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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

Accounting education is moving toward an online learning environment. While many universities teach in the face-to-face environment, or at least offer that option, there are also many universities offering online accounting education. Attitudes and intentions of potential employers of accounting students need to be understood by academics as well as by university students. Accreditation and training can play a key role in effective online accounting education. The purpose of this study was to identify and examine factors that have a significant impact on employer perceptions of online accounting education. A survey was developed from literature review and interviews and then distributed to CPAs in Oklahoma. The research question asked if an accounting degree from an online university would affect the decision to hire an applicant. Of the 220 CPAs surveyed, 41.6% agreed that it would impact their decisions to hire. The only demographic that significantly impacted this decision was age. The other demographics surveyed: level of education, gender, employment position, and industry did not have a significant impact. The top three concerns identified were the integrity of online courses, opportunities for live interaction, and the design of effective courses. Course design, such as that implemented with Quality Matters, addresses two of the top three concerns. Knowledge of effective online course pedagogy, both by academics and students, and then conveyed to potential employers is necessary to help overcome the concerns for online accounting education.

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