-year universities and private distance-learning schools. Some schools offer online accounting courses or certificates through their continuing education departments; students usually do not have to meet traditional admission requirements, but the classes do not result in earning any college credits. Other schools allow students to count the credit earned from online accounting classes towards an undergraduate or graduate certificate in the field.
Students can often earn certificates in accounting online in order to prepare for a career, increase their employment qualifications or get ready for further accounting study. The length of each accounting online certificate program varies, as do the classes included. Most programs focus on either financial or managerial accounting.
Those interested in undergraduate certificates may not have to meet any prerequisites beyond having a high school diploma and possibly taking placement tests. However, graduate-level certificates in accounting are usually designed for professionals who want to advance or refresh their skills in this field; they may also be used to prepare for professional certification exams. Prospective students in these programs must have a bachelor's degree and possibly some level of college credits in accounting.
Certificate in Financial Accounting
Financial accounting certificate programs offered online cover aspects of accounting related to interpreting, analyzing and reporting financial data. These concepts are applicable to accounting in almost all settings, including accounting for public companies and governmental agencies.
Certificate in Managerial Accounting
Online certificate programs in managerial accounting usually focus on financial decision-making. Students learn how to analyze financial reports to determine how to best manage their company's monetary assets.
Online classes in financial accounting teach students how to analyze financial statements. After learning how to interpret financial data, students explore the methods and ideas behind managing and reporting a company's finances.
Managerial accounting online classes cover topics related to budgeting, cost management, financial decision-making and critical thinking. Students are taught how to properly assess financial situations in order to determine the best course of action.
Online courses in accounting ethics discuss the types of behavior expected in a free-market economic system. Students learn about written laws and unofficial standards that govern financial interactions and reporting.
Students in online accounting classes and certificate programs usually have access to course lectures and demonstrations presented over the Internet. Course subject materials are presented in either video, audio or text format, and students commonly turn in assignments through e-mail to show that they've mastered the information presented online. Some online accounting courses allow students to meet with faculty and each other virtually through online chat rooms.
Online graduate and undergraduate certificate programs in financial or managerial accounting can vary widely, but most include studies in fundamental financial topics. The virtual classroom environment is specifically beneficial for accounting professionals who need to complete continuing education on their off-hours..