Study Accounting Information Systems: Associate & Bachelor's Degrees

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What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in accounting information systems? Find out program requirements, online options and info on courses and accounting information systems degrees.
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Accounting Information Systems Associate's and Bachelor's: Degrees at a Glance

The accounting information systems field blends common accounting and financial practices with computer information technology. Specialists in the field understand a company's accounting requirements, corporate governance issues and database technologies. An associate's degree program prepares graduates for a career in tax preparation, while a bachelor's degree program prepares graduates for a career designing and implementing information systems, forensic accounting or for managerial positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted 9% national growth in job opportunities for financial managers and 11% growth for financial clerks over the 2010-2020 decade.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? People interested in financial clerking or computer technician positions Individuals who want a career in financial or information systems management
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Financial clerk ($31,000)*
- Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks ($35,000)*
- Accountant or auditor ($63,000)*
- Financial manager ($107,000)*
- Computer and information systems manager ($118,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years, full-time 4 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements Roughly 60 credits Roughly 120 credits
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Rare Yes

Source: *O*NET OnLine (May 2011 figures).

Associate's Degree in Accounting Information Systems

An associate's degree program in accounting information systems provides instruction in general accounting principles and database maintenance techniques. Students in these programs learn about technical and financial concepts in courses covering topics like application programming, financial procedures and the laws that govern business accounting. Many program curriculum include simulations to provide students with practical experience, and some even prepare students for industry certifications.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Billing and posting clerks could experience 20% job growth over the 2010-2020 decade*
  • The combination of education in accounting and technology might make graduates eligible for positions outside the field
  • Many times, earned credits transfer to bachelor's degree programs

Cons

  • Associate degree holders may earn lower salaries than bachelor's degree holders
  • Some financial clerk positions will decline or experience slow growth; loan interviewers and clerks could have 3% growth, while new account clerks could see 2% growth during the 2010-2020 decade*
  • Maintaining certifications requires a commitment of time and money over the life of your career

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Courses and Requirements

These programs emphasize the development of skills in analyzing, understanding and explaining a range of accounting concepts. In them, you learn to apply the theoretical concepts of accounting practices to the development and maintenance of database technologies. Many programs offer electives in informatics, financial analysis and specific areas of accounting, such as payroll or taxes. Common courses in these programs include:

  • Principles of accounting
  • Programming logic
  • Computer accounting
  • Informatics
  • Business law
  • Macroeconomics
  • Accounting software

Online Degree Info

Online associate's degree programs in accounting information systems are available, but are rare. Some schools offer distance-education programs that emphasize accounting or information systems, while others offer accounting technology programs that develop spreadsheet and word-processing skills. Attending an on-campus program may allow you to obtain hands-on experience working in the field by completing simulations included in program curriculum.

Stand Out with This Degree

The combination of accounting and technology courses provides a sound foundation for bookkeeping and financial clerk positions. Employers may prefer candidates with knowledge of accounting procedures and common or customized financial software programs. Completing courses in these subjects may help you stand out in a crowd of job seekers.

Additionally, certification might improve your marketability. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers offers the Certified Bookkeeper Designation, which validates a candidate's skills in areas like payroll, error correction and internal controls. Similarly, Microsoft's Specialist and Technology Associate certification allow you to demonstrate your understanding of important technical concepts related to the field.

Bachelor's Degree in Accounting Information Systems

In these programs, you learn the skills required to enter computer systems design, assurance services or managerial accounting fields. These program's curriculum is usually designed to provide you with a strong foundation in programming concepts, database management principles and the regulations that govern business accounting. Graduates are typically familiar with the complexities of corporate accounting and are able to design, implement and maintain information systems that meet a business's needs.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Bachelor's degree holders may earn competitive salaries in both the accounting and computer information systems fields: approximately $70,000 average national annual salary for accountants and auditors in May 2011*; approximately $118,000 average national salary for computer and information systems managers in 2011**
  • Computer and information systems managers might see a 10-19% increase in job growth during the 2010-2020 decade*
  • Earned credits might transfer to a graduate degree program, should you consider pursuing higher education

Cons

  • Competition against master's degree holders might present a challenge for computer and information systems management opportunities
  • Financial managers who manage companies may experience 3% job growth and those in depository credit intermediation a 14% decline between 2010 and 2020*
  • Pursuing certain certifications extends your training, but you may need work experience to qualify to take certification examinations

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net Online.

Courses and Requirements

These bachelor's degree program emphasize mathematics, information systems integration and business skills. Programs deliver pre-business courses in statistics and economics followed by upper-division classes in finance and information systems. You might take courses in project management, computer security, financial reporting, marketing, data communications, managerial cost accounting and Web application development. Some programs require an internship or other practical experience to round out your education.

Online Degree Info

Online bachelor's degree programs in accounting information systems provide an education similar to those of their on-campus counterparts. Schools design programs to emphasize information systems design, accounting and business systems. You might find programs that offer a complete distance-education experience or hybrid options that combine campus courses with online classes. In online program, students take courses in topics like object-oriented analysis, intermediate accounting and information systems implementation.

Stand Out with This Degree

Becoming certified demonstrates your financial and technology skills. The CFA Institute offers the Chartered Financial Analyst credential, which demonstrates your understanding of assets, corporate finance and reporting. This credential may help you stand out to employers.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • Bachelor: Managerial Accountancy
      • Bachelor: Tax Accountancy
      • Bachelor: Auditing-Forensic Accountancy
      • BSBA - Investment
      • Bachelor: Public-General Accountancy
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA/Sports and Recreation Management - Finance
      • B.A. - Accounting
      • B.A. - Business Admin
      • B.A. - International Business
      • B.A. - Operations Management and Analysis
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Accounting
      • BS in Business Studies - Accounting
      • BS in Business Studies - Org Leadership
      • BS Finance
      • BS in Finance - Financial Planning
      • BS in Business Studies - Business Finance
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Accounting
      • B.S. Business Administration - Personal Financial Planning
      • B.S. Business Administration - No Specialization
      • B.S. General Studies - Business
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Accounting
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Applied Management
      • BS in Finance and Economics
      • BS in Business Admin.
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • B.S. - Business Management: Business Admin Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Accounting
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - Accounting
      • Bachelor of Science in Business
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Business
  • Campus and Online Programs
    9. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Accounting
      • BS - Business Administration - Finance
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Bachelor: Accounting
  • Bachelor: Managerial Accountancy
  • Bachelor: Tax Accountancy

Which subject are you interested in?

Ashford University

  • BA/Sports and Recreation Management - Finance
  • B.A. - Accounting
  • B.A. - Business Admin

What is your highest level of education?

Southern New Hampshire University

  • BS in Accounting
  • BS in Business Studies - Accounting
  • BS in Business Studies - Org Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • B.S. Accounting
  • B.S. Business Administration - Personal Financial Planning
  • B.S. Business Administration - No Specialization

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Grand Canyon University

  • BS in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • BS in Applied Management

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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • Bachelor: Accounting
  • B.S. - Business Management: Business Admin Concentration
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science in Business - Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science in Business

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