Bookkeepers are an essential part of every business. Tasked with maintaining accurate financial records For their clients or employers. Depending on the nature of the position bookkeepers can be expected to receive payments from clients, customers, or other companies, record all transactions in the business’s financial ledger and make deposits for the business at the relevant banks or financial institutions.
As the overseer of company finances, bookkeepers are people who value accuracy, exhibit extraordinary attention to detail and possess the ability to communicate clearly with everyone from the CEO to department heads to individual employees or customers.
As a bookkeeper you can choose to work for a single company where you help manage one set of financial records, this is typically larger companies with diverse revenue streams.
Some bookkeepers choose to work for an agency where they help to manage the finances of several smaller businesses that may not need a full-time bookkeeper. Many bookkeepers choose the freelance route were they work with individual clients one on one so they can choose the number of companies they work for and are better able to set their own schedule.
Can I be a bookkeeper without a degree?
Unlike finance-related jobs like accountants, auditors, and actuaries, bookkeepers do not require a bachelor’s degree or advanced certification, in fact, you can become a bookkeeper without any type of formal or post-secondary education.
Generally speaking, bookkeepers must hold a high school diploma in order to qualify for a position in the field. However, in more competitive markets some firms may require additional training, such as independent bookkeeping classes, certifications, or some documented post-secondary classes. Higher profile employers may even prefer courses and certifications in a particular aspect of bookkeeping that applies to their business.
To better your odds of landing the job you’re after, some type of bookkeeping training, bookkeeping certificate or skill-building course are a major plus. To find a training course that fits your schedule and budget.
The list below consists of several courses that you can take for free to see if bookkeeping might be a career choice for you to courses with certificates of completion and Advance training courses to become certified by one of the professional bookkeeping organizations like National Bookkeepers Association, American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, or the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers
Certified bookkeeper salary
Certified bookkeepers can expect a median salary of $40,240.00, but this number may vary depending on market location and number of clients. Freelance bookkeepers have the opportunity to make higher salaries, as they can choose to take on more clients; bookkeepers that are employed by a single company or organization may be limited in earning potential but may receive other benefits, such as employer-subsidized healthcare, vacation days, sick days, bonuses, and retirement.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, bookkeeping is a Bright Outlook Occupation that is expected to grow more than 5% and projected to add more than a hundred thousand additional job openings by 2029.
14 Online Bookkeeping Courses Free and Paid
Created by a seasoned CPA with over 25 years of experience in the field of accounting, AccountingCoach’s mission is to make world-class bookkeeping and accounting materials accessible for students across the globe by offering all core learning materials at no cost.
A very in-depth resource for learning all things bookkeeping, accounting, and financial management, AccountingCoach can be tailored to your learning needs, allowing you to dive deep into financial subjects or fine-tune new bookkeeping skills. Specifically, this self-directed, self-paced course offers 24/7 access to common industry concepts and definitions, the answers to more than 1,100 common accounting questions, quizzes with immediate feedback, and puzzles for an innovative approach to different learning styles.
While all core materials at AccountingCoach are free, they have PRO and PRO Plus subscriptions available that provide access to enhanced learning materials. For a one time fee of $49, PRO subscribers receive lifetime access to seminar videos, cheat sheets, flashcards, visual tutorials, additional coaching, business forms, and process tracking.
For a one time fee of $99, PRO Plus subscribers receive lifetime access to all materials, as well as the ability to earn AccountingCoach certificates in a variety of courses, including Adjusting Entries, Financial Statements, Bank Reconciliation, and Payroll accounting.
For more information, visit https://www.accountingcoach.com/
2. Alison – Professional Bookkeeping and Accounting 1
As an entry-level program designed to provide you with essential knowledge in the realm of sales and purchases transactions, Alison’s Professional Bookkeeping and Accounting course was created by a seasoned CPA as a free online resource to share fundamental industry knowledge and help new bookkeepers refine their skills.
Specifically, this course will equip you to handle, read, and prepare sales and purchasing invoices with sales taxes and with or without discounts. Requiring 2-3 hours of study and mobile-friendly, this course is perfect for working professionals with limited time or those interested in learning more about bookkeeping in general.
Plus, Alison’s course is accredited by the Continuing Professional Development certification service (UK) and offers a downloadable certificate upon completion.
For more information, visit https://alison.com/course/professional-bookkeeping-and-accounting-1-sales-and-purchases
3. edX – Introduction To Bookkeeping
Offered by edX, an open-access, online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT, this free introductory course is self-paced and is expected to require around 5-8 hours of committed study time per week for around 6 weeks to complete.
Created by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), this course is designed to help newcomers to the field master the fundamentals needed to begin a successful career as a bookkeeper or an accountant.
Specifically, this course will guide you through the basic types of business transactions and documentation, banking processes, payroll processes, ledger accounts, trial balance, sales and purchases credits, reconciliations, the double-entry system, and record-keeping for the most common types of business transactions in modern accounting.
While this course does not offer the option to earn an edX certificate, it will help prepare you for the ACCA’s exam in Recording Financial Transactions (FAI), which does provide a professional certificate if successfully completed.
For more information, visit https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-bookkeeping-2
4. edX – Intermediate Bookkeeping
Once you’re confident that bookkeeping is the right career path for you, you can advance to edX’s Intermediate Bookkeeping course. Building directly upon the concepts and information learned in Introduction to Bookkeeping, and is intended for “anyone who is just starting out on their business, finance or accountancy journey and wants to expand their accounting and finance skills.”
Also created by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, this course will help guide you through the more advanced finance and accountancy skills, including how to prepare a wide range of financial statements.
While this course does not offer the option to earn an edX certificate, it does help prepare you for the ACCA’s exam in Maintaining Financial Records (FA2) and prepares you for a lucrative position as an accounting administrator or bookkeeper.
For more information, visit https://www.edx.org/course/intermediate-bookkeeping-2
5. OpenLearn – Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting
Another free, open-access course, OpenLearn’s Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting is a great option if you’re looking to test the waters and see if bookkeeping is the right career path for you. Requiring about 8 hours of study to complete, this course does not offer a certificate, but does offer a free statement of participation upon completion, as well as a digital badge to add to your resume or LinkedIn page.
Specifically, this course will guide you through the essential numerical skills required for bookkeeping and accounting, including the relationship between the accounting equation and double-entry bookkeeping, recording transactions appropriately using this double-entry system, preparing trial balances, balance sheets, and profit-loss accounts, and balancing ledger accounts at end of an accounting period.
For more information, visit https://www.open.edu/openlearn/money-business/introduction-bookkeeping-and-accounting
6. Udemy – Bookkeeping Basics #1: Understand the Fundamentals
Touted as the ultimate course for beginners, Udemy’s Bookkeeping Basics course description insists that, “As long as you know how to add and subtract (or can use a calculator!), you’re ready to begin!” This 4.5-hour course offers over 50 video lessons that can be accessed on your computer, tv, or smartphone and includes downloaded resources and full lifetime access so that you can always brush up on your bookkeeping skills.
Specifically, this course guides you through the different types of business expenses, identifying and tracking income, assets, liabilities, and equity, accounts receivable and accounts payable, reading financial reports, transactions, charts of accounts, and the fundamental financial equation.
Additionally, Udemy’s course covers common bookkeeping concerns, such as tracking mileage, credit terms, shipping and freight, trade discounts, as well as providing you with an array of helpful tips for good bookkeeping. Plus, this course teaches “the language of accounting”, so that you feel confident interacting with employers, investors, and vendors! Udemy’s course offers an accompanying certificate and costs around $80 — but check back frequently for discounts or special offers.
For more information, visit https://www.udemy.com/course/bookkeeping-basics/
7. Udemy – Bookkeeping: Step by Step Mastery
In contrast to many other bookkeeping courses available online, Udemy’s Bookkeeping: Step by Step Mastery course focuses on manual bookkeeping rather than computer-based bookkeeping, asserting that the foundational skills of manual bookkeeping are essential to understanding accounting processes and translate easily to bookkeeping software.
As with Udemy’s other courses, this training can be accessed on your computer, tv or smartphone and includes downloaded resources and full lifetime access so that you revisit your training at any time. Specifically, this course guides you through the basics of debits and credits, purchase day books, purchase returns day books, purchase ledgers, sales day books, sales returns day books, sales ledgers, cash books, petty cash books, and how to correctly make entries into each.
Additionally, Udemy’s course teaches you how to reconcile bank accounts, handle a nominal ledger, create a trial balance, and produce year end accounts such as balance sheets and profit-loss accounts. This 6 hours course offers 10 additional downloadable resources and an accompanying certificate and costs around $40 — but check back frequently as Udemy often offers discounted course rates.
For more information, visit https://www.udemy.com/course/manual-bookkeeping-step-by-step-mastery/
8. Udemy – How to Start a Bookkeeping Business
More expensive than either the Udemy’s, Bookkeeping, or Bookkeeping Basics courses, How to Start a Bookkeeping Business goes beyond the basics of accounting to provide essential insights into how to start and operate your own lucrative bookkeeping business.
This self-paced course features 2 hours of on-demand video and 6 downloadable resources; as with Udemy’s other courses, this training can be accessed on your computer, tv, or smartphone and includes downloaded resources and full lifetime access so that you revisit your training at any time.
Specifically, this course details the ins and outs of a bookkeeping business, including how to start, run and operate your own business, locating and onboarding new clients, pricing prospective clients, client meetings and communication, and providing exceptional value to your customers while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Additionally, Udemy’s course provides essential templates, such as workflow checklists and engagement letters, to help your new business grow and succeed. Priced at around $130, this certificate course may seem pricey, but Udemy frequently runs sales and special offers, so keep your eyes open for good deals.
For more information, visit https://www.udemy.com/course/learn-how-to-start-your-own-profitable-bookkeeping-business/
9. LinkedIn Learning – Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping
Hosted by LinkedIn Learning, a proprietary system that allows users to learn new skills then showcase those skills for employers on their LinkedIn profile, Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping is a beginner-level course created to guide you through the bookkeeping process.
Specifically, this course takes you through a step-by-step explanation of the bookkeeping process by highlighting four key concepts: how to analyze transactions, record the effects of those transactions, summarize the effects, and prepare accurate financial reports.
Additionally, the LinkedIn Learning course offers succinct explanations of the role of computer programs in bookkeeping and financial management, how accountants translate ledger information into financial information, the foundational components of journal entries, such as debits and credits, and how bookkeepers effectively review these documents.
Offering a certificate that can be easily applied to your LinkedIn profile, this course costs around $35, but can be accessed through a one month free trial if you’re not ready to commit. Additionally, companies or organizations looking to grow their employee skill based can purchase this course, or others, for their employees.
For more information, visit https://www.linkedin.com/learning/accounting-foundations-bookkeeping-2/.
10. Skillshare – Beginner Bookkeeping: How to Handle Your Finances
Billed as a beginner course for those new to the field of bookkeeping, Skillshare’s Beginner Bookkeeping course is ideal for those looking to start a career in bookkeeping or those looking to expand existing skills to become freelancers or business owners.
As a site for creatives, professionals, and entrepreneurs to come together to share their expertise, Skillshare offers thousands of free courses through their basic membership. Specifically, this course details the ins and outs of finances and bookkeeping, including why bookkeeping matters, personal vs business expenses, single-entry bookkeeping, categorizing transactions and document organization systems.
Plus, Skillshare’s unique format includes both short lessons and hands-on activities for visual and kinesthetic learners! To access this course you’ll need a Premium Skillshare membership, which costs $8.25 per month or $99 annually. If you’re not sure Skillshare Premium is for you, sign up for their 2-week free trial.
For more information, visit https://www.skillshare.com
11. Skillshare – Bookkeeping Boot Camp: Identifying Business Expenses
Another offering for those with a Premium subscription, Skillshare’s Bookkeeping Boot Camp builds upon the foundational knowledge gained through the Beginner Bookkeeping course to further delve into the business side of bookkeeping.
The first of a 5-part series aimed at those seeking to become professional bookkeepers or accountants, this course consists of 40 minutes of on-demand instruction covering a variety of essential bookkeeping concepts, including tracking business expenses, tax exemptions for businesses, capital expenses, assets, liabilities, equity, income, charts of accounts.
Additionally, Bookkeeping Boot Camp even offers sample business expenses and provides users with the opportunity for hands-on learning through a project to create your own chart of accounts. Just like with other Premium courses, you’ll need a Skillshare Premium membership to access this course or sign-up for a two-week free trial.
For more information, visit https://www.skillshare.com
12. Penn Foster College – Online Bookkeeping Program
For those serious about their future career in bookkeeping, Penn Foster College offers a Bookkeeping Career Diploma program whose express goal is to “prepare graduates for an entry-level career as a Bookkeeper via distance learning courses.”
This program, which consists of 8 separate courses, is designed to give you a thorough knowledge of all the skills needed to excel in the financial sector, including the basics of bookkeeping journals and ledgers, revenue, expenses, assets, liabilities, and more. This completely online, self-paced program includes courses in:
- Orientation to Bookkeeping
- Assets, Liabilities, and Owner’s Equity
- Revenue, Expenses, and Financial Reports
- Payroll and Wholesale Accounting
- End of Month Accounting
- Excel for Bookkeeping
- Computer Applications in Accounting – Quickbooks
- Bookkeeping Project
Tuition for the entire program runs from $669-$875, depending on the method of payment, and includes study materials, interactive student content, mobile-friendly coursework, unlimited student support, and career services.
For more information, visit https://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/accounting-and-finance/bookkeeping-career-diploma
13. Coursera – Financial Accounting Fundamentals
Hosted by Coursera, an online learning platform offering flexible, affordable learning in a range of subjects, and created by the University of Virginia, the Financial Accounting Fundamentals course is geared towards beginners with no prior experience in accounting, bookkeeping, or financial management.
Boasting flexible deadlines to work with your schedule, this course is 100% online and taught by top-ranked faculty. Specifically, this course will equip you with the knowledge to draw basic conclusions about a company’s financial health by teaching you how to record transactions, prepare and use t-accounts, assess commonly used financial statements and prepare these statements for a predetermined accounting period.
Most importantly, this Coursera training has proven career outcomes, as 40% of learners started a new career after completing these courses, 38% of learners got a tangible career benefit from this course, and 21% got a pay increase or promotion.
The first of a 4-part entrepreneurship series, this free course requires a commitment of around 14 hours to complete and offers an accompanying certificate that can be downloaded or displayed on your LinkedIn profile.
For more information, visit https://www.coursera.org/learn/uva-darden-financial-accounting?action=enroll.
14. U.S. Career Institute – Accounting Degree Program
When a certificate simply isn’t enough, U.S. Career Institute offers a fully online Associate Degree in accounting that can prepare you for even the most competitive bookkeeping jobs. A comprehensive 16-month program, U.S. Career Institute’s Accounting degree costs between $1,689-$1,969 depending on financing options and includes access to textbooks and supplements, instructor assistance, and career support services.
Specifically, this degree program offers courses in applied business math, business communications, finance, managerial accounting, tax preparation, and entrepreneurship.
When you’re ready to take your career to the next level find more information at https://www.uscareerinstitute.edu/online-accounting-associate-degree
By Bryan Greene