Online education may meet the needs of students who do not want to attend classes or of working adults who want to obtain a college degree. Yet an open question is whether online (OL) degrees meet the needs of employers (Adams & DeFleur, 2006; Columbaro & Monaghan, 2009). Specifically, our exploratory study investigates how professionals in public accounting firms perceive OL accounting degrees as compared to accounting degrees earned in the traditional face-to-face (FTF) environment relative to a hiring decision. To examine these issues, a survey was administered to accountants of small- and large-sized public accounting firms located in the southeast United States.
Our results revealed that public accounting professionals, in general, indicate a strong preference to hire students with a traditional FTF accounting degree as opposed to a candidate with an OL accounting degree. Even when both candidates (traditional vs. OL accounting degrees) had passed the CPA examination, public accounting firm professionals still prefer the traditional accounting degree. Yet public accounting firms were more willing to hire a candidate with an OL accounting degree from an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredited university than a candidate with an OL accounting degree from a non-AACSB accredited university. Lastly, we found that the preferences for traditional accounting degrees existed across different job titles (e.g. partner, manager, senior) and different sized public accounting firms.
Kohlmeyer, J.M., Seese, L.P. and Sincich, T. (2011), "Online Versus Traditional Accounting Degrees: Perceptions of Public Accounting Professionals", Catanach, A.H. and Feldmann, D. (Ed.) Advances in Accounting Education: Teaching and Curriculum Innovations (Advances in Accounting Education, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 139-165. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1085-4622(2011)0000012009
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