Computerized Accounting: Career Diploma, Associate & Online Degrees

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What will you learn in a computerized accounting degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of a diploma and associate degree and potential careers.
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Studying Computerized Accounting: Degrees and Programs at a Glance

Financial, business and accounting professionals use computerized accounting software to itemize client, vendor and company transactions in an organized and efficient way. Training is widely available through computerized accounting diploma programs or 2-year accounting degree programs. Upon completion of these programs, you could become a financial services, bookkeeping or accounting clerk. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the category of bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks as one of the top 30 occupations estimated to increase in employment from 2010-2020.

Diploma Associate
Who is this degree for? Individuals seeking entry-level accounting positions People with little to no accounting experience seeking junior or assistant accounting positions
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Bookkeeping, accounting or auditing clerk ($36,000)*
- Payroll and timekeeping clerk ($38,000)*
- Billing and posting clerk ($34,000)*
- Accounting assistant ($25,000-$51,000)**
- Brokerage clerk ($44,000)*
- Accounts payable clerk ($25,000-$36,000)**
Time to Completion Approximately one year full-time Approximately two years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements None beyond the diploma's required coursework No additional requirements beyond those for a typical associate degree
Prerequisites High school diploma High school diploma
Online Availability Yes Yes

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), ** (10th-90th percentile range, October 2012 figures).

Diploma in Computerized Accounting

This diploma program combines general instruction in business essentials with specific acquisition of computerized accounting skills. Upon completion of the program, you'll be qualified for an entry-level position in the accounting department of a business or organization. Throughout the course of the program, you'll become a master of accounting software and computerized accounting methods. Word processing and spreadsheet programs can develop your typing and data entry skills. In addition, you'll learn business fundamentals, such as marketing and personnel management, to make you a well-rounded candidate.

Pros and Cons


  • Rather than spending years in school, these programs provide a short, fast-paced education
  • The number of accounting, auditing and bookkeeping clerk jobs is projected to rise quickly from 2010-2020*
  • The training received in a diploma program can prepare you for careers in numerous financial services and business fields


  • A diploma isn't sufficient career preparation for careers with more responsibility, such as brokerage clerks
  • The curriculum of a computerized accounting diploma program is limited and provides minimal business courses
  • You may be competing for entry-level accounting jobs with individuals who hold high school diplomas and who received on-the-job training

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

Courses and Requirements

The courses that you'll complete vary by program. Some fast-track diploma programs contain a set of core accounting courses, while longer diploma programs include preparatory coursework, such as English, math, keyboarding and communication. Emphasis is placed on software programs such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Office Suite. Given the demographic of students seeking this level of education, many diploma programs include a career preparation class to assist with the transition into the business world. The scope of a computerized accounting diploma program may extend to marketing, business ethics, managerial accounting and income tax preparation.

In a typical computerized accounting diploma program, you'll encounter the following courses:

  • Principles of bookkeeping
  • Payroll accounting
  • Microsoft Word
  • Business math
  • Spreadsheet applications

Online Degree Options

Training in computerized accounting resulting in a career diploma is available through distance learning. Some community colleges and for-profit schools have fully online programs. You would complete homework assignments and tests online as well. These online programs cover the same computerized accounting content as campus-based programs with the added convenience of self-paced study.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

While earning the diploma itself demonstrates your seriousness and interest in computerized accounting, mastering the software programs used in accounting will make you a standout candidate to employers. Tools such as 10-key calculators and accounting programs such as QuickBooks and Peachtree are worth knowing to get ahead in the accounting field. It would also be beneficial to pursue certification in an area such as tax preparation, which can keep you competitive in the field and expand your employment opportunities. Some programs offer tax preparation certification courses that can be taken while obtaining your diploma.

Associate in Computerized Accounting

The level of training received at this degree level can prepare you for field-related certifications and various public and private sector accounting positions. The program is designed to add to your basic accounting knowledge. A standard curriculum trains you to perform advanced accounting skills, including communicating with vendors and clients, applying business law and ethics to accounting situations and analyzing company costs. Computerized accounting courses are typically part of general accounting programs, but some schools have associate degree programs specifically in the subject. If you're interested in transferring your associate degree credits to a 4-year school to earn a bachelor's degree, note that Associate in Applied Science degree programs are typically non-transferable and meant for direct entry into the field.

Pros and Cons


  • Employers are increasingly seeking candidates with a degree for accounting positions
  • You'll increase your knowledge of business topics, such as economics, law and ethics, which may be useful in seeking accounting positions in private businesses
  • Some topics are offered as basic and advanced classes for more in-depth study


  • You could gain the same accounting knowledge through a diploma or certificate program without having to spend two years in college
  • A minimum of a bachelor's degree is needed if you intend to become a Certified Public Accountant
  • A career as a cost estimator, auditor or tax examiner require a bachelor's degree

Courses and Requirements

Associate degree content focuses on business and finance document preparation, as well as its applicable software. You may learn how to prepare and interpret financial reports, decipher accounting case studies and gain expertise in accounting procedures. General education courses might include English, public speaking, humanities and communication. You could complete computer classes in information systems, digital technologies, QuickBooks and Peachtree. The following classes may be offered in an associate degree program:

  • Macroeconomics
  • Managerial accounting
  • Individual income tax preparation
  • Computer spreadsheet applications
  • Financial accounting

Online Degree Options

While not abundant, fully online accounting associate degree programs with courses in computer fundamentals are available. You'll gain the same basic and advanced accounting knowledge, and have opportunities to learn the various methods of computing accounting information. If you're looking for standalone accounting courses covering computer topics, some schools provide online courses.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Similar to diploma graduates, future accounting professionals should learn various software programs to operate proficiently in a workplace and to stand out in this field. Associate degree programs include an array of fundamental computer classes, along with advanced content that may be useful to employers, like e-commerce. In the field of accounting and business, it's important to be knowledgeable about various computer applications and understand how to create spreadsheets, maintain databases and manually enter numerical data.

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