PHD in Accounting, Online?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by mtaylor583604, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. mtaylor583604

    mtaylor583604 New Member

    Hello, I am new to the forum and wanted to share my position and ask a few questions.

    I have my master's in Accounting and I would like to teach for a career in a tenure track position at a Community College or University. So far I have not had luck finding a job with just my master's, so I am considering going for a PHD, even though I am more concerned with teaching rather than research.

    As I mentioned, I have a masters and three years of accounting experience, but my GPA and GMAT scores were nothing special, so I know the top tier PHD programs and many others are probably out of the question. Is there any PHD programs that are easy to get into compared to others? Also is there any accredited online PHD programs that have a good track record of placing graduates in tenure track faculty positions at the college/ university level?

    I really want to teach for my career, so I am hoping someone can give me advice as to what my best options might be. I know an online program would be easy to get into (like Capella), but I do not know if I could actually get a tenure track position after a program like that. So I want to make sure the time and money I would put into any of these programs would pay off in the form of a tenure track position.
  2. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    There are about 100 accounting PhD programs in the U.S. If you can only get into one and get through, you're pretty well guaranteed a job starting in the range of $140K or higher. When you say your GPA and GMAT are nothing special, what are you talking about? Where did you get your other degrees? I teach at an AACSB school, in the accounting department, though accounting is a secondary field to me, I have taught some intro/principles type courses. If you feel comfortable sharing info, will be glad to give you some kind of assessment.
  3. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    I second FT Faculty's advice. There is a shortage of academically qualified (PHD/DBA) accounting faculty. Our lead accounting instructor is a CPA, but he is working on his MBA.

    My school is accredited by ACBSP. I'm on the tenure track at my institution and serve as the Chair of the department. If the accounting experience is there, a degree from Capella, NorthCentral, etc. will be fine as long as you are realistic in your expectations. You won't get a job at an AACSB institution with a degree from one of those institutions; but at smaller schools, it should not be an issue.

    For the record, I am a department chair at an ACBSP accredited institution, and I have a PhD from Capella.

    Let me know if you have questions - good luck.
  4. Taxing

    Taxing New Member

    I am also looking to move into academia and have done a fair amount of research into distance/part-time accounting programs at AACSB schools. I have not looked at non-AACSB schools. This is what I have found:

    KSU has a DBA in accounting (Doctor of Business Administration | Coles College of Business | Kennesaw State University) that is one weekend a month for three years. It is AACSB and seems to place students.

    There are several other AACSB DBA programs in the US that follow a similar format. I think Jacksonville University (FL) allows for an accounting concentration.

    The only fully online AACSB doctoral program I have found is University of Liverpool ( I cannot tell from the website if you can specialize in Accounting. There are several limited residency DBA programs in the UK.

    I think any of the above programs with a masters in accounting would give you a good shot at a tenure track position. The above programs generally do not require the GMAT.

    There are also many brick and mortar AACSB schools that do not necessarily require a great GMAT. Most of these schools supply a stipend and tuition waiver. If going to school full-time is an option, I highly recommend taking a GMAT prep course, re-taking the GMAT, and applying to schools that accept a score in your range.

    I did not see any mention of accounting credentials in your post. A CPA will greatly improve your resume for both doctoral programs and teaching positions. I believe the KSU program requires people pursuing the accounting concentration to have a CPA. Also, is your masters from an AACSB accredited school? That will also make a difference in applying to programs and for positions.
  5. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Generally, if you can get in the 600s on the GMAT, that should suffice for some school somewhere. But some of it is a matter of who you know and getting good recommendations and direction from faculty in your bachelor's or masters programs, surely they know people at other universities who mentor PhD students.

    Some accounting jobs in academia are being filled by people who don't have PhDs in accounting. One of my colleagues, a tenured accounting prof at an AACSB university, got his PhD in economics, but he's also a CPA and made partner in a public firm. Many of the job qualification descriptions call for "doctorate in accounting or related field", many have dropped the AACSB doctorate requirement, they'll often say "AACSB doctorate or equivalent", which I assume would include accredited distance UK, Australian or South African programs.

    The reasons for this are the same as the reason for the pay for new hires sometimes approaching $200K at large universities: business schools cannot find enough qualified accounting PhDs and the competition for them is fierce. Our two most recent hires were given offers in the range of $150K almost a year prior to finishing their PhD programs.

    As Shawn suggests, even a PhD from a for profit can get your foot in the door at non-AACSB institutions. But if you can go AACSB for a doctorate, all else being equal, that'd open more doors for you.
  6. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    I agree that with FT Faculty:

    1. All else being equal, the AACSB doctorate is going to have the most utility.

    2. According to your initial post, you have three years accounting experience. Doctorate or not, that would raise a flag with me. Ideally, I want to see five years of more of experience and a CPA or similar credential.

    Before pursuing the doctorate, I would obtain a CPA, gain a couple more years of accounting experience, then pursue the doctorate.

    Good luck!

  7. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Dr. Ambrose is right about the CPA. Of the 20 accounting faculty at my school, 18 of them hold the CPA and one is a Chartered Accountant, which is a Brit equivalent. Only one doesn't have a CPA, and that prof has a PhD from an AACSB-accredited university, so if you can study for your CPA, that'd help. Another thing you haven't told us is where you practice. Private accounting with some corporation? Local firm? Regional? Top-50 national? Big Four? It would certainly help to have some experience in public accounting, preferably Big Four (though Big Four is not sine qua non).

    By the way, like Dr. Ambrose's college (I looked him up), a number of very legitimate colleges and universities have business faculty with for-profit doctorates. I used to teach for a state university with about 8,000 students in the Midwest in which about half the college of business faculty have doctorates from places such as Northcentral, Capella, Walden, etc. I think a for-profit doctorate makes for very poor prospects to get on the tenure track at a legitimate university in disciplines like history, sociology, etc., but the high demand in business education, particularly accounting, makes it acceptable in a business school. Again, all else being equal, shoot for the best nonprofit university you can for a doctorate, but as Dr. Ambrose has shown, if your credentials are otherwise solid, you can get on the tenure track at a good school with a for-profit PhD.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2016
  8. foobar

    foobar Member

    If you end up pursuing a traditional AACSB doctoral program in accounting, don't EVER let them know that you are more interested in teaching than research. It would be the kiss of death for your application, and likely the kiss of death if you were already enrolled in the program.

    The traditional doctoral programs, 3rd-tier and 4th-tier included, are ALL about research. Teaching is something that one complains about having to waste time on while in a doctoral program, even if they secretly enjoy it.

    I would not let anyone know about wanting to teach until I had all of my committee's signatures on a defended dissertation.

    This would not be the case at a for-profit program.
  9. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Foobar's right, good advice. (I say this assuming the OP hasn't just headed off into the sunset and left us alone here to talk amongst ourselves--LOL)
  10. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    True that - I attended the Academy of Management Conference one year, and people were shocked that I taught 4 classes.
  11. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    I teach a 3/4. I've heard of some profs at Flagship U and Elite U who teach 1/2s or 1/1s, but of course they have massive research expectations. Even were I to do the most remarkable research of the century for my field and submit a paper screaming brilliance (by the way, not going to happen, just not in me), an A journal editor would likely look at my pedigree (Compass Point State U) and issue a desk reject.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2016
  12. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

  13. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I teach at an AACSB accredited school as FT faculty. We have discussed this program before and my problem is that most people don't know this program and I doubt it would be honored. Yes, technically you are qualified to teach business courses as FT faculty with it but most people will not look at your resume when you mention that you have no business teaching or professional experience and no business degrees but only a certificate.

    I think this certificate might work for those already working in an AACSB school and have close relationship with a faculty that can be explained that this certificate qualifies you for full time positions.

    I see you have a PhD in CS, I would not bother with it and get an MBA from a good school instead. With a CS degree you could target Information Systems and Operations Research, I think a good masters in these areas with some papers have a better chance than a certificate and it will cost you less.

    Our chair of accounting has a PhD in Economics and a CPA, I think stand a good chance to teach accounting IT with a CPA and PhD in CS.
  14. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    No silver bullet then. Shame.
    In any case, it is clear this thing will not work on its own; some accounting background is required. One can't successfully teach accounting with one and a half course in the field. Maybe I should try to get a CPA; I wonder if me working WITH accountants at Canada Revenue can satisfy experience requirement in any state.
  15. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I see you have a LLB, you might want to do a MS in Tax and try to specialize in Tax for research and development for IT companies. To teach tax you don't need a CPA as many lawyers teach Tax. To teach tax you don't need to be a member of the bar as taxation consultants do not require licensing in general.
    The LLB can open doors for taxation at some accounting faculties.

    Just an Idea. I toyed with the Idea of doing this post doc bridge a while ago, I was told that it would be better to take a post doc position at an AACSB accredited school and you will also get a certificate at the end but instead of you paying the school pays you. You could try to do this also and target information systems faculties.

    What AACSB really needs for you to become academic qualified is to publish papers in business journals. If you look at the bridge, this is what it actually requires, the school can hire you not because the bridge by itself but because you have a doctorate and have business publications. In order to become AACSB academic qualified, you don't need a PhD in business but business publications.

    The problem is not so much the PhD but publications, the so called shortage is not real, there are a lot of PhDs in business that cannot find full time academic work, the real issue is not the degree but the top journal publications in your resume. Most AACSB research schools look at the publications and teaching becomes secondary, the challenge is that you need to find a school that matches your publications with their interests. This is quite challenging and for this reason many PhDs never get hired.

    If you are targeting full time teaching at a career college, then it is not so challenging and your qualifications should be more than enough.
  16. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    This may well be the case in a number of business disciplines, such as economics, which is not that hot a field, but in accounting or finance, there is a bona fide shortage. I agree that publications or at least some conference presentations and articles review which demonstrate the propensity to produce peer-reviewed pubs is important.
  17. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    If you really want to teach accounting, you do need the accounting credit hours, and alas, you need more than a CPA, because you'll essentially need a semester of graduate accounting credit hours. That said, there are master's programs available online for people who have little or no undergraduate accounting education. UNC has one such program, and there are a number of others. If you're just dying to teach accounting, AIS (Accounting Information Systems) would be right down your alley with the CS PhD; with a master's in accounting from a well-known university, you'd be a very tempting choice for a university searching for an AIS academic. If you could marry this with a conference presentation at a AAA regional (surely you could produce something, given your background), I doubt you'll fail to land so long as there's not something seriously wrong with you, such as horrific body odor (and even then, in accounting, they're so desperate you'd still get an offer from someone).

    But what's wrong with CS academia? Is the academic field dead there?
  18. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I agree, I hold a MS in Accounting and Finance and degrees in IT. I teach courses in IT auditing and risk management. These are good areas but also there are no tons of faculty positions in AIS. I teach also computational Finance that requires a lot of excel programming.

    In any case, the idea of getting a MS in Accounting and Finance would be a good way to target Computational Finance, Accounting IS and other areas that require Accounting, Finance and IT skills. In short, there is no need for a bridge or another PhD but just get a business degree in area of demand.
  19. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Yes and no, I can see a person with a PhD Finance and quantitative degrees (e.g. Engineering, math) getting lots of offers but you also have those with a MS in History that do a PhD in Finance in a soft subject such as Governance Finance, etc. that are not so desirable for a faculty position I have dealt with people with backgrounds that are weak that have a PhD in Finance and are less capable than a person with a BS in Finance. The same can be said about a PhD in Accounting, many schools now prefer people with CPAs and a PhD for accounting faculty positions, there is the case of many PhDs in Accounting that cannot teach basic thing such as taxation, IFRS, etc as they completed a PhD with a thesis in a soft subject such as sustainability accounting or accounting ethics with no other accounting background.

    For someone like Stanislov, I think the MS in Accounting and Finance or CPA would be enough to get him into the accounting and finance fields mainly because his heavy quantitative background.
  20. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    That's excellent advise, thank you!

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