Associates Degree in Accounting

Finance and accounting plays a major role in the success of organizations. Various accounting practices are used to manage the financial running of a firm. Accounting degree holders can choose from a range of accounting careers. Accounting jobs are among the most in demand occupations nowadays according to CCN Money Magazine. Accounting offers dynamic career opportunities as financial operations of today’s industry are becoming more complex, requiring the services of skilled accountants.US News & World report has listed accounting jobs among the Best 100.

Accounting degrees can lead to jobs in all kinds of banking institutions, private organizations, and federal agencies. One of the major reasons why more students are opting for accounting degrees is that the careers in this field come with plenty of room for advancement. Accounting can be pursued at undergraduate, graduate, post graduate, and certificate level.

Associates Degree in Accounting

Students who have completed their high school education and want to seek higher education in accounting can start off with an associate degree. This is an undergraduate program that can lead to entry and assistant-level jobs in the industry. Most students opt for associate programs to help build a strong foundation of knowledge and prepare for advanced studies ahead. In some states, an associate degree will be equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor program. Associates degree in accounting degrees are offered by many accredited colleges and universities.

What you will learn in an Associate Degree in Accounting

Accounting associates degree programs cover fundamental concepts and help students acquire basic knowledge of the field. Students will learn about accounting principles, payrolls, and how accounting methods affect the financial health of businesses. Although the curriculum of an associate degree in this field may vary slightly from college to college, some of the subjects that are most likely to be covered are:

Financial Accounting

This course provides students with knowledge about the basic rules and regulations of accounting. Students will learn how to interpret financial accounting information and understand the accounting system

Cost Accounting

Cost accounting covers the practices used for recording accounting information, classifying data, and reporting cost data. Students will thoroughly examine the methods used for budgeting, planning, and controlling.

Intermediate Accounting

This course is designed to increase a student’s understanding of financial accounting practices. Topics covered in the course include accounting cycle, closing entries, income measurement and profitability analysis, financial statement analysis, and cash flows.


The study of economics is part of a number of accounting degree programs. The course examines the basic economic system and how resources are allocated to satisfy wants/needs. Focus is laid upon areas such as American Capitalism, consumer behavior, resource suppliers, and market structures.

Applied Statistics

Applied Statistics is a course that provides students with in-depth knowledge of statistical techniques used in businesses. The course will include topics such as distribution functions, hypothesis testing, linear regression, and sampling distributions.

Accounting Information Systems

In this course, students will learn how to use different accounting software and applications. The course will allow students to generate computerized financial statements, general ledgers, and reports. This course is typically covered in a learning lab where emphasis is laid upon practical learning.

Individual Income Taxation

In this course, students will acquire in-depth knowledge of federal income tax procedures, income tax laws, property transactions, and more. The course allows students to learn how to deduct tax and how to prepare individuals and sole proprietorship returns.

Business Management

Since many accountants work in business organizations, it is important for students to have a thorough understanding of the functions of management. The course will highlight basic business terms, management skills needed, importance of communications, and managerial decision-making skills.

Objectives of the degree program:

  • Students will learn how to use and interpret financial statements
  • Apply accounting methods appropriately
  • Apply cost accounting principles
  • Handle all kinds of payroll and billing systems
  • Work within ethical boundaries
  • Inspect and analyze accounting procedures


To successfully complete the degree, students are required to complete all the curriculum components. Each course will be the equivalent to a specified number of credit hours. Students must earn the minimum credit hours for program completion. This requirement will vary slightly from college to college, but will generally fall within the range of 60-70.  Before enrolling in any accounting degree program, students must check the accreditation status of the institute. Accreditation reflects an institute’s compliance with education standards in this field. There are a few accrediting agencies that oversee accounting education, these include:

  • The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB )

All colleges have their own admission criteria. However, some basic admission requirements an applicant must fulfill include:

  • High School Diploma
  • Meet the minimum CGPA requirement
  • Letters of recommendation


An associate degree in accounting degree can lead to a number of entry-level accounting jobs. Associate degrees are a great way to enter the financial sector. Here are a few job positions along with detailed information:

Job duties: accounting assistant or clerks are required to manage routine financial operations, maintain financial records, check figures and postings, and compile various financial reports.

  • Source: O net Online (2013)
  • Median annual income: $35,730

Job duties: These professionals are responsible for managing and recording employee payroll data. Duties also include computing time worked by employees, calculating deductions, leaves, and preparing paychecks.

  • Source: O net Online (2013)
  • Median annual income: $38,670

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What are the contents of the course on Business Law in the Associate in Accounting degree program?

A:The Associate in Accounting degree program in the United States have dedicated course on Business Law. This course is of around 2 credits in total. It is designed to provide students with understanding of the basic level principles of the business law that might be applied to personal property, contracts, business organizations and real property, etc. Hands on experience is also provided.

Q:Is online education a viable option if I want to get an associate accounting degree?

A:There are plenty of schools out there which offer some excellent online programs in associate accounting degrees. These online programs allow students to study in a convenient manner without having to compromise their work or other commitments. Moreover generally speaking online educational programs are more economical as compared to traditional modes of instruction.

Q:What are some of the courses that I will study during associate of arts in accounting?

A:An associate degree in arts usually consists of sixty to seventy semester hours and takes two years of study to complete. During this degree you will study courses in: Applied management, Statistics, Tax law, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Quantitative skills, Business finance, Cost analysis, Application in productivity and Accounting for federal income tax.

Q:What are some of my other options apart from aa accounting?

A:Apart from an associate degree in accounting, the other option that you can explore is a bachelor's degree. However a bachelor's degree will take an additional two years to complete. If you are looking for a program with a shorter duration you can certainly look for a diploma or certification program.

Q:What can an associates degree in accounting prepare me for?

A:An associate's degree in accounting can prepare a student for entry level jobs in the field. The requirements for admission may vary but generally a high school diploma or equivalent is needed. Students gain understanding of tax management, accounting software, document and auditing processing, fundamentals of accounting and finance management principals.

Q:Should I pursue an associate degree in accounting online? Or is the traditional on ground campus setting better?

A:If you choose to go for an associate accounting degree online, you will get a rewarding and enriching educational experience. You will even get to save on transportation and accommodation costs. You will be taught by the same renowned faculty that teaches at the ground campuses, most of the time. However, you should ensure that the online school you opt for is an accredited one.

Q:Associate Degree Accounting offers a course on Forensic Accounting. What are the contents of this course?

A:This course will cover ways of using accounting documents for legal investigations and litigation procedures. You will be studying the up-and-coming issues like fraud, risk, liability, ethics and business law. Other topics include bankruptcy, issues in post-acquisition disputes, claims like insurance and personal injury, evaluation of economic damages etc. As an accounting student you will get to become skilled at data collection, preparation and interpretation which forms the backbone of accounting practices.

Q:What is an associates in accounting all about?

A:With an associate in accounting degree you can get into the practical field and manage financial transactions of a business or organization. This degree is typically of two years and for this you may have to study tax rules, auditing, business fundamentals and financial process that you may be required to handle.

Q:I am looking for an online associate's degree in accounting. Will it require extra ordinary math skills?

A:Normally, students who wish to pursue an accounting degree should be detail oriented and good with numbers. However, extra-ordinary math skills are not necessary for accounting. Many other attributes such as analytical skills, attention to detail, conceptual thinking, and consistent efforts are required to perform well in the online accounting degree.

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