A decade ago, prospective accounting students would not think twice about entering into an online degree program because they feared how employers would view their distance degree. While there were diploma mills institutions in the past, the government and accrediting bodies that set academic standards throughout the nation and across the board in different industries have identified the legitimate programs and given these programs the credentials they need to gain a positive reputation.

Because distance degrees in a variety of fields, including accounting, have gained recognition, more and more students are asking if they should attend a digital school or a traditional one. While many online schools offer credits that are transferable to other institutions, you need to consider how hiring managers in the field of accounting view an online degree before you make the leap and apply to an online school.

Do Online Accounting Degrees Prepare You in the Same Manner as a Traditional Degree?

When you take an online accounting degree program, it is just like you are learning ina classroom environment as long as you are choosing a program that is accredited by a reputable agency. A programmatic accreditation by a body like the AACSB means that the program has consistently met the standards in terms of curriculum and student performance.

These bodies will accredit both distance education programs and on-campus programs as long as they truly prepare students and bring them to proficiency with analytical tools accountants use and the challenging concepts accountants need to master. Any accredited online degree program should offer you the tools and lectures that you need to meet qualifications set by companies and also to pass the state CPA exam.

Companies Are Looking For Specific Qualifications

Hiring managers in the past admit that preference was once given to students with a traditional degree over an online degree. While some old-fashioned managers may still operate under the ideology that the traditional degree is better, managers today are focusing on different qualifications rather than the type of degree. As long as candidates for a position have the appropriate degree from an accredited school, it typically does not matter if the degree was attained on-campus or on the computer. The more important qualifications that hiring managers are looking for when looking for accounting professionals are the following:

* Oral communications
* Written communications
* Leadership ability
* Experience
* Experience with Microsoft Spreadsheets
* Analytical Skills
* Organizational skills
* Problem-solving
* Interpersonal Skills

For higher-level occupations, employers may be looking for candidates with their CPA and a Master’s degree. If you hone your written and oral communications skills during the application and interviewing process, you can show off the fact that you were a self-disciplined student who is capable of successfully working independently.

Employers may prefer a CPA to a non-CPA candidate, but this does not mean that an online accounting degree is going to disqualify you from being hired for an entry-level or even a mid-career level role in an organization. You should take time to really sift through all of the online offerings before settling on a decision so that you have peace of mind in knowing that the program is accredited and that the school is legitimate. As long as you are realistic about which occupations you are experienced enough for, you should be able to find a job shortly upon graduating from an online school. Check out  “Accounting School Profiles“.