Arkansas Accounting Schools
This page about accounting schools in Arkansas provides information about different types of degrees and program formats for accounting studies in the state. Many colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting that help students advance their careers or pursue professional designations. Colleges across Arkansas offer full-time, part-time, and fully online degrees. For more information about accounting program rankings, career outlooks, and professional certifications in Arkansas, read on below.
- 22 public colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Arkansas.1
- 9 private not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Arkansas.1
- 14 schools offer a certificate in accounting.*1
- 4 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.*1
- 18 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.*1
- 4 schools offer a graduate degree in accounting.*1
- No programs ranked in US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018.2
- No programs ranked in US News Best Graduate Accounting Programs 2018.3
- No schools ranked in the Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018.4
- 1 school ranked in Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016.5
*Public or private not-for-profit colleges and universities only.
Top-Ranked Accounting Schools in Arkansas
Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016
- University of Arkansas (Sam M. Walton College of Business) #74
AACSB-Accredited Accounting Programs in Arkansas
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) is a globally-recognized organization that provides accreditation for undergraduate and graduate accounting programs. While over 800 business schools have been accredited by the AACSB, only 186 institutions hold AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs, having been found to meet the rigorous standards established by the AACSB.6 The following accounting programs in Arkansas have been accredited by the AACSB:
- University of Arkansas (Sam M. Walton College of Business)
Highest First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with a Bachelor’s Degree
Each year, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) releases a report including data on candidate performance on the Uniform CPA Exam.7 The following schools had the highest first-time CPA exam pass rates in Arkansas in 2015 for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, with the overall average pass rate for Arkansas being 53.2%:
- John Brown University 81.8%
- University of Arkansas 71.3%
- University of Arkansas Fort Smith 65.4%
- Harding University 53.1%
- Hendrix College 52.4%
- University of Arkansas Little Rock 45.8%
Schools in Arkansas with Accounting Degrees
Undergraduate Accounting Programs
John Brown University
At John Brown University, students can earn a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in accounting or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting. Both degrees emphasize accounting skills and business fundamentals, including courses such as Government and Non-Profit Accounting, Cost Accounting, Managerial Information Systems, and Advanced Federal Income Tax Topics. Students learn how to understand financial information and communicate trends and business decisions that impact the success of an organization. Coursework focuses on analytical and problem-solving skills, and students also learn the real-life application of accounting concepts. Undergraduate students can choose to apply for JBU’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program and complete both undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years. Graduates go on to work in the accounting field and pursue professional designations such as CPA or Certified Management Accountant (CMA).
The Carter College of Business Administration at Harding University offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting. Students first complete a business administration core curriculum that includes interdisciplinary classes in management, finance, economics, and other related business topics. Accounting students then take specialized courses such as Auditing and Systems, Federal Tax, and Intermediate Accounting. In addition to accounting concepts, students learn technical skills used in the field as well as written and oral communication skills. Coursework emphasizes team projects, real-life case studies, and presentations. For post-graduation career opportunities, students can join university business clubs, attend seminars and career fairs, or participate in international trips.
University of Arkansas Fort Smith
At the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, students can earn a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting. This program is ideal for those interested in careers in public accountancy, financial analysis, tax, auditing, or business. Students learn technical accounting skills such as preparing tax forms, financial reports, and contracts, but undergraduates also learn how to broadly analyze and understand accounting information in order to make financial decisions. The coursework emphasizes data analysis and accounting information systems, and students also learn interpersonal skills and business communication. Those interested in pursuing the CPA designation can consider a double major within another discipline at the College of Business in order to meet the 150-semester hour educational requirement for the professional licensure.
Graduate Accounting Programs
University of Arkansas
At the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, students can earn a Master of Accountancy (MAcc). This 30-semester hour program helps students fulfill the education requirement for the CPA examination, and students review and practice for the exam throughout their graduate studies. The curriculum includes a broad advanced accounting education, and students also learn skills in critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and professional communication. Graduate students can choose from concentrations in Tax, Audit, or Industry. Students with an undergraduate accounting background may complete this program in as little as one year, and many undergraduate accounting students at UA choose this five-year path. Applicants with backgrounds in business administration, economics, or other non-business undergraduate majors may need to complete additional prerequisites.
Arkansas State University
Arkansas State University’s Neil Griffin College of Business offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree program. Graduate students can study advanced accounting topics, such as Accounting for Planning and Control, Tax Planning and Research, and Contemporary Auditing Issues before choosing from a variety of electives that match their career interests. The MAcc program emphasizes accounting knowledge but also focuses on students’ career development, offering networking opportunities, connections with alumni and recruiters, and support in professional development skills. Students in this program can obtain the additional 30 semester hours and preparation necessary to sit for professional examinations such as CPA, Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). Applicants without an undergraduate degree in accounting normally take an additional 12 hours of foundation courses.
Online Accounting Programs
University of Arkansas Little Rock
Through the University of Arkansas Little Rock’s College of Business, students can earn a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting entirely online. The online program uses the same curriculum as the on-campus option, and students take general education requirements, a business core, and then accounting classes. Required accounting courses include Intermediate Financial Accounting, Intermediate Cost and Managerial Accounting, Federal Taxation, and Auditing Theory and Practice. Students learn technical accounting knowledge as well as professional skills and analytical thinking. UALR offers online courses, day classes, and evening classes, and students can become involved in university clubs or seek internships in the region. Graduates can go on to work in public accounting, finance, business, and government.
University of Central Arkansas
The University of Central Arkansas offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree that can be completed partially online. Each required class meets one night a week, which means that most students attend class two nights a week. The rest of the coursework and assignments can be completed online, and some electives are available fully online. The curriculum teaches students conceptual and technical accounting knowledge used in the field. The coursework also emphasizes communication and leadership skills necessary to adapt to a changing business world. Many graduates choose to sit for the CPA examination before pursuing careers in accounting, business, and leadership. Those without an undergraduate accounting background may need to complete prerequisite courses before beginning the program.
Arkansas CPA Requirements
The Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy requires that applicants have at least a bachelor’s degree and 150 semester hours of academic credit in total. 30 of these semester hours must be in business courses, and 30 semester hours must be in accounting courses. Candidates can then sit for the Uniform CPA examination, and, provided they pass the examination, can search for work opportunities in the industry. Applicants must complete one year, or 2,000 hours, of work experience in the accounting field that is verified by a supervising CPA. Candidates can then obtain their CPA license in Arkansas, although they must regularly complete Continued Professional Education (CPE) hours to maintain their professional designation.
Career Opportunities for Accounting Grads in Arkansas
Many accounting graduates are able to find work in the accounting industry in Arkansas. Some individuals choose to work for themselves by opening up their own accounting, income tax, or consulting business. Major accounting firms are also a main source of employment. Local Arkansas firms include Jones & Co., Erwin & Company, and Bell, Foster, Bowman, Fleming, P.A. Top employers in the state include Tyson Foods, Acxiom Corporation, and J.B. Hunt Transport Services, and these large companies have numerous positions in accounting and finance. Accounting graduates may also find opportunities within state or local government accounting positions.
Arkansas Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Accountants & Auditors Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway||2,830||$64,760|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.8
Arkansas Schools with Accounting Degree Programs
University of Arkansas
1125 W Maple St
Fayetteville, AR 72701
The University of Central Arkansas
201 Donaghey Ave
Conway, AR 72035
Arkansas State University
2105 Aggie Rd
Jonesboro, AR 72401
915 E Market Ave
Searcy, AR 72143
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report Best Undergraduate Accounting Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/business-accounting
3. US News & World Report Best Accounting Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/accounting-rankings
4. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges 2018 Edition. Penguin Random House, 2017.
5. Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-best-undergrad-business-schools/
6. AACSB-Accredited Universities and Schools, Accounting: https://www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/accredited-schools
7. The NASBA Candidate Performance Report, 2015 University Edition: https://nasbareport.com/
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2016 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Arkansas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ar.htm