ARTICLE TABLE OF CONTENTS
Small business owners need to have an efficient and effective way to manage their business’s financials. When the company is smaller, even a soloentrepreneur, there is still value in balancing the books, managing expenses, and maintaining records for tax purposes. Yet, it may not be financially beneficial to hire a professional to manage this process just yet. That is why many business owners benefit from taking a small business accounting course.
What Is a Small Business Accounting Course?
This type of course helps to provide the basics and fundamentals of managing business financials. It may include learning how to track expenses, managing payments, and track invoices. It may also provide a wide range of insights to help business owners create a stronger profit margin by allowing them more insight into the expenses related.
You will find a wide range of options available to you to learn these fundamentals. That includes online accounting and bookkeeping courses. You may be able to complete them over time, as you have time while managing your business. You may find a free small business accounting course as well. Free courses may not provide everything you need, but they are a solid option for those just starting out.
Accounting Courses Comparison Chart
How can we help you?
We’ve taken the time to find some of the best small business accounting courses online and have provided them here to you. Take a closer look at some of the best options you’ll find available and a detailed comparison below.
Accounting Coach is an excellent choice for those who want to learn the basics of bookkeeping. Like most of the small business accounting courses online, they do not provide everything in one place. However, this is a free small business accounting course. That makes it a good place to start when it comes to learning. Students will receive a certification of achievement if they finish the program. The costs are moderate to low at $49 to $99 for the more advanced course.
The materials and the course itself are free. However, some may wish to upgrade for the fee. That may provide more enhanced learning options. That includes assessments and video tutorials.
The Accounting Coach program teaches a great deal. Some of the topics a student may learn in the basic course includes:
• Reading financial statements
• Creating financial statements
• Accounting basics
The advanced course also teaches:
• Cash flow statements
• Payroll set up and management
• Adjusting entries
• Debit and credit transaction management
• Balance sheets
Overall, for those who are just starting out, this particular program can be beneficial overall, either for a starter course or a more advanced program for those who take the paid version.
Believe it or not, LinkedIn is one of the best resources for small business education overall. In their goal to help educate small business owners, they offer a range of courses that may be beneficial for establishing the company, marketing, and accounting. Specifically, check out Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping. This course is provided by LinkedIn Learning. It offers a short educational track to teach the basics of bookkeeping and accounting. It only takes a few hours to complete, too.
This program is a good option for those who are beginners looking for a simple way to get basic information. It’s all done online, which means you can use a tablet computer, laptop, or even a smartphone to work through the materials. To access the program, users must sign up for a LinkedIn account if they do not already have one. Then, there is a one time fee of $34.99, or a monthly payment required. However, this provides users with access to a wide range of courses associated with business ownership. Annual memberships may be available as well.
The LinkedIn Learning program provides a range of topics, including:
• How bookkeeping works
• How to create journal entries
• Financial statement breakdowns
• Managing expenses and income
• Tracking costs and invoices
For those who want to learn the fundamentals of accounting, this tends to be a very good choice to go with, but it also opens the door to other courses with more information as well.
For a small fee of $24.99, small business owners may enroll in the Introduction to Small Business Accounting Training Tutorial. This course takes about three hours in total to complete – you can do it at your own pace. However, it packs a lot into that time. That includes video lessons, a glossary of terms associated with accounting, and tests. The program is set up like a traditional classroom training session. It aims to provide a foundation for accounting. This course goes further than your typically bookkeeping course, which is best for those who really want to get their business’s accounting set up properly.
Students do not need any prerequisite information or training. Even those who have no clue where to get started will find this is an option. Some of what you may learn in this course includes:
• Accounts payable setup and use
• Accounts receivable setup and use
• Liability and equity accounts
• Income and expense accounts
• Financial statements
This Udemy course comes with a money-back guarantee. It is packed with information and set in a traditional educational format. For many business owners, this is a good starting point. Users of the course state it’s easy to use and offers the right amount of information to get them started.
Another free small business accounting course is Bean Counter. Yes, the name is a bit unique, but it is a fun and easy tutorial to get you started in setting up bookkeeping for your business. Most users will find it to be easy to follow and the best place to start (even if math is just not your thing). This is a basic bookkeeping and accounting training program. It really helps with learning the basics and retaining the information due to the wide range of topics included.
A nice feature of Bean Counter is that it is interactive. That makes it easier for some to learn complex topics. It uses a lot of simple tools to do this. That includes fun flashcards, quizzes, but informative lectures and lessons, too. Students will learn the ins and outs of bookkeeping and the basics of accounting. Some of the content learned in this course includes:
• Accounting analysis
• Interpreting financial information
• Financial reporting
• Keeping track of income and expenses
The course is best for owners and managers of companies who want to get started or new a refresher in accounting basis. It can also be helpful to those who are just getting started with bookkeeping software and need some help with the overall terminology.
Coursera offers an excellent small business owner accounting course. (Coursera offers a lot of small business courses from multiple providers). One of the best we’ve found is Financial Accounting Fundamentals taught by Luanna J. Lynch. It was developed as a component of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. The faculty teaching it are some of the best in the educational field.
There are a few key reasons we like this one. First, the information is there. You will learn what you need to in order to set up accounting for your business. In addition to this, the courses are taught with your time in mind. They are concise videos you can complete on your own time at your own pace. There is a possibility for those who want to earn a certificate upon completion. However, for those who own a small business, this course is packed with valuable information.
It takes about 14 hours to complete. It is the first course in the Entrepreneurship: Growing Your Business Specialization program, but you do not need to sign up for or complete the entire program to take this accounting course. There is ample to learn here, including:
• Using a journal to record entries
• Using t-accounts to summarize transaction recording
• Preparing financial statements based on transactions
• Types of financial statements and how they work
• How to draw basic conclusions from the financial records
• Balance sheet creation and management
Those who took this course found it to be packed with solid information. It is easy to follow and offers good insight into small business accounting specifically
You don’t need a stellar GPA to get into this program. The Harvard Business School program provides students with a range of information to help business owners establish good accounting practices. This course takes 60 hours of course material completed over a period of 8 weeks. It is a much more professional course (think college level studies) but can be done at your own pace to some degree. There may be some regular deadlines to meet, though.
This program costs about $1600 to complete. As noted, it is going to provide a better level of education for students. The course packs in the information with content such as the following:
• Balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement creation and understanding how to use them
• Evaluation of financial health from financial statements
• Valuing venture, project, or investment opportunity based on the financial status of the company (great for companies considering expansion)
• Understanding IFRS and GAAP standards
• Evaluating financial forecasts for companies (and creating them as well)
This is a more formal course. It costs a significant amount more than most others. However, it offers some outstanding benefits to those who want to implement a strong accounting program into their business. It may also help students who wish to purchase an education in this field.
A wide range of opportunities exists for small business accounting courses through colleges and universities. However, there are a few key advantages to Northwestern University’s program. The Online Fundamentals of Accounting Certificate program is worth taking for most people (whether pursuing a certificate or not). It is available to those who have a bachelor’s degree but have not completed any accounting courses before now and want to do so. The courses are designed to be easily accessible (you do not need a lot of pre-education in the field.)
The online course is a good way to continue education or advance skills to apply to a business setup. This course does not provide everything a person needs for completing their CPA exam, but it offers fundamentals business owners can apply directly. Costs are a bit high at $2054 plus fees. There are four total classes as a component of this course. The course is fully online, but prerequisites may be required.
Students may learn:
• Financial accounting processes
• Managerial accounting processes
• Activity based costing systems
• Financial statements and annual reports
• Taxation beginning material
• Fundamentals of accounting
A more expensive course with requirements, this one may be best suited for those who are interested in studying the field in-depth. It may provide a higher level of education than other programs
Becoming a bookkeeping professional, or at least learning the skills to be one, is in every business owner or manager’s best interest. The International Career Institute’s bookkeeping course is a solid place to start. The course costs $1599 with financing options. The course takes 24 weeks to complete. However, students learn at their own pace, giving you ample time and flexibility to learn what you need to in order to do well in this type of program. There are no strict assignment deadlines.
This is a fully online program. However, there is help available to students who need it from professors and other students. The course comes with all necessary study materials and courses, assignment projects with tutor feedback upon completion, and a tutor who assists throughout the process. Some of the topics learned in the program include:
• Establishing and maintaining a cash accounting system
• Carrying out business activity and installment activity statement tasks
• Communication in the workplace related to financials
• Technology for bookkeeping and accounting
• Maintaining asset and inventory records
• Preparing financial statements
Whether you wish to focus your career on accounting or just need to boost your skills for your own business, this course is a good option. It is also beneficial for those who plan to go on to more advanced accounting courses.
The Accounting Essentials Certificate program from Penn Foster offers hands-on skill development but is done completely online. It can help students taking their first step towards accounting by providing financial skills, terminology support, and practical application tools.
One of the nice features about Penn Foster is its easy to use setup. It’s designed to keep content available in short bursts of information. That way, you do not feel overwhelmed by it. You can move through the educational material at your own pace. However, it uses a familiar style with easy study tools, like flashcards and interactive lessons. This is an accredited program designed to fit an academic learning path for those who want to become accountants or bookkeepers but also provides a very even level of education for business owners too.
This program costs under $900 to complete at the lowest price.
Students will learn:
• Financial accounting fundamentals
• Managerial accounting
• Accounting tasks and strategies
• Entry level tax education
• Financial statement analysis
There are discounts often available for this program. It may be the ideal choice for students who want to learn at their own pace and want a very formal experience.
Recognized for its quality content, the Alison.com Introduction to Business Accounting program is an excellent choice. It takes about 6 to 10 hours to complete and has been taken by thousands of people. This is a free online business accounting course. It does not take away from the quality of a paid program, though. You will find it is a very professional, even keel program with solid information.
The course provides students with the basics of accounting for business operation. It is quite focused on teaching concepts that are applicable to the business owner today. Students may be able to obtain certification for the program over the long term. The content provided is modern and up to date, which is better than some programs that are quite dated overall. Some of the topics include:
• Financial statements
• Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
• Double entry systems and transactions
• The purpose of the adjusting processes
• Adjusted entries
• Preparing a worksheet
• Income statements (and much more)
This program is quite in-depth. That makes it a good option for those who are looking for quality education that they can take over a period of time as they have that time while running their business. Keep in mind that there are other Alison.com courses that may offer insights into specifics such as setting up bookkeeping and accounting methods and business management programs.
How to Choose a Small Business Accounting Course
Now that you have a few options to consider (and there are a lot more out there), it is important to know how to choose one over the other. The good news is you have a lot of options. However, there are a few key things to remember before you invest your money or time into these programs. Not all are created equal and may not provide you with the very best level of information for the time and monetary investment you make.
Some key things to know about any of these online accounting and bookkeeping courses include:
Specific for Business Owners: Be sure to choose a course that’s going to provide hands-on training that applies to your business model. It may be necessary to compare a few courses carefully. Don’t overlook those courses meant for furthering education, though or those that are a part of a larger program. Most likely, the education is going to be applicable to any business management style.
Invest in a Reputable Program: Take the time to get to know not only the course but the professor or educator. Look into the actual provider of the course, too. Be sure the information is accurate and up to date. You also want to be sure it applies to where you live. Some accounting principles are versatile and globally accepted, but others are not. This may play a role in your choices.
Bookkeeping and Accounting Differ: Most business owners should start with a bookkeeping course. It will provide the basics of getting your books set up and organizing accounting data. It may also provide the fundamentals of tracking invoices, payments, and expenses. Over time, you’ll benefit from an accounting course. It will dive deeper into the topic and provide more hands-on accounting skills such as creating statements, income reports, and analysis. That’s especially important as your business grows and you hope to expand.
Look for Software Training: Sometimes, small business accounting should start with the foundation of how you plan to put your accounting into place. For example, if you plan to use QuickBooks take a course provided by that organization. It will give you specific skills necessary to use the software while also teaching some of the fundamentals of managing your business.
Choose the Format Best for You: This will range from one to the next. Some people benefit from a traditional college class set up. Others do better with more interaction and fewer lectures. Also, consider how you need to learn – self paced or with set times to meet with professors and attend lectures? Self-paced programs can be beneficial to those who need more flexibility but times programs can keep you focused on the goal.
Online bookkeeping and accounting courses are out there to help you pull your business into place. Compare a few to determine which one can provide you with the right level of information as well as the type of terms and resources you need for your type of business.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that the content of this post is not intended as tax, accounting or legal advice. The information presented here is for informational and educational purposes only. Before engaging in any transaction, be sure to discuss these matters with a trained, licensed professional.