30 Great Free Online Courses for Accountants

Whether you are looking to boost your career by adding to your educational resumé, or are simply interested in acquiring a new skill or two, taking part in free accounting courses online is a great way to improve yourself. Colleges and universities from all over the world have adapted their classes to an online model, and thanks to websites like Coursera and edX, many of those courses are available free to anyone from anywhere in the world. That means you can study interest rate models, accounting ethics, and basic bookkeeping on your preferred schedule. Though dozens of online accounting classes are available, we’ve got the rundown on 30 of the best online courses for accountants.

Accounting Analysis II: Accounting for Liabilities and Equity

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Skill Level: Intermediate
Though it’s technically the fourth in a five-course series of online accounting classes from University of Illinois, “Accounting Analysis II” is perfect as a standalone course, too. The class focuses on:

  • recognition, measurement, and accounting for equity
  • pensions
  • cash flows
  • share-based compensation

The course is 100% online, has flexible deadlines, and takes approximately 27 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Accounting Analytics

Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania

Skill Level: Mixed
Imagine taking a class from the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for free, from anywhere in the world you happen to be! Thanks to Coursera, such a thing is indeed possible. In “Accounting Analytics,” students will explore the ways financial statement data and non-financial metrics can be linked to financial performance. Topics covered include:

  • ratios and forecasting big data and prediction models,
  • earnings management.

The course takes about 14 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Accounting and Finance for IT Professionals

Indian School of Business

Skill Level: Beginner
For the IT professional who wants or needs to learn accounting online, there is this course from the Indian School of Business via Coursera. “Accounting and Finance for IT Professionals” works through the basics of finance and financial accounting. Topics covered include:

  • understanding important financial statements
  • examining the financial health of companies
  • important finance concepts like time value of money, capital budgeting, and cash flows.
    Online Course Website 

Accounting, Business, and Society: The Multi-Faceted Role of Accounting

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Skill Level: Beginner
“Accounting, Business, and Society: The Multi-Faceted Role of Accounting” is a free online course for accountants offered by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Ideal for beginners, the course takes around five hours to complete. Upon completion, course participants will be able to describe the ways in which the accounting profession can:

  • serve information needs
  • demonstrate the ethical behavior of businesses and professionals
  • identify good and bad business practices, among other skills.
    Online Course Website

Accounting Data Analytics with Python

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Skill Level: Intermediate
University of Illinois’ “Accounting Data Analytics with Python” is an ideal course for anyone in accounting who’s looking to acquire a new skill. The focus of this free online accounting course is to develop Python skills for the purpose of assembling business data. Upon completing the class, students will know how to :

  • operate software that will help them create and run Python code
  • be able to execute Python code for wrangling data from different structures
  • run and interpret fundamental data analytic tasks in Python.
    Online Course Website 

Accounting for Decision-Making

Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

Skill Level: Intermediate
“Accounting for Decision-Making” is a free online accounting course designed especially for business managers. After all, managers must have an understanding of basic accounting information to effectively do their job. Over the course of this seven-week class, participants will learn to:

  • read and understand financial statements
  • practice managing costs using cost analysis, budgeting, budgeting control, and product costing.
    Online Course Website 

Advanced Financial Reporting: Accounting for Business Combinations and Preparation of Consolidated Financial Statements

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Skill Level: Advanced
Current accountants and/or those who already have a strong grasp on the principles of accounting are sure to benefit from this class. It’s offered by University of Illinois via Coursera. This advanced online accounting course covers accounting for business combinations and the preparation of consolidated financial statements. In the first part of this 28-hour course, students will discuss the scope of business combinations, and study the differences between business combinations and asset acquisitions. Next, students will explore the measurement and recognition principles of the acquisition method to account for business combinations.

Finally, students will study the consolidation process.
Online Course Website

Bayesian Statistics: From Concept to Data Analysis

University of California, Santa Cruz

Skill Level: Intermediate
Professor Herbert Lee of UC Santa Cruz teaches this free online accounting course on Bayesian Statistics. Over the course of the approximately 22-hour class, participants will cover:

  • Bayes’ Theorem and probability
  • statistical inference
  • models for discrete data and continuous data, among other things

“Bayesian Statistics” is 100% online and has flexible deadlines so you can work at your own pace.
Online Course Website

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology Explained

University of Michigan

Skill Level: Mixed
Successful accountants will stay up -to-date with anything related to finance. Right now “blockchain technology” and “cryptocurrency” are two big buzz words. This free online accounting course offered by University of Michigan via Future Learn explores blockchain technology and the current cryptocurrency market. Topics covered include:

  • an introduction to Fintech
  • blockchain as an asset
  • blockchain as a business, among other valuable things.
    Online Course Website

Excel Skills for Business: Essentials

Macquarie University

Skill Level: Beginner
Proficiency in Excel is a must for anyone working in the field of accounting. Whether you’re new to Excel or just need a brush up, this free online course offered by Macquarie University is worth your while. The flexible, beginner-level course takes about 19 hours to complete. By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • expertly navigate the Excel user interface
  • professionally format spreadsheets
  • create visualizations of data using charts and graphs
  • perform basic calculations with formulas and functions.
    Online Course Website 

Finance for Startups

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Skill Level: Intermediate
Finance is a key component of successful startups, yet too many entrepreneurs lack a basic understanding of finance. “Finance for Startups” is a free online accounting course available on Coursera. The intermediate-level course takes about 11 hours to complete. It covers topics such as:

  • balance sheets and income statements
  • cash flow
  • financial ratios
  • financial planning
  • company valuation methods.
    Online Course Website

Finance Fundamentals: Financial Planning and Budgeting

The Open University

Skill Level: Beginner
The first of two beginner-level “Finance Fundamentals” courses to make our list, “Financial Planning and Budgeting” guides participants through the task of bringing order to one’s finances. This free accounting course is available via Future Learn, and takes about 12 hours to complete.
Online Course Website

Finance Fundamentals: Managing the Household Balance Sheet

The Open University

Skill Level: Beginner
This free online accounting class from The Open University and Future Learn may be the perfect course for anyone seeking out a basic accounting course in order to better manage their household. The 12-hour course explores such household assets as:

Financial Accounting: Advanced Topics

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Skill Level: Mixed
Ideal for the accountant who wishes to top up their skillset or knowledge base, “Financial Accounting: Advanced Topics” is a free online course offered by University of Illinois via Coursera. The course begins by examining accounting for assets with more than one-year life. The course continues by delving into topics like:

  • how firms account for fixed assets
  • accounting for liabilities
  • shareholders’ equity

Impressively, 53% of students who have taken this course report that they gained a tangible career benefit from participating.
Online Course Website

Financial Accounting Fundamentals

University of Virginia

Skill Level: Beginner
“Financial Accounting Fundamentals” is a free online course for:

  • those beginning a new career in accounting
  • those with a passive interest in accounting
  • those looking to advance in their current field

Offered by the University of Virginia, this course uses videos, real financial records of small businesses, and applicable “Your Turn” activities to teach students the fundamentals of financial accounting. By the end of the 20-hour course, participants will be able to:

  • prepare t-accounts to summarize transactions
  • prepare financial statements
  • draw basic conclusions about a company’s financial health.
    Online Course Website

Financial Markets

Yale University

Skill Level: Beginner
This beginner-level course from Yale University is ideal for those looking for a basic accounting course online. According to Coursera, “Financial Markets” offers participants an overview of the ideas, methods, and institutions which allow society to manage risks and encourage enterprise. Topics covered over the course of the 37-hour class include:

  • behavioral finance
  • behavioral economics
  • financial markets
  • the real-world functioning of securities, insurance, and banking industries.
    Online Course Website

Financing Innovative Ventures

University of Maryland

Skill Level: Beginner
“Financing Innovative Ventures” is a four-week free online course in accounting offered by University of Maryland. Ideal for would-be entrepreneurs, the course provides the tools to help one:

  • discover the many financing options available to begin a new venture
  • learn the basics of finance as it applies to entrepreneurship
  • develop an understanding of capital structure, among other things.
    Online Course Website

Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination

West Virginia University

Skill Level: Mixed
No matter what your knowledge of accounting, you are sure to find this free online course from West Virginia University both helpful and fascinating. “Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination” begins by acknowledging that everyday around the world, thousands of businesses become the victims of fraud. Who commits these acts of fraud and why? Over the course of the 12-hour class, participants will obtain valuable insight. They will gain skills in:

  •  skills in fraud detection
  • internal control
  • fraud investigation
  • forensic accounting.
    Online Course Website

Interest Rate Models

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Skill Level: Advanced
Thanks to Coursera, accountants from anywhere on Earth can take a free course from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, a leading world university. “Interest Rate Models” is a free accounting course that offers an introduction to interest rates and related contracts. Bonds, swaps, caps, floors, interest rate futures, and more are all discussed. Students will have the opportunity to use real market data to practice estimating term structures. Units on stochastic interest rate models and interest rate derivatives are also included . At the end of this Coursera accounting class, students will be able to calibrate an interest rate model to market data, and to price interest rate derivatives.
Online Course Website

Intermediate Bookkeeping

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Skill Level: Beginner
“Intermediate Bookkeeping” is a free online bookkeeping course that will benefit anyone who is still new to accounting, finance, or starting a business. The course builds on the topics covered in “Introduction to Bookkeeping” (also highlighted on our list). It covers such topics as:

  • preparing financial statements
  • preparing for the Maintaining Financial Records exam
  • starting a career as a bookkeeper or accounting administrator.
    Online Course Website

Introduction to Accounting and Corporate Finance

The University of Manchester

Skill Level: Beginner
Whether you’re looking to transition to a career in finance, or seeking  additional information about financial management, we love this free online accounting course from The University of Manchester. “Introduction to Accounting and Corporate Finance” covers a variety of topics, including:

  • data analysis
  • the time value of money
  • quantitative methods
  • investment appraisal
  • net present value.
    Online Course Website 

Introduction to Bookkeeping

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Skill Level: Beginner
Offered by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, “Introduction to Bookkeeping” is ideal for anyone looking for a basic bookkeeping course. This free bookkeeping class covers everything one needs to know  to:

  • begin a career in business or accounting
  • launch one’s own start-up
  • prepare for the Recording Financial Transactions exam.
    Online Course Website 

Introduction to Financial Accounting

Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania

Skill Level: Mixed
In “Introduction to Financial Accounting,” course participants will spend about 17 hours covering topics such as:

  • important accounting terminology
  • financial statements
  • balance sheets, to name but a few

It available on Coursera as a free online class. This course is ideal for anyone new to accounting who wants or needs to master the technical skills necessary for analyzing financial statements.
Online Course Website

Long-term Financial Management

University of Maryland

Skill Level: Advanced
“Long-term Financial Management” is an ideal course for experienced accountants. This free accounting class covers:

  • capital budgeting
  • minimizing risk through long-term financial strategies
  • determining a corporation’s optimal capital structure
  • applying dividend policies to achieve goals.
    Online Course Website

Machine Learning for Accounting with Python

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Skill Level: Intermediate
“Machine Learning for Accounting with Python” is an excellent choice  for accountants wanting to expand their skillset. Offered by University of Illinois, this free online accounting course covers:

  • various machine learning algorithms
  • how to apply machine learning models on data sets using Python
  • evaluating machine learning models
  • optimizing machine learning models.
    Online Course Website

Management and Financial Accounting: Know Your Numbers 1

Macquarie University

Skill Level: Beginner
Australia-based Macquarie University has joined Coursera to offer its course “Management and Financial Accounting: Know Your Numbers 1.” This free online accounting class takes about six hours to complete. By the end of those six hours, course participants will have a sound foundational understanding of financial and management accounting, and the ways in which accounting principles can be applied to:

Maths Essentials

Imperial College London

Skill Level: Beginner
Need a course to help brush up on math skills? Imperial College London offers this helpful six-week online course for free via edX. The introductory-level math course covers myriad math topics one might need to succeed in business and/or in an MBA study. Topics covered include:

linear equations

evaluating and manipulating complex relationships

optimization problems, to name a few.
Online Course Website 

Nonprofit Financial Stewardship Webinar: Introduction to Accounting and Financial Statements

Harvard University

Skill Level: Beginner
Harvard University offers this free online accounting course. It’s a beginner-level, self-paced webinar. It offers those with little to no experience in finance or accounting with a basic introduction to accounting concepts and financial statements. The basics of risk management are also covered.
Online Course Website 

Public Sector Debt Statistics

International Monetary Fund

Skill Level: Intermediate
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) offers this free online accounting course via edX. Over the course of six weeks, participants will cover the fundamentals needed to understand public sector debt statistics that are used for making business- and policy-based decisions. Students will learn to:

  • define gross and net debt
  • explain the basic accounting principles that apply to public sector debt statistics
  • classify public sector debt positions according to the classifications outlined by the Public Sector Debt Statistics Guide.
    Online Course Website 

Understanding Financial Statements: Company Position

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Skill Level: Beginner
“Understanding Financial Statements” kicks off the free online series of Fundamentals of Accounting offered by University of Illinois via Coursera. In this flexible nine-hour class, participants will cover:

  • financial statements
  • balance sheets
  • accounting terminology

The course has been thoughtfully designed to provide a basic understanding of financial statements, especially the balance sheet.
Online Course Website 

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