After speaking with multiple (extremely) successful bookkeepers, we found one common thread: knowledge is power. And what better way to grow your knowledge bank and sharpen your skills than to take online courses in bookkeeping?
You don’t need a fancy degree or a gloating CV to become a bookkeeper, but you certainly need to know what you’re doing. Unless you exited the womb with a comprehensive knowledge of financial figures and a calculator in your hand, it goes without saying that you’ll need to learn from those who “kept books” before you.
Fortunately, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best bookkeeping courses available to humankind right now, using what our master bookkeepers taught us to separate the fabulous from the fake.
You’re on the cusp of finding out:
By the way, if you’re wanting to change careers or want to find a job that you can do from the comfort of your home, check out our bumper article The Best Online Courses for Remote Jobs & Online Business.
This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking on a link.
Given the title of this article is “best online courses in bookkeeping,” it doesn’t exactly take a genius to figure out where we stand on the best way to learn bookkeeping. Still, for the sake of impartiality, we want to share some options outside of online courses, too.
Although it’s not necessary to have a degree in bookkeeping to become a bookkeeper, it doesn’t hurt. Truth is, a fair amount of bookkeepers have degrees — either because they undertook them before deciding on their career or they wanted to give themselves an extra edge.
Quantitative subjects make the most sense — think Accounting or Business Administration. Besides, these types of subjects are sometimes sought after by employers and will give you career options beyond bookkeeping should you change your mind about your desired profession.
There are also various universities and colleges that have their own online courses.
If you’d rather not front the cost of college or university yourself and you’re a fan of learning on the job, you might prefer to look for a company that will pay for your training and take you through the ropes.
Some of the successful bookkeepers we spoke to recommended working for a company for a year or two before you strike out on your own, so even if you’d prefer self-employment, don’t rule it out just yet, learning on the job can be a good stepping stone for you.
Talking about steps, if you want to be your own bookkeeping boss, check out How to Start a Bookkeeping Business from Home – Step by Step.
And that leads us nicely onto the key part of this article: online courses.
We don’t want to keep you waiting, so let’s get to it. Here are seven of the top bookkeeping courses available on the Internet — with something suitable for all budgets and desires.
Udemy is one of the most popular online course sites around for a reason — all its courses are affordable (and you can often get them on “sale”) and contain succinct, interactive content with plenty of resources.
This program contains 4.5 hours of videos, has 52 additional downloadable resources, and will take you through all the key ideas of bookkeeping, from general concepts to specific theories.
However, there’s one caveat. The course is mostly aimed at business owners and managers who want to get a basic grasp of bookkeeping — not aspiring bookkeepers themselves. This means it’s a great starting point, but it’s not enough to clue you in on everything.
This edX course is run in conjunction with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), a global body for professional accountants. If you want a course that will look respectable on your CV, this could be the one for you.
Even better, it’s available for free!
You’ll receive comprehensive training in bookkeeping — although the course is targeted at beginners, it goes into a lot of detail. However, one possible downside is that it requires 5-8 hours of study for six weeks, so if you’re planning on completing this course, keep that in mind when it comes to planning your week.
It’s not often that 100% of students recommend a class, but that’s exactly what this one boasts (with a sample size of 4.9k graduates at the time of writing this article ). Also, since it’s a single class, it’s a lot quicker to get through than alternatives.
Although this course is part of a comprehensive program made especially for Etsy sellers, the principles taught are applicable to bookkeepers of all shapes and sizes. Business is business, so this is a great match for anyone who wants to work with smaller companies.
If you’re looking for a highly professional approach to your bookkeeping education, look no further than Penn Foster — its in-depth course will let you “learn to be a bookkeeper in as little as five months.” Quite the claim, but if you’re in any doubt, be reassured by Penn Foster’s accreditation by multiple organizations for educational standards.
Unlike many courses, which give a more general overview of bookkeeping, Penn Foster teaches its students to use QuickBooks, a key piece of software — in addition to the standard bookkeeping theory, of course.
This is a higher-priced course but see it as an investment in your career as you will be learning a valuable software skill that can be used in most small businesses.
The program lasts around four weeks and requires three hours of study per week — meaning it’s slightly less demanding than the edX course . Plus, it’s made alongside the Open University, so you know you’re getting a great education.
Unfortunately, it’s not as readily available as other courses — you have to register your interest and wait for enrolment dates to be announced.
Even better, there are various exercises you can take advantage of to test yourself, from crosswords to flashcards.
But, just a note: some of the tutorials are freely available, while others are only usable under one of the paid subscriptions. We suggest that you try out the free tutorials first and then decide if the rest are right for you.
Familiarity with QuickBooks is one of the top skills for bookkeepers, and if you already know it’s what you want to specialize in, you’d struggle to find a more in-depth course on the topic. With 120 hours of course content, you’ll truly be an expert by the end.
This program is offered alongside Central Georgia Technical College, so you’ll have the name of a respected college on your curriculum.
However, it costs a bit more than other courses, so you need to be sure it’s the right investment for your career.
For the most part, a college degree isn’t a requirement to become a bookkeeper, and you’ll scarcely be at a disadvantage for not having one. But licensing and training? That’s another matter entirely.
Depending on your country and state, you might need to hold a certain qualification or pass a specific exam to even practice the profession legally. Not sure if that applies to you? Check with your state licensing board if you live in the US, or look for a national licensing body if you work elsewhere.
Even if a certification isn’t strictly necessary, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one. Bookkeeping is a competitive industry, and we all want to earn as much as possible, so having an extra qualification up your sleeve can’t hurt.
If you’re not keen on the idea of getting a Bachelor’s degree before embarking on your career, you might prefer to get a certification. In that case, we’ve highlighted two of the best options.
Of course, a NACPB offers far more than just its name. It certifies more bookkeepers in the US than any other organization, making it the obvious go-to for anyone hoping to work in the country. Although the certification will set you back a few hundred dollars, there are plenty of free resources on the NACPB website you can use to dip your toes into the water before you commit. Why not give them a go?
The program will take you through computer fundamentals, Excel spreadsheet training, accounting functions, QuickBooks fundamentals, and more. In fact, the style of the course resembles a traditional degree.
But a word of warning — it’s a comprehensive program and costs $1,936 (at the time of writing) to complete. Well worth it considering the amount of material it covers and the certification that you will have, but it’s not for the faint of heart or indecisive. It really is an investment into your career.
Hopefully, one of the online courses in bookkeeping or certifications on this list has tickled your fancy. It might seem daunting to narrow it down to just one program when there are so many programs, but there’s plenty of variation in terms of cost and commitment — so have a long think about your priorities. Learning as much as possible? Covering the basics? Improving your resume?
If you feel we missed a course or you’ve had success with one of the programs we’ve recommended, don’t be a stranger. Leave a comment and let us know!
But enough from us — time to make your work-at-home bookkeeping dream a reality.