14 best accounting courses online for career and investment purposes
Financial accounting is a process that involves preparing different types of financial statements that are of interest to third-party investors. Investors use such statements to determine a company’s financial health and evaluate the potential of a lucrative venture.
The possibility of profitable investments and ventures makes financial accounting a smart career. If you happen to be an aspiring (financial) accountant but are unsure where to start, enrolling yourself in financial accounting courses online may be a good idea.
In fact, the following list of the best accounting courses online may prove valuable in helping you decide on the right online class for your career or investment projects.
Accounting Courses Online – Overview
Financial accounting refers to the process of preparing, analyzing, and interpreting financial data usually in the form of financial statements. These financial statements serve as the plinth on which investors then predicate their financial ventures and investments.
Typically, there are three types of financial statements covered by most online accounting courses: balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. Other than these, most beginner and intermediate financial accounting courses also cover core concepts such as risk analysis, project financing, tax reports, and budgeting.
An idea to bear in mind is the difference between accounting and bookkeeping. Financial accounting deals with classifying, summarizing, analyzing, and reporting financial data. Bookkeeping deals with the documentation of a company’s financial transactions.
Thus, financial accounting helps companies make profitable investment decisions, reduce risks, and successfully run business operations. Most online programs keep this difference between the two intact. If you want to pursue a career or education in financial accounting, below is now our review of the best accounting courses online.
Best Accounting Courses Online 2021 – Top Picks
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*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure at the end of this post.
Note: This post lists some of the best financial accounting courses online but cannot cover all the classes available. The 14 classes aim to provide a good starting point for individuals looking to become professional accountants or improve their financial literacy.
1. Develop Your Finance and Accounting Skills – LinkedIn
LinkedIn Learning offers this comprehensive accounting learning path (visit website) spanning a total of seven online accounting courses. Designed for beginner-level learners, these classes will take you through the fundamentals of finance and accounting.
Students will begin their financial accounting journey with an introductory dive into the four important categories found within the accounting niche: managerial, financial, income tax accounting, and bookkeeping. The subsequent four models will offer in-depth coverage of these primary accounting types.
You will learn how to prepare and interpret financial statements, analyze risks, obtain finance to operate models, and understand how to file your personal and professional tax returns. Lastly, you will learn about the basics of corporate financial statement analysis.
By the end, you will have an understanding of financial analysis, accounting, and budgeting. You will be able to draw the links between accounting and a business’s financial health, interpret financial statements, and effectively communicate those results. One of the best accounting courses online for business owners and small investors.
2. Introduction to Finance and Accounting, Wharton, Coursera
Coursera offers a specialization in finance and accounting (visit website) by assembling four learner-friendly accounting courses in one track. The certificate of completion shared towards the end is authorized by the University of Wharton.
The specialization aims to help students understand the basics of corporate finance and accounting and its application in real-world situations. By the end, students should have developed an understanding of the relationship between financial intermediation and corporate decision-making. You’d be able to analyze personal finance and the role of managerial incentives in driving the financial reporting process.
It begins with an introductory course on the fundamentals in finance and will serve as a refresher for students with a background in business. Next follows an introduction to corporate finance that will cover key concepts such as personal finance, financial intermediation, and decision-making.
By the time you start the last two courses, you will have laid the foundation to erect your technical skills in analyzing financial statements, such as the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows. This is among the best accounting courses online for beginners to get a solid understanding of core concepts in financial accounting.
3. Introduction to Finance, Accounting, Modeling, and Valuation – Udemy
Introduction to Finance, Accounting, Modeling, and Valuation (visit website) is designed for absolute beginners with no prior knowledge in the field of business and finance. The course will take you through the necessary basics in each of these sub-fields.
Coming out of the course you will have mastered the art of analyzing different types of financial statements such as the balance sheet, income statements, and cash flow statements. This course will teach you the formulas and ratios needed in making correct valuations in your venture capital and accounting career.
Other subjects include the most prevalent valuation methodologies to correctly evaluate the target prices for their companies. Discover the best modeling practices, while creating financial statements, understand the place of macroeconomics in modeling, find resources to research public companies’ financial statements, and create forecasting models.
Through the visual training approach used in the class, students will be able to land a better command of key metrics used in the evaluation of a company’s financial health. This is among the most popular and best accounting courses on Udemy suitable for beginners.
The course, Accounting Fundamentals (visit website) is taught by Matt Cooper, the CEO of Skillshare himself. Designed for beginners, this course will take students through the essentials of financial accounting with incisive lectures and a hands-on approach.
There are a total of 10 short modules spanning the course and you will begin with an introductory dive into cash accounting vs. accrual accounting. The walkthrough will next introduce you to lessons in calculating topline revenue and balancing your statements.
Like many accounting courses online, you will learn about preparing, reading, and analyzing the three types of financial statements. By the end, learners will have mastered the key terms in accounting, as well as the basic equations. As part of its hands-on projects, you will be required to fill in a mock financial spreadsheet for your business.
Matt claims to primarily focus on using simple language to drive home key concepts that can prepare students for their finance-related role as they walk away from the course. This is one of Skillshare’s best accounting courses online with many more available.
5. Financial Accounting – Udemy
Udemy’s next accounting course on the list is taught by Norm Nemrow, the self-made millionaire and recipient of the famed teaching award and prepared by the renowned Brigham Young University. Financial Accounting (visit website) is the first of a series of five courses titled The Introduction to Accounting Course Series.
Since these are the same accounting courses taught at the university, signing up with the university’s Independent Study program will qualify you for 6 -credit hours after sitting the exam. The remainder of the series is made up of the following accounting courses: Introduction to Managerial Accounting, Advanced Financial Accounting, Advanced Managerial Accounting, and Accounting Capstones.
Financial Accounting comprehensively prepares students for accounting in business at the university level. It will walk you through the fundamental and core concepts in financing a business, the different types of financial statements, and the legal forms of a business.
Students also learn about debits and credits, accrual accounting and cash accounting, strategic investments, interpreting financial statements, and maximizing business profits by understanding the accounting cycle. In addition, the class covers related concepts such as sales revenue and inventories, long term-assets, dividends, stocks, and bonds.
6. Fundamentals of Accounting – University of Illinois, Coursera
Coursera’s Fundamentals of Accounting (visit website) is another specialization spanning a total of five accounting courses online directed at beginner-level learners. This course focuses on the two main types of accounting in business: managerial and financial.
While financial accounting deals with reports and financial statements, managerial accounting, as the name indicates, deals with the tools and techniques that managers and employees can use to make the right business decision.
Your accounting journey will begin with an introductory course on understanding financial statements and company positions, with an emphasis on the balance sheet. From here, students will move towards understanding the role of income statements, their various components, and their role in accounting.
With the third course, students will encounter the various types of decision-making accounting information and use this information to manage costs and other drivers of financial success. In the fourth module, you will learn how to implement controls in accounting to improve organization workflows.
While a capstone project involving the application of the concepts learned to a realistic small-business setting will help drive a working understanding of accounting applications.
7. Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis: Complete Training – Udemy
Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis (visit website) is another course by Udemy directed at beginners with little to no prior knowledge on the subject.
The class is aimed at anyone who wants to become a financial analyst, accountant auditor, entrepreneur, financial manager, Business Analyst, CEO, etc. It comes with an assistive suite of case studies, student support that answers your queries within two business days, and high-quality HD animations.
Upon enrolling, you will begin with understanding the fundamental concepts in accounting, bookkeeping, and the roles of financial stakeholders. Next, students will learn about the three main types of financial statements along with their various elements.
Students will also get a chance to identify the entire accounting process from transactions to creating statements as well as build financial statements of their own. By the end, you will have a sufficient understanding of creating cash flow statements, financial reporting, principles of accounting accruals, and interpreting these by making use of ratio analysis.
8. Professional Certificate in Financial Accounting – edX
The Professional Certificate in Financial Accounting by EdX is a collaboration with the New York Institute of Finance. It is a self-paced program that can span a period of 5 months with 1-2 hours of weekly study.
EdX’s professional certificate focuses on creating a functional understanding of financial statements and their role in businesses. The goal is to develop a command of using the various accounting tools to generate annual reports and footnotes. There are a total of five financial accounting courses comprising the certificate.
In the first course, you will learn about the accounting system structure and important elements of financial management. Next, students will learn to create reports that outline a firm’s resources, obligations, and performance. Finally, the reports will upgrade to include taxation, liabilities, owners’ capital, cash flow, investments, and pension.
Provider: New York Institute – Finance, edX
Duration: 5 months. 2-3 hours/week | Pricing: $1,299 with Certificate.
9. Introduction to Financial Accounting – FutureLearn
Future Learn’s Introduction to Financial Accounting is a beginner’s course to help individuals refresh their knowledge of accounting in businesses as well as command recent techniques in the field. This self-paced course takes about 4 weeks to complete.
This course is designed for learners who wish to develop their skills in accounting either to acquire a career in accounting or pursue advanced studies. Upon enrolling, you will encounter the process of representing a company’s decisions and operations in numbers.
Coming out of the class, you will have a functional understanding of how accounting serves various purposes, the role of accruals in accounting, and the importance of accurately reading financial statements.
Students will be able to interpret company transactions, differentiate between the book value of equities and their market value, and assess a company’s financial structure and its implications. This is one of the best accounting courses online for self-paced studying.
Duration: 4 weeks | Certificate: Yes.
Level: Introductory | Price: $39/month. Free trial.
10. Introduction to Accounting – HighBrow
Introduction to Accounting by HighBrow is a largely theory-based course for beginners in accounting. The course comprises 10 lectures that will be delivered to your inbox every morning for ten days. The lectures are mostly just five-minute reads that are followed by a short, knowledge-testing quiz.
The email-based course is designed to instill amongst learners a basic grip over fundamental accounting principles, statements of finances, balance sheets, and cash flows. Other concepts that you will gradually encounter over the ten days include double-entry, liabilities, financial structures, etc.
The first couple of modules in the course deal with profit and loss statements and balance sheets. From here, you’ll move on to debits and credits and work with cash flow statements. Finally, learners will acquaint themselves with important accounting essentials such as depreciation, understanding business structures, and types of accounting.
While the course itself is set up in a learner-friendly and accessible format, the five-minute lecture might end up comprising the depth in which the topic is covered. This could be one of the best accounting courses online for learners with a very limited time bduget.
Instructor: Martin Ryan. Highbrow | Level: Beginner
Format: 1 email lesson/day| Study Time: 10 days. 5min/day.
11. Online Accounting Course – ShawAcademy
Shaw Academy Course is a 16-week beginner-level program for individuals interested in both accounting as well as bookkeeping. It is directed at learners who hope to develop a working understanding of how to build their finances as well as their businesses.
Upon enrolling, students will encounter introductory lessons on the accounting cycle, manageable processes within the finance functions, and typical transactions.
In the next modules, the focus will shift to the more intermediate and advanced level concepts in both fields. Be prepared for a rigorous journey across core accounting and bookkeeping concepts such as trade receivables, bank reconciliations, inventory, fixed assets, accounts payables, equities, and liabilities, etc.
By the end, students will have developed a deep understanding of how accounting and bookkeeping function in holding up a business’ finances. One of the best accounting courses online that implement bookkeeping comprehensively for beginners.
Publisher: Shaw Academy | Certification: Yes | Level: All | Modules: 3
Duration: 16 weeks | Price: Subscription | User Rating: 4.6 ★★★★☆
12. Diploma in Financial Accounting – Alison
Alison is offering a diploma in financial accounting. This is a beginner-level program that will touch upon the foundational tenets of accounting. Upon enrolling in the class students will start developing an understanding of financial statements, the structure of a balance sheet, and the streams of accounting.
Other areas of focus include the components of profit and loss accounts, ratio analysis, and depreciation. Once learners have developed a foundational comprehension of the various elements in accounting, the class will move towards higher-end functions.
These include the principles of corporate governance, accounting standards, the various ways of recording financial transactions, and financial evolution. Alison’s financial accounting courses are for anyone interested in accurately interpreting, preparing, and analyzing financial statements and pursuing a career in accounting.
Publisher: Alison | Certification: Yes | Level: Beginner
Duration: 10-15 hours | Price: Free | User Rating: 4.1 ★★★★☆
13. Business Management: Fundamentals of Management Accounting – FutureLearn
FutureLearn’s Business Management is a 10-week micro-credential designed for undergraduates looking to pursue higher studies or a career in business and management accounting. Participants would likely increase their employability for management positions, accounting roles, and personal finance.
Business Management is designed with a focus on highlighting the relationship between accounting and successfully running the business operations. Throughout the course, students will encounter some of the best practices in the field and hone their ability to adapt their problem-solving skills to newer challenges.
By the end, students will have developed a command over key concepts in management accounting. You will have mastered the art of applying financial information for greater efficiency, assessing costs and developing budgets, and identifying management accounting principles and their importance.
Students will also learn about the concept of problem-solving with management accounting and the break-even level of output. This is an introductory online accounting course requiring no prior experience.
Accounting Courses: 4 | Duration: 10 weeks | Credit: Yes.
Level: Undergraduates | Price: $39/month. Free trial.
14. Financial Accounting – Harvard University
Financial Accounting is a self-paced course that can be completed in 8 weeks. Designed to help students unlock critical insights into business operations and performance, the course will take you behind the scenes of the numbers in accounting.
Harvard University’s class is designed to demystify core concepts in accounting such as financial statements and use these insights to drive strategic decision-making.
By shedding light on real-life examples of an equity research analyst, a yoga studio owner, leaderships of non-profits, and executives, the class will lend students a functional understanding of how these core concepts work.
As an outcome, students understand the role of the balance sheet, interpret the income statement, and comprehend their interactions. You will also understand how to determine the financial health of a business, acquaint yourself with the US GAAP and the IFRS accounting standards, and evaluate the potential of an investment or financial venture.
Duration: Self-paced. 8 weeks | Certificate: Yes.
Provider: Harvard Business School | Price: approx. $1,600.
How to Choose the Best Accounting Courses Online
Some of the key considerations to make when researching the best accounting courses online include your near and long-term goals. Learners might want to pursue advanced studies in accounting and procure a degree before landing a job, or apply directly as a knowledgeable accountant.
While it is possible to land a lucrative career in accounting based on experience and knowledge alone, keep in mind that certain states in the US make it mandatory for accountants to have a degree.
Also, financial accounting can be a vast field and different online accounting courses may offer varying levels of in-depth analysis on these topics. Ultimately, the right course will be the one that covers the topics which are most widely functional in your career. These could be interpreting financial statements, auditing, etc.
One way to go about it is to narrow down the list of potential financial accounting courses online. To do this, you can ask yourself the following questions.
- Where do I see myself in the near future?
- What kind of accounting assistance does my employer require of me?
- Do I have the time and financial resources for a long-term commitment to course completion?
- Do I need a degree or a certificate of proficiency or will my skills be enough to convince potential recruiters and employers of my accounting prowess?
At the same time, conduct your own research and survey of the best accounting courses online. A little research can go a long way in saving you from unnecessary setbacks and frustrations.
Best Accounting Courses Online 2021 – Review Verdict
Summarizing our review of the best accounting courses online. For some, enrolling in an online course can be daunting, especially if they have decided to base their career-making decisions on their experience with a particular course. However, choosing the right financial accounting courses does not have to be so sweat-inducing.
Since goals, expectations, and learning abilities vary from person to person, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for determining the best course. Assess your individual needs and link them to a selection of online financial accounting courses that best fit them for a fool-proof way of landing yourself the perfect class.
Best Accounting Courses Online 2021
- Develop Your Finance and Accounting Skills – LinkedIn
- Introduction to Finance and Accounting, Wharton, Coursera
- Introduction to Finance, Accounting, Modeling, and Valuation – Udemy
- Accounting Fundamentals: Understanding Financial Statements, Skillshare
- Financial Accounting – Udemy
- Fundamentals of Accounting – University of Illinois, Coursera
- Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis: Complete Training – Udemy
- Professional Certificate in Financial Accounting – edX
- Introduction to Financial Accounting – FutureLearn
- Introduction to Accounting – HighBrow
- Online Accounting Course – ShawAcademy
- Diploma in Financial Accounting – Alison
- Fundamentals of Management Accounting – FutureLearn
- Financial Accounting – Harvard University
What are the best accounting courses online 2021? Let us know in the comments below.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to some providers of financial accounting courses online. courselounge may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. It does not add any extra costs. All reviews, opinions, descriptions and comparisons expressed here are our own.