Online MBA in Accounting Programs

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For brand-new start-ups or multinational companies around for generations, properly reconciling revenue and expenses, keeping track of budgets, and putting internal and external security controls in place are all vital. In addition, having sound accounting practices is the law. U.S. companies must follow established Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in all public financial statements. More in-depth financial reporting and regularly scheduled independent audits of these statements are also required for public companies through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ultimately, whether an organization is big, small, or somewhere in-between, the need for proper accounting methods and balanced ledgers never changes. While basic accounting training and a CPA certification are useful, a prospective accountant with an MBA may be even more valuable to a company. These specialized business degrees provide holders with instruction in management, ethical decision-making, analysis, and communication, among other subjects.

An MBA in accounting can be ideal for those seeking management-track and top leadership positions, and can also open doors for other potentially lucrative positions within a company, including finance director, risk manager, business manager, or business development manager. In addition, having an MBA in accounting can also open up opportunities as an auditor or investigator in the public sector or opportunities as a financial planner, forensic accountant, or tax specialist in the private sector.

Overall, MBA programs in accounting are available both on-campus and online. This guide explores the wealth of distance-based, accredited MBA degrees in accounting and three outstanding faculty members from schools offering these programs.

Featured Accounting Programs
Maryville University MBA - Accounting View Full Profile
Syracuse University Online MBA - Accounting View Full Profile
University of Miami Online MBA - Accounting Practice View Full Profile
Grand Canyon University Online MBA - Accounting View Full Profile
Southern New Hampshire University Online MBA In Accounting View Full Profile
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Featured Online MBA in Accounting Programs

This online MBA in accounting program provides an overview of finance, portfolio management, and budgeting. SNHU students learn the tools for proper planning and analysis, general operational management, and the latest technology in proper and compliant financial reporting.

In addition, effective legal and ethical decision-making is stressed, along with discussions of tax structure, business law, and business environments. The online format allows students to log in anytime and learn at their own pace, and no GMAT/GRE is required for admission.

Location: Manchester, NH
Duration: 15 to 24 months
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Tuition: $627 per credit

Students in the accounting specialization of the professional MBA program receive training in a variety of accounting principles, including financial strategy, creating proper financial controls, tax planning, and professional decision-making. In addition, the 48-credit program focuses on developing and analyzing required compliance forms and correct paperwork for publicly traded companies. Requirements include 30 hours of core classes plus 12-15 hours for electives in any specialization. The program can be completed entirely online, in a hybrid format, or in-person on the Denver or South Denver campus. Dual degree options are also possible with this MBA, including a medical doctorate, a master of architecture, or a graduate degree in urban planning.

Location: Denver, CO
Duration: 16 months for the accelerated on-campus program; two years for part-time online and hybrid programs
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Tuition: $642 per credit (residents); $1,416 per credit (non-residents)

The Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics offers an accounting concentration within its MBA program, including nine credits focused on financial statement analysis, international accounting methods, and accounting controls. In addition, the emphasis in the program is placed on strategic planning, understanding taxes, and current technology such as information systems.

The program is offered on-campus, online, and in hybrid formats and is ideal for students who want to set their own pace or cannot take a break from their jobs to attend school full-time. The basic program requires the completion of 44 credits, and double and triple concentrations are also available.

Location: Newark, DE
Duration: 16 to 36 months
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Tuition: $950 per credit hour

The Kania School of Management provides several focus areas for its 36-credit MBA program, including a specialization in accounting that provides practical skills such as creating and understanding reports, using technology, and effective communication and decision-making.

The non-profit private Jesuit research university also emphasizes the importance of ethics, leadership, and social responsibility. Courses in the online program cover research, fraud detection and prevention, and financial management marketing. A dual degree MBA/master’s in health administration is also available.

Location: Scranton, PA
Duration: 24 months
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Tuition: $965 per credit

Indiana Institute of Technology’s online MBA in accounting program is designed to provide people with skills in fraud examination, government work, or not-for-profit fiscal management. The program provides a foundation of business skills and preparation for the CPA exam and instruction in problem-solving skills, marketing management, ethical reasoning, statistics, and methods to identify external threats and opportunities, among other subjects.

In addition, the 36-credit program highlights some of the specialty credentials that students can earn, such as a certified fraud examiner or certified government auditing professional. Students can enroll in accelerated courses in the evenings and weekends on campus or in an online program at their own pace. The program has two-degree options: a CPA prep and a non-CPA prep track.

Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Duration: 15 to 24 months
Accreditation: International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
Tuition: $399 per credit; $1,197 per three-credit course

Maryville University in St. Louis offers a 39-credit MBA specializing in accounting. Students can complete this fully online program in as little as one year. Applicants do not require previous business experience or GMAT or GRE test scores for admission.

There are six start dates throughout the year, and students in this program benefit from a student-centered curriculum that emphasizes practical solutions. Maryville University has ranked on the Forbes list of top colleges for the past three years and offers a solid educational program accredited by the ACBSP.

Location: St. Louis, MO
Duration: 12-16 months
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Tuition: $714 per credit

The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland features an online MBA program with five specializations, including accounting. The accounting curriculum focuses on business strategy and financial asset management related to analyzing, tracking, and sharing financial data.

In addition, students in this program learn in an entrepreneurship-focused environment that emphasizes real-world learning experiences to prepare graduates for the multi-faceted business world. Applicants to this program must hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and a GMAT/GRE waiver is available to qualified applicants.

Location: College Park, MD
Duration: 24 months
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Tuition: $1,617 per credit

Located near Naperville, Illinois, Benedictine University offers an accelerated MBA with several accounting courses. This 64-credit program is presented 100 percent online and features six start dates throughout the year.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a 2.75 GPA or higher. Work experience is not required but preferred, and the GMAT is not required for admission. Dual degree options that combine an MBA with a master of public health (MPH), a master of science in management and organizational behavior (MSMOB), or a master of science in nursing (MSN).

Location: Lisle, IL
Duration: One to two years
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Tuition: $625 per credit

Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, offers a fully online MBA program specializing in accounting. This institution is nationally ranked by the U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review, and Forbes as one of the best institutions for business and accounting. Students in accounting concentration take courses in financial reporting, auditing standards and problems, cost accounting, and essentials of federal taxation. To apply, students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher on their undergraduate transcripts, GMAT/GRE test scores, and five or more years of professional experience.

Location: South Orange, NJ
Duration: One year
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Tuition: $1,305 per credit

Located in Utica, New York, Utica College offers an online MBA specializing in finance and accounting. This 30-credit program consists of 15 core courses in business, 12 credits in finance and accounting, and three credits of capstone proposal and execution courses.

Specialization courses include advanced managerial accounting, advanced financial management, financial reporting and analysis, and managerial economics. To apply, students must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.7 or higher, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and two years of professional experience. The GMAT and GRE are not required for admission.

Location: Utica, NY
Duration: 24 months
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Tuition: $700 per credit

The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University offers a hybrid MBA specializing in accounting. Students in the accounting specialization learn how to evaluate, strategize, and analyze financial decisions in small and large corporate environments.

Topics covered include taxation, auditing, financial reporting, international finance, and forensic accounting. Three on-campus residencies are required to complete this program and are offered three times per year in the United States, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and Italy. Applicants are encouraged to have at least one year of professional experience. The GMAT and GRE are optional for admission.

Location: Syracuse, NY
Duration: Two years
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Tuition: $xx per xx (residents); $xx per xx (non-residents)

The Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina offers the MBA@UNC, a hybrid STEM-designed MBA program. In 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranked UNC as the top online MBA program for its emphasis on leadership, networking opportunities, and in-person immersions around the globe. Students take courses in financial statements analysis, derivatives, real estate, taxes, managerial accounting, fixed income, and business strategies in the finance specializations.

Each week, students attend live interactive online sessions and two in-person weekend immersions at locations in Shanghai, San Francisco, Johannesburg, and Buenos Aires.

Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Duration: 18 to 36 months
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Tuition: $2,025.63 per credit

Located in western Alabama, the University of West Alabama offers an online MBA program with an accounting concentration. Courses in the accounting concentration apply to the 150 hours of courses required for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure. These courses include advanced financial accounting and reporting, accounting theory, governmental and nonprofit accounting, advanced cost/management accounting, and project and thesis courses in accounting. This program has graduated 3,000 students who pursue careers in finance, accounting, and other related fields.

Location: Livingston, AL
Duration: 12 months
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Tuition: $429 per credit

Campbellsville University offers a 36-credit online MBA specializing in accounting. Courses are offered in eight-week terms with six different start dates. Students can take classes in an accelerated timeline and complete their degree in 12 months.

To apply, students should have an undergraduate degree in accounting. The GMAT and GRE are waived for applicants with GPAs of 3.0 or higher.

Location: Campbellsville, KY
Duration: One to two years
Accreditation: International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
Tuition: $479 per credit

Located in Cheney, Washington, Eastern Washington University offers a fully online accelerated 44-credit MBA program specializing in accounting. In addition, a dual degree program is available that awards an MBA and a master of professional accounting (MBA-MPAcc), which can be completed in as few as 14 months.

Students take courses in six-week terms, and there are seven start dates available throughout the year. Accounting courses include financial statement analysis, advanced cost accounting, and international forensics accounting. Applicants without business-focused bachelor’s degrees must take 12 credits of business prerequisite classes. A GMAT and GRE waiver is available for applicants who meet the criteria.

Location: Cheney, WA
Duration: 10 to 14 months
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Tuition: $350 per credit

Located near the Oregon-California border, Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, offers an online MBA specializing in accounting. Courses in accounting specialization include accounting information systems, financial statement analysis, business valuation, and financial statements.

Once accepted, students can choose from five start dates and take courses in seven-week accelerated formats. The GMAT and GRE are not required for admission. However, applicants to this program should have an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.75 GPA. Those with lower GPAs should have three years of work experience and three professional references.

Location: Ashland, OR
Duration: 16 months
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Tuition: $430 per credit

Located in Miami Gardens, Florida, the Gus Machado College of Business at St. Thomas University offers an online MBA program with a specialization track in accounting. Students can complete this program in an accelerated timeline in just 12 months.

Courses in the accounting track include forensic accounting, seminars on selected topics in accounting, fraud examination, and international accounting. St. Thomas has a streamlined application process and accepts students with specific GPA and work experience requirements. The GMAT and GRE are not required for admission.

Location: Miami Gardens, FL
Duration: 12 months
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Tuition: $515 per credit

The 37-credit accounting program shares various accounting principles, taxation, and more knowledge. The program requires 19 credits of foundation classes, nine specialization credits, and nine credits of electives.

In addition, students learn business functions, problem-solving skills, and ethical and social considerations required to resolve corporate and public issues. Lynn University’s MBA program also focuses on leadership and decision-making at local and international levels. Notably, Apple recognized Lynn as a Distinguished School based on Lynn’s educational focus, innovation, and leadership.

Location: Boca Raton, FL
Duration: Two to four years
Accreditation: International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
Tuition: $750 per credit

The 36-credit online program provides core knowledge in economics, organizational management, and management strategy. The accounting concentration is designed to help students build skills in auditing, forensic accounting, tax and business strategy, and gas and energy accounting.

Topics discussed in Texas A&M’s program include fraud, general economics, assurance services for IT, e-commerce, and ethics and legal liability. In addition, students can complete an accelerated MBA program with just 12 courses if a student already has a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Tuition: $15,680 total
Duration: 12 to 24 months
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)

One of the goals of this interdisciplinary program at UMass Lowell is to impress upon students the value of business in our current world. Students pursuing the accounting concentration study a variety of business models, structures, and contemporary issues.

The Manning School of Business curriculum discusses the essential roles of decision-making, problem-solving, communication, political processes, and change management. The 42-credit program is available online or on-campus, and students can choose elective courses to pursue an option in accounting.

Location: Lowell, MA
Duration: 15 to 36 months
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Tuition: $575 per credit hour

Admission Requirements – Online MBA in Accounting

Drawn from the programs above, here are the standard application requirements to earn admission to an online MBA in accounting:

  • Completion of specific prerequisite business and finance courses or an abridged overview for candidates with non-business backgrounds
  • A competitive GPA from a bachelor’s degree in a field that focuses on business, finance, statistics, math, or economics
  • Some schools ask for a GMAT score; GMAT scores may be waived under certain conditions
  • A personal statement of goals and objectives
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Some professional experience in a business or financial field, often 1-2 years
  • International students must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Accreditation of Online MBA Programs

Accreditation means that a school or program has a curriculum that adheres to established standards in a discipline. A third-party accreditation agency carries out the accreditation process. In addition, several accrediting organizations verify the academic rigor and professional quality of business programs.

Business Program Accreditation

The Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) focuses on promoting and improving programs in business administration, management, and related courses such as operations, human resources, and real estate. It recognizes the importance of faculty research and providing solid knowledge foundations to students enrolled in business programs. AACSB accreditation has been awarded to about 951 schools in 53 territories, mainly more extensive programs with a more robust institutional focus. An additional 190 have a specialized accreditation for accounting programs.

Another accreditation organization is the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). ACBSP is a newer organization focusing on tangible learning outcomes and quality improvement, especially as the workforce demands change. More than 900 ACBSP accredited programs worldwide and 107 accredited accounting programs.

Lastly, the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) accredits more than 2,000 business and accounting programs across the globe. Nine programs hold the accounting program accreditation distinction. Once earned, IACBE accreditation status is valid for seven years, at which point an institution undergoes a site visit and is reviewed for reaffirmation of accreditation.

Students interested in pursuing a CPA or more advanced accounting professional titles following graduation can look for schools that follow standards recognized by state or national accounting organizations such as the American Institutes of CPA or the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

Institutional Accreditation

At a minimum, institutions of higher education must hold accreditation from one of the following regional accreditation agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Professors to Know from Schools with Online MBA Programs

  • Gail Amstutz, CPA, MBA Indiana Institute of Technology

    Gail Amstutz has taught and worked in corporate and public accounting areas for more than 20 years. Building on her teaching at Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana Wesleyan University, Professor Amstutz is currently an assistant professor teaching topics in accounting and finance.

    Notably, she volunteers to help Allen County residents with their taxes, and has experience assisting insurance companies with their financial reporting, analysis, and tax needs. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana University and her MBA from Taylor University, and is involved in various civic projects related to risk management and diversity.

  • Araya Debessay, PhD University of Delaware

    Dr. Araya Debessay teaches accounting programs and has been part of UD since the 1980s. He received the accounting department’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 1980 and 1988, and the school’s Excellence in Teaching award in 1989.

    In addition, Dr. Debassay has received many other educational and industry awards and has been appointed to the state’s Board of Accountancy. Initially educated in Ethiopia, he earned his MBA and PhD from Syracuse University. Although currently inactive, Dr. Debessary has earned professional certifications as a Certified Management Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, and Certified Public Accountant.

  • Amanda Main, PhD Lynn University

    Dr. Main is an associate professor of industrial and organizational psychology. Dr. Main received her PhD and master's of science from the University of Central Florida in industrial and organizational psychology. She teaches courses in leadership, corporate and social entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and negotiation and conflict resolution.

    Her research areas include harassment and mistreatment in the workplace, leadership, organizational climate and culture, and team dynamics with organizations such as NASA and with survivors of domestic violence.

Rachel Drummond
Rachel Drummond
Writer

Rachel is a freelance writer, educator, and yogini from Oregon. She’s taught English to international university students in the United States and Japan for more than a decade and has a master’s degree in education from the University of Oregon. A dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner, Rachel is interested in exploring the nuanced philosophical aspects of contemplative physical practices and how they apply in daily life. She writes about this topic among others on her blog (Instagram: @oregon_yogini).