Need to learn accounting? You don’t have to enroll in an expensive school to do so. You can learn the ins and outs of accounting at home with a laptop, some WiFi, and a little bit of research.
These days, the problem isn’t access to education or even lack of funds. With the internet and the rise of online learning, you can find instruction on just about any subject. The real problem is knowing which courses are worth your time and which ones you should pass on.
How can you make sure you’re taking the best accounting course out there and sort through the noise? I discuss the top accounting courses below in detail, as well as who they’re for and how you can get started.
The Top 6 Best Accounting Courses
Read on to find out which accounting courses are worth your time, what each of them teaches, and their ratings.
#1 – Introduction To Finance and Accounting Specialization (Coursera) — Best For Certification
- Five weeks
- Flexible schedules
- Learn bookkeeping fundamentals
- Students get it for free
Get it today!
If you want to build a solid accounting foundation and learn the basics of finance and accounting, Introduction To Finance and Accounting Specialization on Coursera is a great place to start. You also receive a shareable certificate upon completion of the course.
The course is offered through Coursera by The University of Pennsylvania and taught by three instructors who have taught thousands of students the fundamentals of accounting both on and offline.
Throughout the course, you’ll learn about the classification of cash flows, the difference between MPV and internal rate of returns, and how to read accounting data to make better financial decisions.
The course emphasizes learning through quizzes and worksheets and provides you with an Excel template to follow along.
The course takes approximately five months to complete, and it’s recommended you dedicate at least two hours per week to it. However, you can always take the course on a flexible schedule with the option to change deadlines.
- Learn bookkeeping fundamentals and cash flow analysis
- Learn accrual accounting
- Provides a solid foundation for corporate accounting
- Self-paced learning
- Plenty of course videos and readings
- Preemptive practice quizzes
Introduction To Finance and Accounting Specialization has a 4.9 overall rating from more than 11,000 students, making it one of the top accounting courses available on Coursera.
To enroll in the course, you can sign up on Coursera as a student with your college or university email address and get one free course per year or contact their team to get a team or enterprise price.
#2 – Accounting Coach — Best Free Accounting Course
- Get it for free
- 34 modules
- Practice quizzes and Q&As
- Self-guided schedule
Get it today!
With Accounting Coach, you can learn the basics of accounting for free and can get started in a matter of minutes. Though accounting coach offers a pro membership plan that provides plenty of certifications, if you want to go that route, you can still get a lot from their free accounting modules.
You’ll learn everything from debits and credits, financial statements, balance sheets, working capital and liquidity, ratios, depreciation, and even payroll accounting with their free course.
You can go through each module at your own pace and work through their list of practice quizzes and Q and A’s. There are 34 free modules to read through. Keep in mind this free option is mostly self-paced reading organized into modules.
If you’re a visual learner who prefers video and an instructor walkthrough, it might not be the best course for you. I recommend you read their testimonials section to get a feel for what the course is like.
- Take practice quizzes without having to pay for the pro plan
- Detailed modules with plenty of examples and illustrations
- Self-paced and available to anyone
- Sort topics by bookkeeping, financial, or managerial accounting
Rating & Price
A star rating is not available for this course, though you can read testimonials through the website. The course remains free.
#3 – Introduction To Finance, Accounting, Modeling, and Valuation (Udemy) – Best For Beginners
- 4.5 hours of lessons
- 14 downloadable resources
- Starts at $ 149.99
Try it today!
Beginners can take advantage of the top-rated Introduction To Finance, Accounting, Modeling, and Valuation through Udemy. With more than 150,000 thousand students and thousands of ratings, it is one of the most popular Udemy courses on accounting principles.
The course walks you through 4.5 hours of on-demand video and 14 downloadable resources to teach you the basics of balance sheets, financial models, discounted cash flow, and understanding income statements, just to name a few.
One of the best perks about taking courses on Udemy is the transparency of what each course offers. Introduction To Finance, Accounting, Modeling, And Valuation is up to date, is offered in seven languages, has a rating of 4.5, and provides a certificate of completion.
- Lifetime access to the course material and updates
- Accessible both on mobile and TV
- Teaches you to use Microsoft Excel in an accounting capacity
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Completely self-paced
Introduction To Finance, Accounting, Modeling, and Valuation has a 4.5 overall rating, and over 19,600 students have taken the course.
You can sign up and try Udemy free for seven days. Afterward, you’ll be charged $ 19.99 for a monthly membership, with access to thousands of courses on a variety of topics. You can also sign up for their Udemy for Business plan to request a demo and get a personalized price after they learn more about your training needs.
If you want to buy the course without purchasing a membership to Udemy, it’s priced at $ 149.99.
#4 – Advanced Financial Accounting (Udemy) – Best For Learning Advanced Accounting
- 138 downloadble resources
- 63 hours of lessons
- Learn acquisitions and investments
- Starts at $ 94
Get it today!
Maybe you’re well-versed in accounting basics, and you’re ready to step into advanced accounting principles. Enter Advanced Financial Accounting on Udemy.
Like other courses on Udemy, you get a certificate of completion once you finish the self-guided course.
The course features 138 downloadable resources and 63 hours of course videos you can watch on your own time. To successfully complete the course, you should have a solid understanding of financial accounting concepts.
- Learn how to account for acquisitions and investments
- Learn how to apply different accounting methods
- Self-paced learning
- Includes certification upon successful completion
- Learn comprehensive acquisition problems with Excel
Advanced Financial Accounting has a 4.6 overall rating, and 20,200 students have taken the course.
Udemy offers a free seven-day trial for you to take it on a test run. If you don’t decide to cancel, they charge a monthly membership of $ 19.99, where you’ll gain unlimited access to their Udemy Pro courses. You also have the option of signing up for a Udemy Business Plan if you’re looking for an employee training package. After answering a few questions, they’ll send you pricing options.
If you want to buy access to the course without a membership, it’s priced at $ 94.99.
#5 – Accounting Principles and Standards (Corporate Financial Institute) – Best for Intermediate Level Accounting
- Excel files and finance templates
- Verified for CPA charterholders
- 2.5 hours of lessons
- Starts at $ 97
Get it today!
You can be well on your way to understanding intermediate level accounting with the Accounting Principles and Standards course from Corporate Financial Institute (CFI).
The course is self-paced with 2.5 hours of instructive material where you’re walked through nine lessons on everything from accounting for income taxes, qualified assessment, accounting for leases, historical cost principle, and more.
- Comes with Excel files and finance templates for hands-on learning
- Course is verified for CPA charterholders
- Retake assessments and quizzes until you reach an 80% passing rate
Rating & Price
This course does not offer a rating, and there is a $ 97 fee for full access to the intermediate course.
#6 – Accounting Fundamentals: Understanding Financial Statements (Skillshare) – Best For Understanding Financial Statement Essentials
- Learn 3 key statements
- Taught by Skillshare CEO
- 46 minutes of lessons
- Free 7-day trial
Get it today!
If you want to learn the essentials of financial statements in accounting, then Accounting Fundamentals: Understanding Financial Statements is the course for you. The class is taught by Matt Cooper, the CEO of Skillshare.
It’s broken down into ten detailed lessons where your instructor walks you through the essentials of the three financial statements you’ll deal with often in accounting:
- Income statement
- Balance sheet
- Cash flow statement
The class has been taken by more than 8,000 students and specifically walks you through lessons explaining the accurate calculation of topline revenue, cash accounting vs. accrual accounting, how to balance your statements, as well as basic equations and key accounting terms.
- Join class discussions
- Includes spreadsheets and resources
- 46 total minutes of instructional videos
Accounting Fundamentals: Understanding Financial Statements does not have a star rating, but you can read hundreds of reviews from students on the course homepage.
One of the great things about Skillshare courses is that if you haven’t already, you can take advantage of their free seven-day trial, where you can get access to their entire course list. Once you do decide to upgrade to the paid membership, plans break down like this:
- Annual membership – $ 8.25 per month billed annually
- Monthly membership – $ 19 per month billed annually
- For teams – Billed per user on an annual basis, you can contact them for a quote
How to Find The Best Accounting Course For You
When you start on your accounting course search, there are a few factors to consider if you want to find a course that’s worth your time and that fits your expectations.
These are the main factors I used when looking for the best courses to include in this guide.
While there are plenty of free accounting courses out there, they might not be as comprehensive as the paid courses. Remember that free courses often means you won’t receive any certification you can use as proof that you took and passed the course.
There is a wide variety of price points available for different accounting courses. You should take some time to shop around until you find a price point you feel comfortable investing in, especially if you aren’t interested in the free courses.
One of the perks of taking online courses is that many of them come with verifiable certification. This can be used as proof you’ve taken the course and can be added to a resume. If certification is important to you, check the course offerings and outlines to see if they offer a certificate upon successful completion.
Course outlines help set expectations and give you a feel for how the course is paced. A big differentiator in online classes, whether they’re paid or free, is that some will offer instructional videos while others are purely reading with illustrations you work through at your own pace.
As the course taker, this will likely make a difference in the courses you choose to take if, for instance, you feel strongly about visual learning and want to ensure you get plenty of videos to complement the rest of the material.
Ratings and Reviews
You can learn quite a bit about each course from their ratings and reviews. While some courses might look good on the surface, you can find truly candid feedback from students who have already taken it after digging deeper.
Use this to your advantage when you’re trying to find the best course for your needs. It’ll help you make a solid decision going forward.
What’s the best accounting course out there? The answer is that it depends on your current skill level, how you learn, the cost, and your specific needs.
There are plenty of courses available for every level of comprehension and budget. If you’re trying to find a course that matches your level of understanding and a budget-conscious option, I suggest using this guide to shop around and find a course that meets your learning expectations. You can always bookmark this guide to revisit and use it to make your final decision.
Here’s a quick recap: