Financial Accounting courses is the backbone of any business. Businesses need individuals with accounting skills to track finances in numerous forms, like credit, debit, payroll, tax filing etc. No surprise therefore, that accounting skills are always in high demand. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a growth of 10% for accountant and auditor job market over 2016 to 2026 ten year period, whereas the overall job growth projection figure for all professions is 7% over the same time period. So the outlook for accounting profession seems pretty good.
Acquiring and maintaining accounting skills may seem like a daunting task, but internet has revolutionized learning and made it much simpler. There are several online accounting certificate courses and programs that offer a great and flexible alternative to traditional classroom programs. These online accounting courses allow you to learn foundational skills essential to your career, download course lectures, work on assignments, take exams, even participate with fellow students in virtual discussions, all at your own schedule.
If you’re not sure where to begin your online accounting classes and training, consider the list below that comprises of best accounting courses, certifications, classes and training resources available online. This list includes both free and paid courses that can be taken at your own pace and time. So whether you are an entrepreneur seeking personal accounting skills or beginner looking to enter the accounting job market or an established accounting professional seeking an accounting certification to progress your career, there is a relevant accounting online course for you in this list.
1. Introduction to Financial Accounting by Wharton, University of Pennsylvania (Coursera)
This Financial Accounting course is part of the Business Foundations Specialization offered by the prestigious Wharton business school, University of Pennsylvania. This course will help you master the technical skills needed to analyze financial statements and disclosures for use in financial analysis, and learn how accounting standards and managerial incentives affect the financial reporting process. Upon completion of this accounting class, you’ll be able to read the three most common financial statements: the income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows.
The course is taught by 14 year veteran of Wharton School and former professor at Harvard Business School, Brian J Bushee. Prof. Bushee is the most highly regarded faculty member at Wharton and is loved by students for his engaging, enthusiastic and fun style of teaching. He has structured the course content in a perfect way starting simple with the Balance Sheet, Debits & Credits, and Journal Entries, and then builds on this as he goes on to explain topics like Bonds, Deferred Taxes and Stock-Based Compensation amongst other things. All these are explained through a case of a start-up company. Prof Bushee is very helpful to the students in the forums and loves teaching his subject which is evident in the way he presents the course making it fun to learn accounting.
This is a beginner level course and is designed for students with no background in accounting. Very basic math knowledge is required. It is one of the best resources to learn accounting online.
- Learn debit-credit bookkeeping and do lots of practice in translating transactions into debits and credits
- Understand Accrual Accounting and how it affects the recognition of the Income Statement accounts: Revenues and Expenses
- Learn how to prepare and analyze statement of cash flows
- Understand the difference between Earnings, Cash from Operations, EBITDA, and Free Cash Flow using example of a start up company
- Two week worth of optional content on Ratio Analysis and Financial Statement Analysis
- Learn through real-world examples and applications
- Get access to all videos, quizzes, programming assignments and peer review assignments upon enrolling for a certificate
- Option to explore the course content without purchasing with limited access to certain assignments
Duration : 4 weeks, 5-6 hours per week
Rating : 4.7
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2. Financial Accounting Fundamentals by University of Virginia (Coursera)
This Financial Accounting Fundamentals Course is offered by University of Virginia, a premier institute in higher education. It teaches the tools needed to understand the fundamentals of financial accounting. The students learn to prepare the 3 most commonly used financial statements – the Balance Sheet, the Income Statement, and the Statement of Cash Flows. Additionally, students learn how to record transactions in these statements and how to read & analyze these statements in order to draw conclusions about a company’s financial health.
The course is taught by Luann J. Lynch, Professor of Business Administration at University of Virginia. She is herself an MBA from Duke University and a Ph.D. in accounting from University of North Carolina. Prof. Lynch is a recipient of several awards and recognitions for her outstanding teaching and research. Her research work has been published in several leading accounting and finance journals. She is much focussed and has designed the course in a perfect way. Not only does she explain the concepts thoroughly and systematically, but gives ample opportunities to practice what is taught through mini quizzes and assignments.
This is one of the best online accounting certification to get started with accounting fundamentals, with no prior background in accounting needed. It is also perfect for experienced or professional individuals who want a refresher course in accounting fundamentals.
- Learn to use journal entries to record transactions
- Understand how to prepare and use t-accounts to summarize transactions recorded during an accounting period
- Understand how the 3 financial statements (balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows) fit together in the financial scheme of a company
- Prepare the financial statements based on transactions recorded during an accounting period
- The forums present ample opportunity for discussion and participation
- Learn through real-world examples like, PepsiCo’s Annual Report as an example of reporting for a publicly traded U.S. company
Duration : 5 weeks, 2-3 hours per week
Rating : 4.8
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3. Fundamentals of Accounting Specialization by University of Illinois (Coursera)
This Accounting Specialization covers the fundamentals of both financial accounting and managerial accounting. Financial accounting revolves around creating and analysing reports and financial statements of a company that help to gauze its financial position and operations. While Managerial accounting focuses on analytical information, tools and techniques that managers need to make the right business decisions. This accounting training takes care of both of these.
In this specialization, students will learn to create, interpret and analyze the financial statements – balance sheet, income sheet and cash flows statement. They will also learn to draw conclusions about a company’s financial position from such statements. Additionally they will be exposed to different types of decision-useful accounting information, specifically its nature, purpose and importance and taught how to employ analytical tools and techniques to use this information for making common business decisions.
There are 5 courses in this program that culminate with a Capstone project set in the context of a realistic small-business enterprise. Students will need to apply all the principles of accounting learnt in the previous courses from creating a business plan, to forecasts and budgets, and anticipated information needs for decisions making by owner and manager, employees, and external parties such as future shareholders, creditors, and other constituents. The courses are as below:
- Understanding Financial Statements: Company Position
- Understanding Financial Statements: Company Performance
- Accounting for Business Decision Making: Measurement and Operational Decisions
- Accounting for Business Decision Making: Strategy Assessment and Control
- Fundamentals of Accounting Capstone
- Learn from the renowned professors of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Explain the broader purpose of financial statements and the role of accounting in producing the financial statements
- Learn to read and interpret real-world balance sheets and income statements
- Learn to create, organize, and communicate cost information to best suit common operational decisions
- Learn to use accounting information to manage products, control costs, and leverage other drivers of operational success
- Learn about different types of controls, including process controls, budgets, and performance measurement and evaluation tools and techniques
- Beginner friendly specialization with no requirement of any background knowledge of accounting
- Enrol in the specialization for free for 7 days
Duration : 5-7 months, 3-4 hours per week
Rating : 4.6
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4. MicroMasters® Program in Accounting by Indiana University (edX)
This MicroMasters Program in Accounting is offered by the top-ranked Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. The Kelley School of Business is currently ranked #7 for graduate accounting programs by Public Accounting Report. The curriculum of this Micromasters program has been designed by their renowned accounting faculty with the goal to substantially enhance the learners’ understanding of accounting. The 3 graduate level courses included in the program cover 3 most fundamental areas of accounting – financial accounting, managerial accounting, and income taxes. Students are introduced to the following in these courses:
- Financial Reporting – How do firms measure and report financial position and financial performance in a set of financial statements (balance sheets, income statements, and statements of cash flows)?
- Managerial Accounting and Corporate Control – How do firms make critical strategic decisions using accounting information?
- Taxes and Decision Making – How do income taxes impact firms, their strategies, capital structure, and after-tax profits?
This program is for individuals making a beginning in/transitioning to accounting career or those who want to enhance their understanding of accounting with respect to investing, banking, and corporate management. Learners may be able to strengthen their capabilities in a variety of roles, including certified public accountant (CPA), accounting manager, auditor, or management accountant.
Completing this accounting training program will not only be valuable as a standalone credential, but will also count toward the Kelley School of Business’s full Master’s degree in Accounting. Students who earn the MicroMasters program certificate are eligible to apply to the MS in Accounting with no need to take the GMAT or GRE test. They earn nine credits to apply to the 30-credit Master’s degree.
- Learn from the award-winning accounting faculty at Kelley School of Business
- Earn a strong foundation in financial reporting concepts and methods, and use your skills to prepare and analyze financial statements
- Learn the key elements of financial reporting, such as revenues, expenses, gains and losses, net income, assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity
- Discover how to prepare and analyze accounting information to make complex business decisions
- Understand the legal, conceptual, and integrative aspects of U.S. federal income taxation
- Learn about accounting standards, including U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (U.S. GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
- Understand how firms develop and use key internal information such as product costs, cost allocations, customer profitability, budgets, and planning to execute and control firm strategy
Duration : 9 months, 8-12 hours per week
Rating : 4.6
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5. Introduction to Finance, Accounting, Modeling and Valuation (Udemy)
This course by Chris Haroun is #1 Best Selling Accounting Course on Udemy. It will help you understand accounting, finance, financial modeling and valuation from scratch. You will learn to create, analyze and forecast an income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. You will also understand how to value companies using several different valuation methodologies so you can come up with target prices for the companies that you are analyzing. Upon completing this accounting class, you will be in a position to analyze financial statements using many different financial ratios/formulas.
The course is full of exercises to complete that help students understand the concepts and apply them too. Apart from video lectures, there are several reading articles and downloadable resources.
Chris Haroun is the best selling business teacher on Udemy. He is an award winning business school professor, holds MBA degree in finance from Columbia University, has experience in real world from Goldman Sachs to Hedge funds, to venture capital and consulting firms. He has authored several popular business books. He teaches based on his real life practical experience and uses a visualization approach that turns complex topics simple and easy to understand making learning accounting a fun process. He has so far taught over 550,000 students on Udemy alone and earned huge 5-start ratings and reviews from students.
- All concepts are covered from scratch, so no accounting or finance experience needed. Only basic understanding of using Excel is required.
- Understand and use modeling best practices so you can create financial models
- Learn to create financial models (projecting the future) for income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement
- Learn how to use P/R and P/E in order to pick target prices
- Learn multiple valuation methodologies, including EV/Sales, EV/EBITDA, P/B, EV/FCF, etc
- Understand how to analyze financial statements using profitability ratios and debt and inventory formulas
- Analyze and compare companies using the following formulas: Price/Earnings, PEG (P/E / Growth), Price/Revenue, EV/EBITDA, EV/Sales, Price/Free Cash Flow and Price/Book
- An extremely in depth professional accounting, finance, modeling and valuation analysis of LinkedIn using the accounting and finance methodologies used in this course
Duration : 4.5 hours on-demand video
Rating : 4.5
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6. Financial Accounting by Brigham Young University (Udemy)
This Course is first in the Introduction to Accounting Course Series, developed and used by the #1 accounting university in the world, Brigham Young University (Rated by the London Financial Times 2013). This course is recommended by HARVARD to its incoming MBA students who have not had an introductory course in accounting. It has also been highlighted and discussed in Wired Magazine, Gigaom, & New York Times. No doubt, the course has received rave reviews from over 30,000 students on campuses. Now it is available on Udemy for online learners and has quickly become the highest rated course.
The course instructor Norm Nemrow promises to teach the fundamentals of Financial Accounting better and more effectively than any other available accounting course. Professor Norm Nemrow, is a self-made millionaire, awarded by the President of the United States for his excellence in teaching and recognised as ‘teacher of the year’ at BYU every year the award was offered.
In this accountant course, you will learn how to finance a business, the different financial statements, and legal forms of businesses. You will also learn in detail about debits and credits and about creating and analysing financial statements. The course is very well structured. The lectures cover each topic thoroughly and are followed by quizzes and problem sets to test learners’ grasp of the material taught.
This introductory accounting course is very well suited for entrepreneurs or those who intend to start their own business or existing professionals trying to advance in their careers. It will help them become a more effective decision maker in business.
- Only elementary math knowledge needed to take this course. No accounting experience required.
- Learn how to maximize your business profits by understanding the Accounting Cycle
- Learn about the vital Income statement and the famed accounting equation
- Learn Accrual Accounting vs Cash accounting and know the advantages of each for your business
- Learn about Sales Revenue and Inventory (LIFO, FIFO, Average Cost)
- Learn about Long-Term Assets, Stocks, Bonds, and Dividends
- Learn how to protect your business so you don’t get ripped off with Internal Controls
- Learn how to strategically invest in a company’s stock through analyzing their financial statements
Duration : 24.5 hours on-demand video
Rating : 4.6
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7. Accounting: Principles of Financial Accounting by IESE Business School (Coursera)
This course is part of the Foundations of Management Specialization offered by IESE Business School, University of Navarra. It teaches students the accounting language’s essentials. So whether they run their own business, or work as a manager or are just starting career, this course helps them understand financial information and be able to interact with accountants, controllers, and financial managers. By the end of the course students are able to prepare, read and interpret financial statements for business diagnosis and decision-making.
There are 4 modules in the course:
- Introduction to Accounting – The Balance Sheet
- The Income Statement
- The Cash Flow Statement
- Accrual Accounting
The instructor Marc Badia, is a professor of accounting at IESE Business School. He earned his Ph.D. in Financial Accounting with distinction from Columbia University (New York) and his MBA from IESE Business School. Marc uses a lot of real-world examples to make the subject relatable.
This course is specifically designed for individuals with no prior knowledge of accounting. So any beginner can enrol in the course.
- Gain insights into the essence of accounting with practical real-world cases
- Learn to be able to recognize a broader range of transactions on the balance sheet
- Understand the difference between liquidity and profitability and become familiar with T-accounts
- Learn to read and interpret balance sheets, income statements and cash flow reports and their purposes
- Understand the difference between accrual and cash accounting
- Learn about accrual accounting for measuring performance
- Get a Verified Certificate upon completion of the course
- Option to enrol for free and pay for Certificate later
Duration : 4 weeks, 2-4 hours per week
Rating : 4.8
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8. MicroMasters® Program in Accounting and Financial Management by UMGC and USMx (edX)
This Micromasters program in Accounting and Financial Management is offered by the University of Maryland Global Campus and University System of Maryland. It is ideal for mid-career professionals who are looking to deepen their skill set and advance towards an organisational leadership position. The curriculum of this program is designed to impart skills that are needed to make high-level decisions that impact an organization’s operations and financial future. Students gain hands-on experience on reporting and analyzing financial transactions of corporations. They also learn to assess risks and returns of alternative investments by analyzing SEC 10-K reports of Fortune 500 companies.
There are 4 courses that cover the following key areas:
- Financial Decision Making – Learn how corporate leaders make effective decisions to maximize profitability and achieve strategic organizational goals
- Financial Accounting for Corporations – Learn to prepare, analyze, and compare financial statements for publically traded U.S. corporations
- Financial Management in Organisations – Gain the skills necessary to effectively manage a corporation’s finances. Learn to use discounted cash flow, rate-of-return analyses and other financial management tools to evaluate projects, investments, and financial instruments
- Long-Term Financial Management – Learn how financial managers respond to the long-term financial needs of a corporation and the roles of capital markets
To earn the MicroMasters Program Certificate, students need to complete all 4 courses with a verified certificate in each course. This program also offers learners a pathway to the advanced accounting degree – Master of Science in Accounting and Financial Management (MSAF) at UMGC. It counts as 12 credits towards the full masters degree.
- Learn from the renowned accounting faculty members of University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), University System of Maryland (USMx)
- Learn to manage an organization’s financial operations; including revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, and equity
- Understand how to perform financial analyses and modelling
- Evaluate alternative investments by using time value of money calculations, and understanding their effect on cash flow
- Use case studies of real companies facing financial challenges to analyze situations, assess risks, and propose courses of action
- Contribute to strategic management decision-making and operational problem-solving
Duration : 8 months, 8-10 hours per week
Rating : 4.6
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9. Financial Accounting Part 1 & Part 2 (LinkedIn Learning – Lynda)
This financial accounting course is offered by professors of Brigham Young University, Jim Stice and Kay Stice in 2 parts. They have taught accounting for a combined total of over 70 years and have designed this accounting training course to give business professionals – including managers, analysts, and entrepreneurs – the confidence they need to use financial data to drive strategic decision-making.
In Part 1, Jim and Kay teach financial statements, the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows using real world examples. So students get to see the actual financial reports of Microsoft, Walmart, and others. They make the students understand the difference between net income and cash flow and why the credits and debits system is so important to everyday accounting. They help explore assets and liabilities, interpret financial statements, evaluate and adjust journal entries, and prepare own financial statements. This accounting course is an MBA-level course, layered with case studies and insights that help learners bridge the gap between the academics of accounting and its real-world application.
In Part 2, Jim and Kay take a deeper dive into the world of financial accounting. They introduce students to the methods of financial ratio analysis to help identify the company’s strengths and weaknesses, areas of improvement and risk, all through the financial statements of the company. They also discuss cash flow analysis, forecasting financial statements, business valuation, and more.
- Comprehensive and self-contained training that explains the foundations of accounting effectively and builds on them with real world examples
- Introductory course with no prior knowledge of accounting necessary
- Learn about business valuation and two basic valuation approaches – valuation using multiples and valuation using discounted cash flow analysis
- Capstone example using several different models to estimate the value of McDonalds
Duration : Part 1 – 3 hours 30 mins & Part 2 – 3 hours 20 mins
Rating : 4.5
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10. Accounting: From Beginner to Advanced (Udemy)
This accounting course is a best seller that covers everything from beginner to advanced accounting skills. You will learn everything about debits and credits, accounting cycle, accounting regulations, how to analyse business transactions, how to prepare financial statements, how to prepare Bank Reconciliation etc. You will also learn about bonds, stocks, dividends, short-term and long-term investments etc.
The instructor of this course Stefan Ignatovski, Ph.D., is an Accounting Professor, Investor and Entrepreneur who teaches at multiple colleges in the US, including University of Washington. Stefan has started and invested in several start-up companies and even authored the book “What College Didn’t Teach You. Stefan adopts a very unique style of teaching the course. There are short animated videos that are easy to understand and make the subject exciting. Also there are great exercises at the end of each section to reinforce what is taught and problem solving videos to help apply the concepts learned. The problems and exercises have appropriate explanations as well.
This course is very well suited for business owners, students, existing accountants, bookkeepers, individuals wishing to enter accounting job market or even CPA exam takers.