Top 10 Affordable Online Accounting Courses for You

Are you a student looking for online accounting courses to boost your accounting knowledge ahead of your certification or CPA exams? Or a businessman trying to understand the concepts of accounting and the roles they play in the growth of your business? Then look no further.

In this article,  we’ve assembled ten affordable online accounting courses that can move you from being a novice to an expert in accounting in less than two months.

You see, no matter how we try to avoid it, solid accounting practices is the pillar that keeps every successful business successful. No business can boast that it’s been successful despite having little or no accounting structure. Accounting is the core of every business financials.

As a matter of fact, a study done by the US Bank has shown that 82% of small businesses fail within five years of launch. It cited poor cash flow management skills as the major contributor of this failure. Cash Flow Management is a key aspect of Accounting.

There’s no wonder as to why skilled Accounting professionals are in high demand. But it can be really demanding and expensive to enroll in a physical Accounting class.

That is why we’ve gathered these online accounting courses from some of the best universities in the World. We paid special attention to the ratings and reviews from previous participants in these courses to ensure they’d be relevant to you. So whether you’re a student looking to boost or refresh your knowledge, or a businessman looking to be able to at least interpret your company’s financial statements, there is something in this list for you.

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1. Introduction to Financial Accounting – Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania (Coursera)

 You see, Accounting is like a foreign language. When you’re studying a foreign language, you don’t just rush into reading a large volume of texts in it. No. Instead of learning easily, you’d get overwhelmed and eventually drop the course. To master a new language, you start by learning the letters, then words, phrases and language syntaxes. The same thing applies to Accounting.

The instructor of this course is Professor Brian Bushee of the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania.  Professor Brian was an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School before he joined Wharton in the year 2000. The over 250,000 persons who have taken this course rated Professor Brian 4.83 on a scale of 5.

Professor Brian, in this course, has broken down the entire Accounting concepts in such a way that even a 6th grader would understand. This is the most complete introduction to Financial Accounting you would see out there. He adopted the concept of learning a foreign language to explain difficult Accounting concepts. Here’s a review from one of his students:

“I took Brian Bushee’s course and found him to be one of the BEST INSTRUCTORS I’VE HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. If you’ve had trouble with Accounting courses in the past, HE IS THE INSTRUCTOR FOR YOU!!!”

Those were the exact words of one of the persons who took this course. This course is available for free on Coursera. It is spread across four weeks, but takes approximately thirteen hours to complete. So you can complete it in a day or adjust it to match your schedules. Below are the topics he treated:

  • Introduction and Balance Sheet
  • Accrual Accounting and the Income Statement
  • Cash Flows
  • Ratio Analysis

2. Accounting: From Beginner to Advanced! – Stefan Ignatovski (Udemy)

Are you looking to take any professional Accounting exam any time soon? Or you are looking to beef up your resume to apply for that Accounting job. This is the right course for you. It is like a crash course for the entire Accounting program. You’d go from a complete beginner to an advanced level in just a few hours.

Stefan Ignatovski is an Award-winning Accounting professor. He teaches Accounting in multiple colleges in the US, including University of Washington. He has a unique way of using animations to add fun to his classes.

In this course, you would learn how to prepare and analyze financial statements, inventory management, bank reconciliation and even loan amortization. You’d also learn about short term and long term investments like shares, bonds etc.

To show you how valuable this course is, top companies like Nasdaq, Eventbrite and Volkswagen offer it to their employees. If you’re trying to learn Accounting out of necessity and not because you like it, this course will make you fall in love with Accounting.

It is available on Udemy for only $49. You’d also be offered a certificate at the end of the course. Below are the topics treated:

  • Accounting Principles and Fundamentals
  • Accounting During the Year
  • Accounting at the Year-End
  • Keeping Cash and Bank Reconciliation
  • Accounts Receivables
  • Tracking Inventory
  • Fixed Assets and Depreciation
  • Accounts Payable and Bonds
  • Equity – Stocks and Dividends
  • Investments and Time Value of Money
  • Statement of Cash Flows
  • Financial Statements & Analysis

3. Financial Accounting Fundamentals by University of Virginia (Coursera)

Professor J. Lynch of the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, did an amazing work in this course. She did not just make her video tutorials concise enough, she also ensured she brought in real life scenarios to drive home the lessons. She used the financial statements of an existing firm to teach how to prepare and analyze financial statements.

At the end of the course, you will be able to use journal entries to record transactions, prepare and use T-accounts to summarize transactions recorded during an Accounting period. You’ll also be able to prepare financial statements based on transactions recorded during an Accounting period and draw conclusions from them to help your company make better financial decisions.

The course is available for free on Coursera, and it has a duration of fourteen hours. Below are the topics discussed:

  • Introduction to Financial Accounting, the Financial Statements, and the Balance Sheet
  • Introduction to Recording Transactions
  • The Income Statement, Revenue and Expense Transactions, and Adjusting Entries
  • The Statement of Cash Flows, Financial Statement Preparation
  • More Transactions, Analysis of Financial Statements, and an Annual Report

4. Financial Accounting – Brigham Young University (Udemy)

This Financial Accounting course is offered by Brigham Young University (BYU). BYU is ranked as the #2 in the list of schools with the best undergraduate Accounting programs, and #1 in the 25 best Masters in Accounting Degrees for 2020, in the United States. This course in particular has been ranked as the best Accounting course on Udemy for years.

In this course, Professor Norm Nemrow will take you by the hand and teach you from the basics all you need to know in Financial Accounting concepts and principles. According to the previous participants of the course, this is one of the most detailed Accounting courses you would find online. Also included in the course are lots of practices and exercises to sharpen your memory on the things you are being taught.

The course is only available for $25 on Udemy. Below are the course contents:

  • Introduction to Financial Accounting
  • General Purpose Financial Statements
  • Accounting Cycle Part 1 & 2
  • Financial Practice Set
  • Sales Revenues
  • Inventory
  • Operating Expenses and Internal Controls
  • Long Term Operating Assets
  • Debt and Equity Financing
  • Financial Statement Analysis

5. Managerial Accounting – Brigham Young University (Udemy)

This course is an extension of the Financial Accounting course by BYU. In this course, Professor Norm Nemrow will introduce you to the tools managers of top companies use in making financial decisions. He explains in detail how you can extract information from financial statements, analyze them and use them to make near-perfect predictions in the financial life of a business.

This course, along with the Financial Accounting course, has been vetted as the best Accounting course series on Udemy. Below are the topics discussed in the course:

  • Course introduction – Financial vs Managerial Accounting – Products & Period Costs
  • Standard costs and Responsibility Accounting
  • Activity Based Costing
  • Cost Volume Profit Analysis
  • Capital Budgeting

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6. How to Read Financial Statements: build Financial Literacy – David Johnson (Udemy)

In this course, Professor David Johnson explains how the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement are used. He gave detailed explanation on why the balance sheet equation (also known as Accounting equation) is the foundational model for accrual Accounting and double entry Accounting.

The fact that the major focus in this course is the financial statements shows how relevant the three statements are to the growth of every business.

To test your knowledge on the information shared in the course, Professor David extracted multiple-choice questions from Facebook’s 2013 annual report as a mandatory exercise in the course. If you understand the three financial statements, you’re already ahead of 80% of others in general Financial Accounting.

The course is available on Udemy for $10 only.  Here is the course curriculum:

  • Read Basic Financial Statements
  • Quick Look: Read Financial Statements of Whole Foods
  • Where the numbers come from: Accrual Accounting Basics
  • Deep Dive: Read Financial Statements of Sherwin Williams
  • Test What You have learned: Facebook Case Study
  • What the Financial Statements Tell You Through Ratios
  • Update of Financial Statements and Ratios from 2013 to 2019

7. Financial Accounting – ACCA (edX)

Coming from the global body in charge of professional accountants, this course has all the information you need to be a professional accountant. ACCA after years of preparing professional exams for accountants decided to come up with this course. The reason is to address the major problem many participants of the ACCA exams struggle with – a clear understanding of the Accounting concepts and principles.

You see, everything in Accounting is built on the background of the Accounting equation, concepts and principles. Every other thing is just a mere development from these three. If you’ve had several Accounting courses but are still confused, this course will clear your doubts and make Accounting fun again.

This is one of the best online Accounting Courses you can find out there. It is available on edX for $89. You’ll get lifetime access to the course and learn at your pace. Below are the things you’ll learn in this course:

  • Context and purpose of financial reporting
  • Qualitative characteristics of financial information
  • Use of double-entry and Accounting systems
  • How to record transactions and events
  • How to prepare a trial balance (including identifying and correcting errors)
  • How to prepare basic financial statements for incorporated and unincorporated entities
  • How to interpret and prepare simple consolidated financial statements.

8. Management in Engineering: Accounting and Planning – MIT (edX)

It has become  very important that engineers develop important managerial abilities. Combining acquired cognitive strategies and techniques for effective decision-making while leveraging on technical know-how is a well appreciated skill by employers at technical companies.

This is why MIT through its MicroMasters Program introduced this course to teach learners key principles and practices used in engineering management. In this course, you’ll learn basic business functional knowledge like financial Accounting, sales, marketing, operations and other topics related to entrepreneurship.

If you’re an engineer or in any technological career, this is the course you should take to develop the engineering and management skills needed for you to excel and compete favorably in today’s manufacturing industry.

MIT has also added that learners who pass the 8 courses in the MicroMasters program will earn the MicroMasters Credential. That will also qualify you to apply to gain credit towards MIT’s Master of Engineering in Advanced Manufacturing and Design program.

The course is available for free on edX. Here are the topics treated in this course:

  • Fundamental business knowledge across finance, sales, and marketing
  • Construct financial statements and perform ratio analyses
  • Apply analytical tools to business decisions
  • Develop a technical strategy that can be applied across multiple industries

9. Accounting System Structure and Information Management – New York Institute of Finance (edX)

This course on Accounting system structure and information management is presented by New York Institute of Finance (NYIF). It is aimed at introducing you to basic financial Accounting practices and how Accounting information helps in making key business decisions.

The instructor, Jack Farmer, took his time to explain the meaning of every component of the three core financial statements. He also delved into important business topics like entity ownership and their features. He paid a closer look at sole proprietorship, partnerships, and corporations.

Being a portfolio manager, he explained in detail the statement of retained earnings and earnings per share. This course will be a powerful guide to businessmen who want their business to go public or are interested in investing in other businesses.

The first few modules are available for free on edX, but there’s also an affordable optional upgrade. Below are the topics in the course:

  • Accounting Concepts
  • Measuring Income
  • Recording Transactions
  • Business structures
  • Financial investing 

10. Reporting Use of Firm Resources and Taxation – New York Institute of Finance (edX)

This is an advanced level Accounting course. It focuses more on how organizations report the use of their resources and how governments use those reports to tax them. As a businessman, understanding your organization’s tax expenses and how they are computed will save you a lot of resources. Deferred tax liability can be considered as an equity for your organization. But you will only be able to utilize it to your organization’s advantage if you understand what it means and how it is calculated.

That and many more are what you will be learning in this course. The course began by dissecting inventory and how to link inventory valuation to the gross profit of the firm. There’s also a class dedicated to teaching asset depreciation and its effect on cash flow.

There’s a lot to learn on this course, and you can access it on the edX platform. However, this course requires that you have basic Microsoft Excel skills and at least a good understanding of elementary mathematics. There is no doubt that edX has some of the best online accounting courses, and this is one of them.

Course curriculum:

  • Inventory Valuation
  • Long-lived Assets and Depreciation
  • Differences between expenses and capitalized items
  • Taxes and Depreciation
  • Deferred Taxes

Conclusion on Online Accounting Courses

Online Accounting Courses have helped lots of business people understand what is going on in their business. It has also made it easier for students to grab the full concept of Accounting without having to sit through the boring classes held in their schools.

So, whether you’re a student looking to pass your accounting professional exams, or a businessman with zero accounting knowledge looking to understand how accounting affects your business, even if you’re an accountant looking to refresh your memory on some basic accounting knowledge. This list of online accounting courses contains something valuable for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Learn Accounting For Free?

There are different platforms where you can learn Accounting for free. Udemy, Coursera and edX have some very nice introductory Accounting courses for free. Even the advanced courses are still very affordable on those platforms.
However, you can also go to the website learnaccountingforfree.com. There are over 16 detailed Accounting lessons you can access for free there. This website is owned by the #1 ranked Accounting university in the USA in 2008 (Brigham Young University, according to Financial Times). There are courses from beginner to advanced levels.

What are the Different Parts of the CPA Exam?

There are four different parts of the CPA exam. They  are:
Audit and Attestation (AUD)
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
Regulation (REG)
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
Each part of the exam lasts for four hours. You must complete the four parts to qualify for the CPA licensure.  The four skill levels tested in the CPA exam sections are:

1. Remembering and understanding
2. Application
3. Analysis
4. Evaluation

How Much Does an Accountant Make?

The median salary for Accountants as of 2020 is $73,560. The best paid 25 percent earned $97,530 the same year, while the lowest paid 25 percent made $57,110.  

Do I Need a BA or a Master’s in Accounting to Get a CPA License?

Becoming a CPA doesn’t require a graduate degree. However, according to the CPA education requirements,  you need at least 150 credit hours in higher education to qualify for the CPA exam. To meet this requirement, many students opt for a master’s in Accounting. But some individuals just earn a graduate-level certificate to meet the credit requirements.

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