This is a detailed list of the best free and paid online bookkeeping courses.

Online bookkeeping courses are educational resources that teach you how to manage financial records for your company or an employer. Depending on the bookkeeping course you take, you will learn the fundamentals of accounting, advanced accounting methods and how to use accounting software. The right bookkeeping course can prepare you for an accounting position at a company, help you keep the books at your own business accurately, or prepare you for a new career as an accountant.

cartoon desktop screen with financial dataThis article covers:

  • the best free online bookkeeping courses
  • the top paid online bookkeeping courses for work
  • What bookkeeping skills are
  • What bookkeeping classes typically include
  • How to choose the right bookkeeping course
  • Whether you need a bookkeeping certification to practice accounting effectively

Let us dive in and take a look!

List of online bookkeeping courses

From Accounting Coach to Udemy, here are some of the best bookkeeping courses to take online.

1. Accounting Coach, LLC

Price: Free or two payment plans are available. Accounting Coach, LLC Pro Access is $49 in total. Accounting Coach, LLC is $99 and comes with additional features, such as certificates of achievement for different accounting topics and lessons.

Accounting Coach, LLC is a 2003 web-based educational platform. The company was originally founded by Harold Averkamp, a certified public accountant or CPA with a Masters in Business Administration. The Accounting Coach, LLC platform takes advantage of his over 25 years of experience accounting for various organizations.

On Accounting Coach, LLC, you will find many different accounting courses. These accounting courses cover both accounting basics and more advanced accounting subjects or principles, ranging from bookkeeping to financial statements to much more. Many of these basic classes are free to learn.

However, students can also purchase one of the two above-paid options. The Pro Access accounting package includes extra video courses, business forms, and quick assessments. In this way, you can check your progress as you learn more about accounting. The classes include tests with coaching as well.

The Pro Plus package, which is $99 in total, includes balance sheets, certificates of achievement, payroll essence, cash flow statement lessons, and more. Both paid versions of the Accounting Coach, LLC platform require one-time payments rather than charging subscriptions.

All in all, Accounting Coach, LLC’s accounting courses are excellent if you want to learn as much as possible about the accounting field. Since some of the basic courses are free, you can try out Accounting Coach, LLC first and see if you like it. Then you can upgrade to a paid package later.

Website: Accounting Coach

2. Udemy | Basics of Bookkeeping

Price: $89.99 for one class.

Udemy offers a dedicated Basics of Bookkeeping class. This class is a top-tier choice for students looking for cheap and affordable accounting courses. That is because Basics of Bookkeeping is often available at a discount. Depending on where one looks, students can take advantage of discounts for up to 70% off the initial price.

Basics of Bookkeeping is taught by an experienced instructor through the world-renowned Udemy course platform: Ron Trucks, who is both a college instructor and a small business coach. He has over 25 years of experience in the accounting field.

In total, you will progress through 50 videos and 11 sections when you take Basics of Bookkeeping. The video footage is around four and a half hours long when viewed together. Basics of Bookkeeping overviews many of the foundational concepts of bookkeeping, like how to read financial reports or track expenses. It also goes over many of the concepts and tools you will use as an accountant.

In addition, Udemy offers a 30-day moneyback guarantee for Basics of Bookkeeping and its other courses. Thus, you can try Basics of Bookkeeping with little monetary risk.

Website: Udemy Basics of Bookkeeping

3. US Career Institute

Price: $139 per month. Program is completed in 16 months minimum for a total price of $2224.

The US Career Institute is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission or DEAC. It is not one course but a full accounting program that results in an associate degree. Therefore, the US Career Institute could be an excellent choice if you want to become a professional accountant in the future.

The US Career Institute’s associate degree in accounting offers different accounting training classes, including courses on subjects like:

  • Small business management
  • Accounting principles
  • Economics
  • Tax accounting
  • Workplace psychology
  • Business law
  • And more

At the end of the course, all students get an associate degree. The associate degree program is completed online and most work is asynchronous. Thus, you do not have to worry about attending class or adjusting your schedule too much. The program is flexible and a perfect choice for students who need a distance education solution to learn their accounting subjects.

That said, the associate degree program is more expensive compared to single accounting classes found elsewhere. It is only a solid choice if you want to pursue accounting as a professional career in the future.

Website: US Career Institute | Accounting Associate Degree

4. Penn Foster

Price: Between $749 and $989 depending on your payment method.

Penn Foster College Inc. provides a full accounting program with many different accounting courses. For example, it includes a dedicated course so you can understand QuickBooks. Therefore, it is a good choice for students who want to become accountants in the future. It may also be a solid pick if you want to learn more accounting skills to enhance your career prospects at your current job.

Penn Foster’s program overviews all the tools used in the accounting industry. It preps students to start careers as bookkeepers or accountants. Its classes cover topics including but not limited to:

  • Wholesale accounting
  • Financial reports
  • Payroll
  • Tools used in the accounting industry
  • Assets and liabilities
  • Revenue and expenses

In total, it includes eight courses, three submitted projects, and 15 exams. Penn Foster’s program also teaches all students to work with popular accounting tools like QuickBooks and Excel.

In addition to the academic benefits, Penn Foster’s accounting program offers good college community support tools. Students can connect with other students in the same program and speak to their teachers regularly. Enrolling in the program is quick and easy and most of the work is asynchronous and online.

If Penn Foster’s program sounds like a good fit for you, consider how you will pay for it carefully. It is cheapest if you pay for the full program upfront. That is $749 in total. If you pay monthly with autopay, the program costs $949. It is most expensive if you mail a monthly payment; you will pay $989 in total.

Website: Penn Foster Accounting Degree

5. LinkedIn Learning | Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping

Price: $34.99 or for free if you have a LinkedIn Learning membership.

LinkedIn’s Learning branch is a professional learning platform that first launched in 2016. There are over 17,500 courses available in seven languages. The Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping course is an excellent choice if you want to learn the fundamentals of accounting.

The Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping course is one and a half hours long in total and it includes a ton of expert advice from its creators/teachers. Over the course’s duration, you will learn:

  • How bookkeeping works
  • How to create income statements or balance sheets
  • How to read financial statements
  • How to define journal entries
  • And more

Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping overall is taught by Jim and Kay Stice, both of which are accounting professors at BYU. There are six miniature courses included in the class overall.

Even better, this paid online bookkeeping course is accessible on mobile devices or your desktop. Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping is a perfect choice for beginners who want to earn professional education credits in the future.

Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping costs $34.99 by itself. If you have a $39.99 per month LinkedIn Learning membership, however, you can take the class for “free”. Annual memberships in the same program cost just $26.91 per month.

Website: LinkedIn Accounting Foundations

6. Coursera | Financial Accounting Fundamentals

Price: $59 per month or free is completed within seven days.

The massive learning platform Coursera offers a “Financial Accounting Fundamentals” class from the University of Virginia. Financial Accounting Fundamentals is taught by the same highly ranked faculty who teach at that school. You may be able to take this class for free if you sign up for Coursera’s free seven-day trial. Then finish Financial Accounting Fundamentals before the trial ends and you can leave the platform. Otherwise, you will have to pay $59 per month until the class is done.

Regardless, the Financial Accounting Fundamentals class is perfect for small business owners and entrepreneurs. It helps you understand how to better track your finances and perform other bookkeeping tasks. The video course is 14 hours long in total. Each section includes a quiz at the end so you can check your knowledge and see how your knowledge is growing.

Fortunately, Financial Accounting Fundamentals can be completed asynchronously. You do not need any experience in accounting prior to signing up, making it a good choice for beginners to accounting principles. The Coursera team, of course, offers technical and academic support throughout the process.

Website: Coursera | Financial Accounting Fundamentals

7. FreshBooks Partner Program

Price: Free.

FreshBooks is one of the most well-known accounting software options in the industry, and for good reason. It is a solid, versatile program that allows you to handle most accounting tasks for your small business. This software is a must for both small business accountants and dedicated or professional accountants.

More importantly, FreshBooks offers a free Partner Program. This Program not only includes a breakdown of how to use FreshBooks itself. It also includes a specialized class so you receive a FreshBooks accounting certification. The accounting certification is great for your own knowledge and for your career prospects if you want to work in accounting elsewhere.

The Partner Program includes:

  • Ongoing accounting skills training
  • FreshBooks accounting resources
  • Dedicated support from the FreshBooks staff
  • Personalized education

As you gain familiarity with the Partner Program, you will be added to the partner directory. Here, other FreshBooks users or clients are matched with you. Therefore, the Partner Program could be a great choice for freelance accountants looking to build their client bases for the first time.

That said, the Partner Program is only truly the best if you want to learn how to do accounting with FreshBooks specifically. If you want to learn more generalized accounting principles or how to use other tools, you will need to look elsewhere.

Website: Freshbooks Partner Program

8. Open Learn University | Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting

Price: Free

OpenLearn University offers many different free finance courses. Of these finance courses, the Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting course is one of their best choices. It is a free, eight-hour-long class that provides introductory education into the fundamentals of double-entry bookkeeping. Specifically, you will engage with topics and learn classes on subjects like:

  • How double-entry bookkeeping relates to balance sheets
  • How double-entry bookkeeping relates to profit and loss statements
  • Managerial accounting principles
  • How to perform accounting tasks for companies
  • Numerical skills for accountants and bookkeepers
  • And more

All of these topics are provided in intuitive, interactive videos and text-based platforms. Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting is an informative and helpful course overall for all types of students. Furthermore, you can easily progress from the Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting into other accounting courses. Each of these accounting courses is between two and 20 hours long.

At the end of the Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting class, you can apply for a badge of completion or statement of participation. While not the same as a professional accountant’s certification, it could still help qualify you for accounting jobs at small businesses.

Website: Open Learn University | Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting

9. US Small Business Administration | Introduction to Accounting

Price: Free.

The United States Small Business Administration or SBA also offers training courses for accountants or small business owners. The course in question is called Introduction to Accounting. It is completely free and can be completed in as little as 30 minutes.

Naturally, this means Introduction to Accounting is not as in-depth compared to some of the others on this list. Furthermore, it does not dive into as many accounting principles or subjects as other, paid courses. Still, if you complete Introduction to Accounting, you will get a course completion certificate from the SBA. That might be enough to qualify you for small business accounting positions or to buff up your resume a bit.

The SBA’s Introduction to Accounting course covers a significant range of topics in the short amount of time it takes to complete it. These topics include:

  • How to keep accurate books
  • How to read cash flow statements and income statements
  • How to read different accounting scorecards or other financial statements
  • And more

Introduction to Accounting overall is meant for small business owners who want to learn how to better control their own books without hiring a dedicated accountant.

Website: SBA Learning Platform

Final Thoughts

In the end, any of the above free and paid online bookkeeping courses could be just what you need to earn a bookkeeping certification, qualify for a stellar new job, or handle your business finances without making too many mistakes. Be sure to look further into each of the bookkeeping courses described above and to choose the one that best fits your personal or professional needs. Good luck!

Next, check out this list of the best online bookkeeping services.

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FAQs: Free and Paid Online Bookkeeping Courses

Still have a few questions about how online bookkeeping courses work? Read on for common questions and answers related to this topic.

What Are Bookkeeping Skills?

In a nutshell, bookkeeping skills are the rules, processes, and concepts necessary to perform accounting tasks accurately. Accounting includes:

  • Reading and understanding financial reports
  • Doing in-depth and/or potentially complex mathematics
  • Balancing financial sheets
  • Documenting key transactions
  • Entering financial data when necessary
  • Managing invoices
  • And more

Bookkeeping skills may seem basic, but they can be tricky to master. That is why many businesses eventually hire dedicated bookkeepers or accountants to “balance the books” and ensure that money is not lost by accident.

What Do Bookkeeping Courses Cover?

Many of the best bookkeeping courses are fundamental or overview classes. That means they break down the primary concepts and skills for bookkeeping, like how to write and read financial statements or record expenses.

However, some bookkeeping courses cover advanced or specialized topics. These include courses for those training to become dedicated accountants or bookkeepers as professionals. The exact material included in a bookkeeping course varies from class to class. Read each class’s description before signing up so you take the right course for your needs.

Who Needs a Bookkeeping Certification?

Bookkeeping certificates are academic proofs that you understand at least the basics of bookkeeping and accounting. They are very valuable for new bookkeepers who may not have lots of experience or resume references to ensure they get a desirable bookkeeping position. Furthermore, bookkeeping certifications are sometimes necessary to acquire accounting positions; certain companies will not hire candidates, for example, as accountants unless they have one or more certificates.

One of the most recognized certifications is the bookkeeping certification from the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers. However, this certification requires two years of bookkeeping experience before you can take the exam.

Do All Bookkeeping Courses Lead to Certification?

No. Only some bookkeeping courses lead to official certification of one kind or another. However, you do not usually need certification unless you want to acquire a bookkeeper or accounting position for another company.

If you want to run the books for your own business, you do not need a certification. You just need the skills. If you do wish to become a professional bookkeeper or accountant, you should prioritize a full bookkeeping program rather than just one class.