How to Identify Outstanding Accounting Programs

  • Professors’ Credentials
  • Program’s Accreditation
  • Percentage of Working Alumni
  • Graduation and Retention Rates
  • Financial Assistance Accessibility

In order to identify a solid online accounting degree program, prospective students need to do some in-depth research. Before they begin, however, they must figure out what signs actually indicate that an internet-based program is good. The ones listed below are a great starting point.

Related resource: Top 10 Online Colleges for Accounting

Program’s Accreditation

Determining if the university’s department has the necessary accreditation is vital. For accounting, the greatest accreditation comes from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Due to its strict requirements, only 168 programs across the entire United States have it. Of course, there are many other accrediting bodies that improve the program’s credibility. The students simply need to look into the details and determine if they are satisfied by the level of trustworthiness. If they are, they can move on to some other inquiries that help pin-point prominent options.

Professors’ Credentials

Although schools that have high-level accreditations for their accounting programs are probably going to pass this test, students should still do it. Namely, some of the basic giveaways of the quality of online education are professors’ credentials. For this particular market, that means analyzing if they have their CPA licenses or Ph.D. degrees in accounting. Having either one of those two is usually going to translate into effective teaching. After all, a professional license or completion of doctorate studies indicates excellent familiarity with the material.

Percentage of Working Alumni

The next factor that could be a great sign revolves around the percentage of working alumni. In other words, what is the number of former online students that actually work in accounting at the moment? If it is very low, there might be some concerns pertaining to the school’s ability to connect students with employers. The same is true for the vice-versa situation. If the vast majority of alumni are successful accountants working across the public and private sector, it is clear that the program has far-reaching connections to the job market.

Graduation and Retention Rates

Due to the fact that accounting studies are one of the most difficult programs in the business sector, retention and graduation rates constantly go up and down. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), for example, the graduation rates for 2016 were 19 percent lower than the ones from the year before. A great way to determine how well an online accounting program is performing is to cross-reference their rates with the AICPA’s numbers. So, if the U.S. market is facilitating a higher number of graduates and a certain program is showing lower retention rates, there is a clear discrepancy.

Financial Assistance Accessibility

The final indication of some degree’s quality pertains to financial assistance. It is important to note that this has nothing to do with federal assistance programs. The reason why is that they are available at practically every institution of higher education. Instead, the number of scholarships and grants customized for that particular online program are a much better sign. This is because successful degree plans tend to carry a long list of external and internal sources of financial aid that come from successful donors. Well, having such donors means that the program is doing something right to earn monetary support.

Besides conducting internet-based research, prospective students should also communicate with alumni and advisors who work for the accounting school in question. Doing so will help them get some first-hand information that often helps pinpoint solid online accounting programs.