Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (2024)

A bookkeeping course can help if you're pursuing a career in the field, but it can also help you learn how to take care of the books for your small business or yourself.

Online courses vary in the time commitment required and level of detail covered, but all of them should help you get started and improve your skills in managing taxes, budgets, and personal finances.

To develop our list we researched 30 online bookkeeping courses. We evaluated them based on course content, third-party ratings, student success rates, costs, and other factors.

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes

  • Our Top Picks
  • Skillshare
  • AccountingCoach, LLC
  • LinkedIn Learning
  • Udemy
  • Financial Edge
  • Coursera
  • Harvard Business School
  • Penn Foster College
  • U.S. Career Institute
  • See More (6)
  • Final Verdict

  • Compare Classes

  • FAQ

  • Methodology

Best Overall : Skillshare

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (1)

  • Cost: $167.88/year
  • Trial: 1-month free trial
  • Accreditation/certification: No

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Take our favorite Skillshare bookkeeping course and others for free for one month

  • Highly rated class and well-liked teacher

  • One affordable membership includes access to hundreds of classes

Cons

  • Can’t buy individual classes

  • Must maintain Skillshare membership to access course

Why We Chose It

Skillshare has a nice variety of bookkeeping classes, many taught by professionals with years of experience in their field. We recommend starting with Bookkeeping for Freelancers: How to Handle Your Finances; it’s taught by Emily Simcox, a training team lead at Bench, a company that provides online bookkeeping services.

Access to Skillshare courses requires a yearly subscription, but you can try out a full month for free—that means you can take the entire Bookkeeping for Freelancers course, if you’d like, along with others. It's our pick for the best overall thanks to its easy accessibility and high-quality lessons.

Whether you’re a freelancer or small business owner, this simple course provides a great introduction to keeping track of basic expenses and revenue. You’ll learn the differences between cash basis accounting and accrual accounting, and how to determine which is best for your business. Simcox finishes by discussing the basics of categorizing transactions and organizing documents.

The class is relatively short, but it’ll give you a professional-grade foundation to continue learning. For more, see Skillshare’s full collection of bookkeeping courses. You’ll find classes on general topics like starting a bookkeeping business and bookkeeping for small businesses, along with classes on specific accounting tools like QuickBooks, Google Sheets, and Excel.

The downside to Skillshare’s all-inclusive membership is that you’ll lose access to the class materials if your membership expires. Class videos can be downloaded, but only through the Skillshare mobile app.

Best Free Course Materials : AccountingCoach, LLC

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (2)

  • Cost: $49–$99
  • Trial: No
  • Accreditation/certification: Achievement certificate with Pro Plus

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free materials and courses

  • Upgrade to paid classes that include video lessons and assessments

Why We Chose It

AccountingCoach, LLC is our pick here because it allows you to learn the basics of bookkeeping for free. If you're more serious, you can get additional study materials and earn a certification of achievement with the company's paid coursework at a relatively low cost, ranging from $49 to $99.

AccountingCoach, LLC is a web-based educational platform founded in 2003 by Harold Averkamp. Averkamp is a certified public accountant (CPA) who holds a masters in business administration (MBA) and has more than 25 years of experience in the accounting field. The company offers a great variety of accounting courses, covering accounting basics, bookkeeping, financial statements, and more—all completely free. You can even take practice quizzes and solve puzzles as another way to learn, also at no cost.

Students have the option to upgrade to two paid options. PRO Access costs $49 and provides additional video courses, quick assessments, business forms, and more. Its features include study flashcards and tests with coaching included. The higher-tier PRO Plus includes certificates of achievement for debits and credits, adjusting entries, financial statements, balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, payroll, and more, all for $99. The costs include lifetime access to all of the materials.

Best for Fundamentals : LinkedIn Learning

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (3)

  • Cost: $34.99 (one-time fee), or $239.88/year or $39.99/month
  • Trial: 1-month free trial
  • Accreditation/certification: LinkedIn Learning Certificate, 2.8 CPE credits

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Great for beginners

  • Accessible on mobile, tablet, and desktop

  • Complete a final exam to earn continuing professional education (CPE) credits

Cons

  • Need to sign up for a LinkedIn account

Why We Chose It

We picked the LinkedIn Learning Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping course as the best for fundamentals based on its short length and its focus on the basics. Students can get an overview of bookkeeping in about one and a half hours from accounting professors from a top university.

The class packs in a lot of expert advice; you'll get a quick overview of how bookkeeping works, with access to quizzes too. Then you'll learn to create balance sheets and income statements, define journal entries, and get an understanding of how financial statements work, to mention just a few topics.

This class is taught by Earl Stice and Jim Stice, both accounting professors at Brigham Young University (BYU). It's the first in a six-course path called "Getting Started in Finance & Bookkeeping."

You can register for the class on its own for a one-time cost of $34.99, or sign up for a monthly LinkedIn Learning membership starting at $39.99 per month, with a one-month free trial. Or, if you prefer, you can get an annual LinkedIn Learning membership to lower the cost to $19.99 a month.

Best for Discounts : Udemy

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (4)

  • Cost: $89.99
  • Trial: Free bookkeeping-related courses
  • Accreditation/certification: Completion certificate, 7.0 NASBA CPE credits

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Experienced instructor

  • Mobile app available

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Focused more on basic and foundational concepts for beginners

Why We Chose It

We picked Udemy's Bookkeeping Basics #1: Understand the Fundamentals as best for discounts because it's a detailed class taught by an experienced instructor, at a list price of $89.99. However, discounts are frequently advertised and can save students 70% or more off the full price.

Bookkeeping Basics #1 is taught by Ron Trucks, an experienced small business coach and college instructor with more than 25 years of experience in the field. The course includes 50 videos divided into 11 sections. There are around four and a half hours of video in total. Students can learn the basic foundations of bookkeeping like concepts and tools used, tracking expenses, reading financial reports, and more.

This course has had over 21,000 students, with more frequently joining, and it's designed for people of all backgrounds, whether you're a student, an entrepreneur, or just someone who wants to understand more about bookkeeping.

The program's list price of $89.99 is frequently discounted substantially, though the amount of those discounts varies from time to time. Udemy has a 30-day money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with the course.

Udemy has a variety of courses to help launch your bookkeeping career or help you along; see Udemy's full selection of bookkeeping courses for more.

Best for Self-Paced Education : Financial Edge

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (5)

  • Cost: $119
  • Trial: No
  • Accreditation/certification: Completion certificate

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 73 practical Excel exercises

  • Direct help from instructor

  • Lifetime access

Cons

  • No discussion of specific accounting software (according to the syllabus)

  • Few customer reviews online

Why We Chose It

Financial Edge has quite a few classes on accounting and finance; Accounting Essentials distills the key lessons to help you “quickly and confidently interpret financial data and statements, evaluate them and use the calculated information to build high-quality reports.”

Unlike some other self-paced courses, which are quite short and simple, Accounting Essentials is expected to take about 10.5 hours and includes 73 practical Excel exercises. The price includes lifetime access so you can take your time and come back to the material whenever you’d like. Financial Edge offers direct instructor help for students as well, so you can ask questions if you get stuck.

Accounting Essentials begins with an explanation of balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. You’ll learn to calculate EBIT and EBITDA, and how to judge an organization’s profitability compared to similar companies. There are even sections on due diligence and how to identify when a company is manipulating its sales data.

The class continues with more advanced topics, like how to analyze the capital structure of a company and determine various accounting ratios (leverage ratios, profitability ratios, asset ratios, etc.). When you’re finished you should have a solid foundation in bookkeeping for small businesses, and you’ll have a completion certificate to show for it.

If you like Financial Edge and you’re looking for something more comprehensive, consider The Accountant course. It includes the Accounting Essentials class along with two others (Financial Accounting Review and M&A Accounting), and you’ll earn a skills certificate when you’re done.

Best for Small Businesses : Coursera

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (6)

  • Cost: Free
  • Trial: Free paid learning program
  • Accreditation/certification: Completion certificate

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Taught by a top educational institution

  • Financial aid available

  • Seven-day free trial

Cons

  • $59 monthly fee beyond the trial period

Why We Chose It

Offered by the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, this Coursera class is taught by top-ranked faculty and is specifically tailored to help small business owners understand their finances.

Coursera is an education platform founded in 2012 by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, both computer science professors at Stanford, with all courses taught by experienced professionals from top universities or companies. Over 110 million people have signed up for courses and over 125,000 students have enrolled in this specific bookkeeping course.

Our pick as best for small businesses, the "Financial Accounting Fundamentals" class is designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners keep track of their finances more effectively, from bookkeeping to preparing financial statements. This is a 13-hour video course that includes quizzes for each section to check your knowledge. You can complete everything on your own time and you don't need prior experience in accounting.

The class is taught by Luann J. Lynch, a professor of business administration at Darden with an MBA from Duke University and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina. You can get academic and technical support through the Coursera support team or the Coursera community.

Best for University Education : Harvard Business School

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (7)

  • Cost: $1,750
  • Trial: No
  • Accreditation/certification: Completion certificate

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Taught by a prestigious university

  • Comprehensive lessons and exercises

  • Prepares you for an MBA or professional career

  • Real-world examples and case studies

Cons

  • Relatively expensive

  • Only taught at certain times each year

  • Application required

Why We Chose It

If you’re planning a career that involves managing the books for a small or medium-sized business, a 90-minute course probably won’t cut it. Consider Harvard Business, which offers an eight-week-long Financial Accounting course that’ll take you from the basics of balance sheets all the way to valuing a new investment opportunity.

This is an introductory course, but it requires a significant time commitment, with about 60 hours of material in all. It’s self-paced, although there are regular deadlines, and it’s recommended that students spend six to eight hours per week learning. The class is designed for college students and recent grads, grads considering an MBA, and mid-career professionals.

Financial Accounting progresses through seven modules; each one includes some case studies, key lessons to learn, and exercises and quizzes to cement and test your knowledge. You’ll begin with simple accounting concepts and principles before moving on to complex transactions and financial forecasting. To understand how it all works in the real world, you’ll look at companies like Apple, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Morgan Stanley, and Estée Lauder.

This course is taught by V.G. Narayanan, the Thomas D. Casserly, Jr. Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. It’s fully online, and there is no live instruction.

Harvard offers Financial Accounting at specific times throughout the year, so check the application deadlines and program dates. This course is relatively expensive (it’s free to apply) and you’ll learn a lot more than simple bookkeeping, so it’s not right for everyone. But if you’re serious about developing the skills needed to work with finance and want to leave no stone unturned, it could be worth the investment.

Best for a Career in Bookkeeping : Penn Foster College

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (8)

  • Cost: $989 (one-time fee) or $59/month
  • Trial: No
  • Accreditation/certification: DEAC accreditation, 26.6 CEUs

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Includes one-year subscription to QuickBooks

  • Support from student services

  • Exams and projects to keep you on track

Cons

  • Relatively expensive

Why We Chose It

Penn Foster College Inc. offers one of the best courses to get started in the accounting field, with a comprehensive program that includes an overview of the tools used in the industry. When you finish you'll be prepared to start your career as a bookkeeper.

Founded in 1890 by Thomas J. Foster, Penn Foster College has been offering online classes since 2006 and is an accredited entity by the DEAC.

The program covers topics such as payroll, wholesale accounting, revenue, expenses, assets, liabilities, financial reports, tools used in the industry, and more. With this program, you'll get eight courses which feature 14 exams and three submitted projects. The program also offers experience working with popular software tools such as Excel and Quickbooks.

To help you launch your career, you can join other bookkeeping students through the college student community portal to get peer support. At the end of the program, students should expect to have a full understanding of the main tasks of a bookkeeper and can start applying for jobs in the field. The total cost of the program is $989, with options to pay the full amount upon registration, mail a monthly payment, or set up a monthly automatic payment.

You can enroll directly on the website by simply filling out the registration form, providing a method of payment. If you have any questions, you can call the school's admissions hotline number from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. ET.

Best for Certification : U.S. Career Institute

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (9)

  • Cost: $59/month or $589 in full
  • Trial: No
  • Accreditation/certification: DEAC accreditation

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Accredited by the DEAC

  • Military and VA benefits

Cons

  • A more expensive option

Why We Chose It


The U.S. Career Institute is our top pick for getting a bookkeeping certification because it's accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and offers personalized coaching and career support,

With headquarters in Colorado, the U.S Career Institute was founded in 1981 and offers more than 25 career certificates across different industries, from healthcare to business.

This online associate's degree in accounting includes training in accounting principles, business law, workplace psychology, small business management, economics, and tax accounting. The program also provides career support to help you get into a new job.

The class costs $139 per month and can be completed in as little as 16 months.

Final Verdict

The best online bookkeeping classes are easily accessible, taught by qualified instructors, and deliver high-quality lessons. That's what you'll get from our top pick, Bookkeeping for Freelancers: How to Handle Your Finances on Skillshare, which provides everything you need to get started within the one-month free trial.

Or, you may find a perfect fit among our other top picks. Check Udemy for discounted prices on in-depth classes taught by excellent instructors. Like Skillshare, it has a variety of classes to browse. A college-level course, like one offered through Coursera or the Harvard Business School, could be a good choice if you're more serious and want to take your skills to the next level.

Compare Classes

ClassCostTrialAccreditation/Certification
Skillshare Best Overall$167.88/year1-month free trialNo
AccountingCoach, LLC Best Free Course Materials$49–$99NoAchievement certificate with Pro Plus
LinkedIn Learning Best for Fundamentals$34.99 (one-time fee), or $239.88/year or $39.99/month1-month free trialLinkedIn Learning Certificate, 2.8 CPE credits
Udemy Best for Discounts$89.99Free bookkeeping-related coursesCompletion certificate, 7.0 NASBA CPE credits
Financial Edge Best for Self-Paced Education$119NoCompletion certificate
Coursera Best for Small BusinessesFreeFree paid learning programCompletion certificate
Harvard Business School Best for University Education$1,750NoCompletion certificate
Penn Foster College Inc. Best for a Career in Bookkeeping$989 (one-time fee) or $59/monthNoDEAC accreditation, 26.6 CEUs
U.S. Career Institute Best for Certification$139/monthNoDEAC accreditation

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Basic Bookkeeping Skills?

The basic skills needed to be an effective bookkeeper include knowledge of math, being tech-savvy, and paying close attention to details, as you will be surrounded by numbers and financial reports all day long. Generally, employers are looking for someone with strong data entry skills who can keep their financial records in order, document all of their key transactions, and manage invoices.

What Does a Bookkeeping Class Include?

A bookkeeping class gives you an overview of the primary functions and concepts of bookkeeping, such as financial statements and journal entries, as well as how to record expenses, profits, revenues, losses, and much more. Some also cover how to use popular bookkeeping software and may even offer certifications upon course completion. The level of detail and length of the course will depend on whether it's designed for someone looking to launch a career or simply keep better track of their small business finances.

Do I Need a Bookkeeping Certification?

While most companies do not require a certification to be a bookkeeper, it does help if you want to launch a career in the accounting industry and would like to be considered for high-income opportunities. Getting your bookkeeping certification with one of the two main nationally recognized certifying bodies, either the National Association of Certified Bookkeepers or the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, is a good way to demonstrate your expertise and qualifications. There are a variety of other accounting certifications to choose from, as well.

How Much Do Bookkeeping Classes Cost?

The cost of enrolling in a bookkeeping class depends on the type of course you choose. The classes listed here start off as low as $0 if you enroll in an online learning platform with a free trial or free course materials. Alternatively, if you choose to enroll in a class with a traditional educational institution, such as a college or university, the cost can exceed $1,000.

Methodology

We know how important it is to find reliable online classes, so we researched more than 30 different sites offering online bookkeeping classes, from educational institutions to online learning platforms. We considered the reputations of the institutions offering the courses as well as those of the instructors. We also examined the types and costs of class materials, the availability of in-person support, and the success rates of students.

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (10)

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy.

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Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024 (2024)

FAQs

Which bookkeeping course is the best? ›

Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of 2024
  • Best for Discounts: Udemy.
  • Best for Self-Paced Education: Financial Edge.
  • Best for Small Businesses: Coursera.
  • Best for University Education: Harvard Business School.
  • Best for a Career in Bookkeeping: Penn Foster College.
  • Best for Certification: U.S. Career Institute.

What is the most recognized bookkeeping qualification? ›

ICB graduates are recognised worldwide by the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB); the International Association of Accounting Professionals (IAAP); the Southern African Institute of Business Accountants (SAIBA); the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners (SAIT); the Association of Chartered Certified ...

What is the easiest way to learn bookkeeping? ›

Use a Bookkeeping App: The best way to learn is to get hands-on in your own time and use a bookkeeping app that's both easy to use and understand. No formal degrees, no qualifications. Just look for one that has useful features you'll need and not packed full of ones you'll probably never use.

Can I learn bookkeeping online for free? ›

Alison. Course Description: Alison offers a variety of free online bookkeeping courses spanning multiple financial topics. You can select courses in subjects such as business accounting, effective bookkeeping and payroll, the trial balance and double entry and accounting.

What is the hardest part of bookkeeping? ›

Tax compliance is one of the most stressful bookkeeping challenges small businesses face.

What is the highest paid bookkeeper? ›

The best Bookkeeper jobs can pay up to $73,000 per year.

A typical day for a Bookkeeper may include entering financial transactions, checking the records for accuracy in figures, and preparing bank deposits. A Bookkeeper will also spend time reconciling and checking reports for accuracy.

Is it worth becoming a certified bookkeeper? ›

While you can get started with an entry-level bookkeeping job without any certification, certificates can help you get higher-paying jobs. The average salary for a certified bookkeeper is around $55,000 per year, and the average salary for a non-certified bookkeeper is around $45,000 per year.

What certifications should a bookkeeper have? ›

The NACPB offers a certified bookkeeping professional (CPB) designation, and AIPB confers a certified bookkeeper (CB) license. Both certifications have similar requirements. Candidates must take a four-part multiple-choice test and agree to follow a code of conduct.

Is the Certified Bookkeeper exam difficult? ›

The bookkeeping certification exam should be considered very difficult. While it's certainly not as difficult as the certified public accountant (CPA) exam, candidates should be sure to prepare as much as possible.

Can I be a self-taught bookkeeper? ›

You may be able to get on-the-job training through a bookkeeping job that only requires a high school diploma, such as an internship or training placement. You may also pursue certification programs or use online courses to become a self-taught bookkeeper.

Can I teach myself to be a bookkeeper? ›

They might also use online courses, books or seminars to learn the basics of practical finance. Self-taught bookkeepers often acquire the skills they need without direct training and instead learn while on the job. Most employers can train an entry-level bookkeeper in six months or less.

Can I study bookkeeping online? ›

Many choose to study bookkeeping online to gain necessary understanding and practical abilities to perform essential bookkeeping tasks accurately and efficiently.

Is Intuit Academy worth it? ›

If you're interested in starting or advancing your career in bookkeeping, the Intuit Academy Bookkeeping Professional Certificate program is an excellent option to consider. This comprehensive program is designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the world of bookkeeping.

How long does it take to learn bookkeeping? ›

Although you certainly can do formal bookkeeping training (e.g., online bookkeeping courses, relevant degree), many bookkeepers simply learn the ropes through on-the-job training. It usually takes about six months of practice to get the hang of it.

How do I start bookkeeping for beginners? ›

How to do bookkeeping for a small business
  1. Set up accounting software. ...
  2. Choose an entry system. ...
  3. Choose an accounting method. ...
  4. Manage transactions. ...
  5. Handle accounts receivable and payable. ...
  6. Set up payroll. ...
  7. Coordinate with a tax specialist. ...
  8. Manage financial statements and documents.
Jul 21, 2023

Are bookkeeping courses worth it? ›

Bookkeepers are an integral part of any business. They typically manage a company's financial accounts and maintain accurate records. Whether you're interested in working as a bookkeeper or would like to learn about fundamental bookkeeping processes, a bookkeeping certification can be a worthwhile credential to earn.

Can I learn bookkeeping on my own? ›

Self-taught bookkeepers use a variety of courses, seminars, books, and other online resources to learn about bookkeeping and accounting. You can also learn how to use accounting software, like QuickBooks, which can teach you about the basics of bookkeeping as well as the technology used by many businesses.

What pays more accounting or bookkeeping? ›

Salaries are typically based on education, certification, years of experience, credentials, industry or employer, job description, location, and complexity of work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2021, the national average salary for bookkeepers was $45,560 and for accountants was $77,250.

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