How to Become an Accountant – A Personal Accountant at Home




How To Become an Accountant and Work From Home

What?! You’re telling me that I can have a professional corporate job with the salary to boot, but work from home in my 10-year-old shredded jeans? Are you serious?! Ok, now you’ve got to tell me how to become an accountant and work from home!

If you are detail-oriented, good with numbers, and like the idea of starting an online business, then a career in accounting or as a personal accountant may be just the ticket.

The focus of this blog is how to become an accountant and work it as a work-from-home business, however, this blog post also has resources to help you find remote accounting jobs.

By the end of this blog post on how to become an accountant and work from home you’ll have the answers to these questions:

    • What is the difference between an accountant, a CPA and a chartered accountant?
    • What do accountants do?
    • How much do accountants make?
    • What’s the first step towards starting an accounting business from home?
    • What are the best online accounting courses for beginners?
    • What professional qualifications do accountants need?
    • Which universities offer professional accounting courses?
    • For those not yet ready to start an online accounting business, where can you find work-from-home accounting jobs?

Equipped with all that information you’ll understand how to become an accountant and the first steps towards starting an accounting business so you can work from home either in a remote position or as a personal accountant.

Let’s get stuck into it!

By the way, if you love balancing books, but want something a little less complicated, you might enjoy How to Start a Bookkeeping Business from Home – Step by Step Guide.

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How To Become an Accountant: What’s the Difference Between an Accountant, a CPA, and CA?

While all CA’s and CPA’s are accountants, why aren’t all accountants CA’s and CPA’s? Is this a valid question or am I having a Monday morning moron moment? Possibly the latter, haha. Either way, if you’re interested in the answer…


An accountant measures and communicates financial information about businesses, personal finances, governments or any other person/organization that wants to understand and manage their financial property.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that typical entry-level education is a bachelor’s degree.

Accountants typically work in one, or several of the four main fields which are financial accounting, management accounting, auditing and tax accountants.

difference between accountant and cpa

Chartered Accountant (CA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Both of these are paths that are not required when working out how to be an accountant, however they will add depth to your knowledge, experience, qualifications and appeal to prospective clients and employers.

Both paths require coursework, sitting and passing an exam, and gaining a certain amount of time of experience in the field, often under the supervision of a mentor who is a CA or CPA.

If you’re interested in specializing in a certain technical function, or progressing towards a financial controller or CFO role later in your career, then a CA qualification may be a good choice.

Whereas the CPA qualification can be a good choice for those wanting more varied accounting skills such as marketing, planning, production and costing.

CPAs are considered as fiduciaries with a legal duty as well as the responsibility on behalf of their degree, whereas a non-CPA accountant is not considered as a trustee to the clients.

What Do Accountants Do?

Per chance you’ve haphazardly stumbled upon this blog on how to become an accountant, you’ll inevitably want answers to this question and the next. The job role of an accountant is not all about getting the abacus out and mind numbingly sliding beans back and forth. 

what do accountants do

Accountants have many other jobs to do, like preparing balance sheets, creating cash-flow charts, tax file drafting, making profit lists and so on.

To add a bit more gravity to it, accountants are the backbone of a company. They know each and every financial detail of a company and they are in the driver’s seat for predicting whether a company is looking at future growth or future failure.

While most business owners are all fired up to take action, make sales and ‘do-the-do’, it’s the accountant who really knows what’s going on under the bonnet.

How Much Do Accountants Make?

Most business owners come across an accountant at the end of the business year, at the time of submitting the tax files; however, an accountant is someone who is continuously working on the financial background of a company throughout the year.

Like a doctor or nurse coming in from time to time to check the vital signs, an accountant should always be there in the background.

This is nice to know because it means that so long as businesses exist, accountants do too.

So answer the question Rowan, how much do accountants make?

A the time of writing this blog, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for accountants and auditors in 2020 was $73,560 p.a.

Meanwhile notes that based on salary estimates, the average base salary for an accountant was $53,498 p.a. and for a CPA it was $76,946 p.a.

This should give you a good rough idea, however if you want to delve a little deeper into the question how much do accountants make, this post by U.S.News also looks into things like salary outlook, best paying cities and states for accountants and salary range amongst others. A worthy read when working out how to become an accountant.

Starting an Accounting Business From Home

Starting an accounting business from home is a matter of upskilling as needed for whichever field of accounting you wish to run a business in, getting experience by working in a job until you feel experienced enough, then breaking away and starting an accounting business from the comfort of your own home. Now that’s the short form on how to become an accountant!


While this blog won’t dive into the technical side of starting the business in terms of legals, premises, staff, computer programs etc. we will look at how to become an accountant starting at the qualifications level and what jobs you can typically get at each level.

From there, after working for an accounting company for a set period of time you’ll have a much better idea as to what you’ll need in order to start a home business, become a consultant, and earn money online.

Best Online Accounting Courses for Beginners

Here’s a list of four online accounting courses for beginners that will truly help on your path of how to become an accountant or a personal accountant. We’ve carefully selected the courses below based on researching and comparing metrics such as the highest rated and most reviewed.

Please note, we haven’t used the following courses, so we recommend reading the reviews posted by students where available.

Accounting Courses by edX

Enrolling yourself in an accounting course is a great way to gain a better understanding about the industry, improve the skillset you already have or obtain continuing education that may be required for chartered or certified status.

There are a range of online accounting courses for beginners or more advanced students at edX, so get yourself enrolled and learning post haste.

Accounting Courses on Udemy

Udemy is widely popular for its useful study materials. Your dream of starting a career in accounting can be successful with Udemy as well. They have a list of accounting courses with ratings and number of reviews, all of which have a 30 day money back guarantee.

Accounting Courses on Coursera

Similar to Udemy, Coursera courses have a rating system showing number of reviews, and you can filter by language, level, skills and partner educators. Coursera is another great resource for online accounting courses for beginners to those more advanced.

Financial Accounting Fundamental Course from Harvard Business School

This 8 week comprehensive accounting course will help you to learn main accounting principles and concepts “consisting of Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting”. Have confidence learning from a professor from one of the worlds most prestigious business schools.

Accountant Qualifications – Universities with Online Accounting Courses

Here are a collection of the top universities to help you find professional accounting courses to begin your career.

Purdue University Global

Purdue offer an online Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting which contributes toward the educational requirements to sit for the CPA or CMA exams. There are multiple start dates to suit whatever you have going on in your life, which seems to be one or two dates each month.

Bellevue University

Bellevue offers the bachelor’s degree in accounting online and in-class which is in Belevue, Nebraska. Undertaking this course will equip you to enter professional accountancy and to prepare for the CPA exam.

They also offer an optional accountancy internship which sounds like a great way to gain experience and work out which accounting path you’d like to head down.

University of Charleston

Similar to Belevue, UC offer an online or in-class ‘accounting program’ which can be done as a major, or a double major in accounting and business administration or complete a ‘concentration in financial planning’ which is “especially attractive for majors in the three-year program or those who wish to complete the 150 credit hour requirements for the CPA examination in a different way”.

Accountant Qualifications

Photo credit to UC Website

Auburn University

The online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Accountancy is suitable for those with an accredited degree in business who decide after to change career paths into accounting or for those looking to undertake the CPA exam.

They have an online accounting program selector which will make choosing the right course easier.

Washington State University

WSU lay claim to the fact that “their accounting major is one of only seven programs in the Pacific Northwest and approximately 187 worldwide that have earned the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Accounting Accreditation.”

With the WSU Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration you’ll gain the foundation you need to become an accountant and work from home.

For more professional accounting courses that will help answer the question of how to become an accountant, you can also check out:

Work From Home Accounting Jobs – Where Can You Find Them?

Whether you’re looking to work remotely for a company, or you’ve broken out and you’re working as a freelance accountant, here are a great collection of sites where you can find remote or freelance accounting jobs.


With Flexjobs you can find a variety of remote accounting jobs. This site mainly helps to provide access to part-time, freelance as well as flexible job offerings. This portal can be a good option for searching for accounting jobs.


This jobs board has more remote accounting jobs than you can poke a stick at.


This freelancer portal will help you to connect globally with professionals engaged with accounting, bookkeeping and business analysis across the world. I personally use Upwork frequently as I feel it has a more professional edge than some of the other freelance sites. Perfect for those seeking personal accountants to help with their books.


We Work Remotely

This portal connects its users with remote accounting jobs in companies across the globe. Because it charges the company posting the add a reasonably pricey ad posting fee it eliminates the small fries and results in medium to larger companies using this portal, which can be great to help you find some bigger accounting roles (if some have been posted).

Remote OK

This freelancer portal is very similar to We Work Remotely, and charges companies a similar amount to post a job. Remote Ok reaches more than 800,000 remote workers per month.


This is a global community where you can connect with accounting related freelance accounting jobs. This portal connects freelancers with companies to fulfil their requirements. At the time of posting this add there were a handful of ads for accountants.


This is a UK based website where you can list your profile, skills, qualifications and any other relevant information so businesses looking for accountants can search through candidates. The People per Hour primary purpose is to provide businesses access to freelance workers across the globe.


Jobspresso is an easy to use remote job searching website for work from home accounting jobs. Through this portal you can choose to search specifically for contract, freelance, full time, internship or part time which makes things quick and easy.


By now you’ll have a much better understanding about the difference between an accountant, a CPA and a chartered accountant, what it is exactly that accountants do, how much accountants make, and the first steps towards starting an accounting business from home.

In this blog we also dived into the best online accounting courses for beginners and universities that offer professional accounting courses, and to wrap things up we looked at where you can find an abundance of work from home accounting jobs.

Armed with all this information and answers surrounding the question of how to become an accountant you’ll have a leg up on the competition on your journey to becoming an accountant and working from home.

become an accountant

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