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How to study finance and accounting online?

Learn how to fit into any type of business, whether you're a beginner or pro.

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If you’ve got a knack for numbers and finance, you might find a home in helping businesses the world over finagle their expenditures and forecast financial needs. Get started with online resources designed to introduce you to financial management, analysis and accounting — or support expanding your existing skills.

Why should I study accounting and finance?

The average annual income in the accounting and finance industry starts at $50,000 for entry-level positions and soars to $150,000 or more for senior roles.

Titles in the industry are varied and include fields like:

  • Accounting and payroll
  • Banking and financial services
  • Investments and private equity
  • Research and analysis
  • Sales and trading

Accounting provides vital financial information to a business or organization that’s used to help leaders make important decisions and projections. Nearly every company that generates profits or deals in finances relies on a competent, trustworthy accounting department to track, measure and improve performance.

While accounting focuses on collecting and measuring capital, finance studies tend to focus on the management of money within a business or organization. Because they’re so closely related, it’s not unusual for a student to take courses in both or pursue a double major at an accredited online school for more diversified skills when it comes time to finding a job.

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What courses are available for accounting and finance?

Many online colleges and universities provide the fundamental background you need to pursue a career in accounting and finance. Specialized fields of study include payroll and taxes, which you can enhance your qualifications as an accountant.

Accounting and finance courses available for online study include:

  • Associate or Bachelor’s in Accounting
  • Bachelor’s or Doctorate in Business Administration
  • MBA in Financial Management
  • Certificate in Accounting Systems
  • Certificate in Auditing and Analysis
  • Certificate in Public Accounting
  • Certificate in Taxation

Undergraduate courses

Many colleges and universities offer the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting online. Advanced degrees and certification programs provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to enter the field of accounting at a higher starting level.

Depending on the course level and your school’s accreditation, you may qualify for licensing on completion of your course to become a certified public accountant, certified internal auditor, certified fraud examiner and more.

Short courses and professional development

To enhance your studies and further your career opportunities, look into short courses that you can take while working. You may even choose one specifically designed for your job field of interest.

These courses can help you position yourself as a stronger candidate for the type of business or industry you’re hoping to work in:

  • Accounting for Managers
  • Computerized Accounting
  • NetSuite Administrator

Not all classes are recognized nationally or end with a certificate of accreditation.

What are the tuition fees and other expenses to study accounting and finance?

Tuition fees vary widely and depend on the school, the level of study you’re pursuing and the technology you need to complete it. Most colleges and universities allow you to pay in installments so that you aren’t hit with a huge bill at once.

Accounting certificates range from $5,000 at a community college to $20,000 or more at a four-year university. A bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance can range from $10,000 at an online school to $100,000 or more at a traditional university. And master’s degree follow suit with even higher price tags.

Narrow down schools that fit your needs, and then contact administration to learn how much time and money you’ll need for the course of study you’re interested in.

Where can I study accounting and finance online?

When looking into online schools and universities that offer courses in accounting or finance, you’ll want to first decide whether it’s a certificate, degree or higher-level course of study you’re interested in. A reliable source for programs and degrees — including costs and graduation rates — is the U.S. News Best Colleges list.

Digital schools for a general studies in accounting and finance include:

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