“I think that my forensic accounting class will be especially valuable for my future career goals. Forensic accounting is an up-and-coming profession that is gaining popularity as the job market expands. A forensic accountant uses investigative techniques to uncover financial crimes like embezzlement. The world is full of corruption, and forensic accountants are needed to hold white-collar criminals accountable.”

Lisa Lockhart graduated from University of Phoenix in 2011 with her Master of Science in Accountancy. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She earned both undergraduate degrees from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1996.

During her degree program, Lisa especially enjoyed her forensic accounting classes. She decided to pursue her masters degree so that she can teach accounting and pass her love for the subject on to others.

In your own words, what is accounting?

Accounting is the method of recording the money transactions of a business or an individual. People use the information that accountants provide to make financial decisions.

Why did you choose to get a masters degree in accounting online?

I chose to earn my masters degree in accounting because I want to be able to teach accounting.

What do you find most and least enjoyable about studying accounting?

One thing I love about accounting is that I get to manipulate numbers. Accounting is my passion, so it doesn’t even seem like work to me. If I had to choose an aspect of accounting that I dislike, I would say that governmental accounting can be dry. I have also found it challenging to understand the concepts of mergers and acquisitions.

When you first considered studying accounting online what were your expectations?

When I started to study accounting online, I thought that it would be a lot like taking a class on campus. I expected that I would listen to a lecture online and take notes, like in a lecture hall. But, in fact, studying online is nothing like studying on campus. It is much more difficult because students have to seek out all the information on their own instead of simply listening to the professor.

What kinds of classes have you taken in your accounting program?

To earn a masters degree, I took classes in forensic, managerial and international accounting. I also took classes about auditing and fraud detection. My program also had a theoretical component that included classes like advanced accounting theory, business law and ethics.

Which of these classes do you think will be most valuable for your future goals?

I think that my forensic accounting class will be especially valuable for my future career goals. Forensic accounting is an up-and-coming profession that is gaining popularity as the job market expands. A forensic accountant uses investigative techniques to uncover financial crimes like embezzlement. The world is full of corruption, and forensic accountants are needed to hold white-collar criminals accountable. I think I will be successful as a forensic accountant because I am very analytical.

What classes do you feel will be least useful?

The least useful class that I took was accounting systems, which was about the different ways to organize data and information. I already knew how to perform those tasks because of my undergraduate experience, so it was very repetitive for me.

What resources do you use to help you succeed in your studies?

University of Phoenix provides many resources to help its students succeed. For instance, there is an extensive online library, a writing center and special accounting labs. The accounting labs are a useful resource when you are struggling with your homework because the tutors can guide you towards the resources you need to figure out a problem.

Have you done an internship in your field?

No, I was not required to complete an internship as part of my masters in accounting program at University of Phoenix.

How do you interact with your professors?

I prefer to interact with my instructors by calling them on the phone instead of e-mailing them. I feel that holding a brief conversation with my instructors is a more efficient way to communicate than a long string of e-mails.

Are you able to interact with your peers while studying online?

For the most part, I choose to interact with my peers on the phone. But we also communicate through the class discussion board, which is an online forum that our classes use to exchange information and comment on one another’s ideas.

What personality traits do you think would help a student to succeed in a accounting program and what traits would hinder success?

The most important personality trait for an online accounting student to possess is self-motivation. Online school is a difficult undertaking, and if you are not able to motivate yourself, you will fall behind very quickly. You have to take initiative and get your work done on time. If you have a question, you need to find a way to get an answer instead of making excuses.

What is your weekly schedule?

My schedule was pretty full when I was working on my masters degree in accounting. Even though I wasn’t working at the time, I had to spend several hours each week working on homework like discussion board questions, individual papers and group projects. All of my classes were just 6 weeks long, so I found it difficult to keep up with all the reading that I was required to complete. But I got the hang of it within a few months.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I want to get a job as an accounting professional. Getting a doctorate degree in accounting is an option, but that isn’t the path I want to pursue.

Do you think the fact that you studied online will affect your job prospects?

I do have some fears that having an online masters degree will negatively affect my job prospects. But I have all the skills that an accountant needs to possess. If an employer gives me a chance to show them what I can do, I don’t think I will have too much trouble.

If you were to redo the past 2 years of college, what would you do differently?

I wouldn’t do anything differently, because I needed a masters degree in accounting in order to teach. But I wish that my program would have had more depth. I expected to learn concepts that would challenge me, but I spent about $30,000 without learning anything that was radically different than the content of my undergraduate classes.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in studying accounting online?

My tip for online accounting students is not to try to skate by when it comes to your education. You should not be satisfied doing the minimum amount of work. Make sure that you put in the time early on in your program to understand the theories of accounting, because if you don’t have that foundation you will not be able to advance your knowledge.

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