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Open Online Courses in Accounting

What is Accounting?

Accounting is the practical application of tracking, reporting, auditing, and analyzing financial records. The process of accounting involves computing financial information for the purpose of understanding the financial position of a business or corporation. Accounting is generally divided into three subdisciplines: financial accounting, bookkeeping, and auditing. Financial accounting is concerned with preparing financial statements and reports to summarize the monetary condition of a business entity or corporation. These reports benefit outside individuals, such as stockholders, who have financial interest in the corporation. Bookkeeping involves recording all daily financial transactions and monetary activities within a business or organization, such as purchases, sales, and payments. Auditing is the process of carefully evaluating and verifying accounting records for accuracy, usually for tax purposes. Although you may find college accounting programs that focus on a particular area of accounting, the general theory behind all accounting subdisciplines involves analyzing numbers.

What Can Online Courses in Accounting Actually Teach Me?

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is an internationally recognized agency that accredits both business and accounting programs in almost 50 countries. If you are considering enrolling in a traditional or online accounting course of study, you should ensure that it is accredited by the AACSB. By choosing AACSB-accredited accounting courses, you can be sure that you will receive a top-notch education taught by highly qualified professionals with advanced experience in the industry. Accredited online accounting courses will provide you with a foundational understanding of the theories and practical application of accounting procedures. Because the study of accounting involves processing and analyzing numbers, online courses may be ideal if you are an independent learner. However, if you struggle with advanced mathematical computations and seek classroom interaction, a traditional courses may better suit you.

Online courses in accounting are a strong choice if you want to learn about computerized accounting, payroll accounting, invoicing, and the principles of finance. By taking these online courses, you can learn how to answer questions like:

  • How can a balance sheet help me determine a company’s assets and liabilities?
  • How can I audit financial records to ensure they are accurate?
  • How do I conduct double-entry bookkeeping?
  • How is payroll processed for a company?
  • How do I prepare and file tax returns for a business?

Before enrolling in an online accounting class, you should take the time to research which institutions are AACSB accredited. It is also important to make sure that your instructor holds a Ph.D in accounting or other closely related field and has work experience in the industry. Additionally, it may be wise to research reviews of other students who have already taken a particular course to determine if it would be a good fit.

Free Online Courses in Accounting From Around the Web

Below is an organized directory of open courseware in accounting you may find helpful. This courseware is a collection of video lectures, exams, and entire accounting courses from notable colleges and universities around the world. Although these materials and courses are free and may not offer all the amenities of a credit course, they provide insight into what university accounting courses are like.

Subjects

Accounting (12)

ACC 311: Fundamentals of AuditingVirtual University

Open Courseware

CPA (Certified Public Accountant), Auditing, Finance
Taught by: Mian Ahmad Farhan (ACA)

Course Description:

In this undergraduate fundamentals of auditing class, you will learn how to plan and implement financial audits as you examine the concepts of internal controls, statistical sampling and auditing and accounting standards. After taking this course, you will have an understanding of audit procedures including the nature, structure and purpose of an audit, the role of auditing within an organization, how to define audit samples and how to generate audit reports. Students taking this certified public accounting (CPA) online course should have a background in financial, cost or management accounting.

ACC 501: Business FinanceVirtual University

Open Courseware

Finance, Business
Taught by: Talat Afza

Course Description:

The study of business finance encompasses the concepts and principles that drive the financial decisions and activities of an organization. In this finance online course, you will learn how to evaluate the profitability of various types of capital investments, identify business funding sources and understand cash budgeting techniques. You will also examine key topics such as financial ratio analysis, time value of money and short- and long-term financing. This undergraduate course is open to students with backgrounds in accounting or finance.

FIN 622: Corporate FinanceVirtual University

Open Courseware

Finance, Business
Taught by: Muzaffar-ul-Haq Hashmi

Course Description:

This advanced undergraduate finance course will provide you with fundamental knowledge of key concepts associated with managing the fiscal operations of a business. Through this finance online course, you will explore how businesses use forecasting to make financial decisions, how financial ratios are used to assess a firm’s financial stability and how to evaluate the profitability of securities like stocks and bonds. Prerequisites for the course include completion of introductory and intermediate business finance, financial accounting and financial management courses.

FinanceKaplan University

Open Courseware

Financial Planning, Management

Course Description:

This financial planning online course will teach you accounting and asset management strategies used by businesses, both domestic and abroad. This course is open to both undergraduates and graduate students and there are no academic prerequisites, but you would benefit from a background in business administration. During the course, you will also explore tactics for marketing and human resource management. Additionally, you should have proficient math and algebra skills since you will be working with numbers.

Fundamentals of Personal Financial PlanningUniversity of California, Irvine

Open Courseware

Financial Planning, Business

Course Description:

This finance online course will introduce you to fundamental financial planning tools and programs that can help individuals and families better manage their finances. Specific topics covered in the course include risk management, wealth accumulation, investment options, and retirement and estate planning. This introductory personal finance course requires no prerequisites, as it is designed to introduce undergraduate students to a broad range of concepts related to defining and achieving financial goals.

Introduction to FinanceUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

Finance, Business
Taught by: Gautman Kaul

Course Description:

Published in 2012, this introductory finance course will provide you with basic knowledge of the principles of financial valuation and an understanding of the role finance plays in corporate and public policy. Key topics will include the concept of time value of money, the relationship between financing and average cost of capital, the role of risk management and the valuation of financial securities such as stocks and bonds. This undergraduate finance online course does not have any prerequisites, however, it is advised that students have an understanding of economics, accounting and algebra or statistics.

Management of Libraries and Information ServicesUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

Financial Management, Human Resources, Management
Taught by: Tiffany Veinot

Course Description:

This financial management online course will introduce you to the finer points of library and information archive management, specifically concerning accounting, marketing and stakeholder relations. This graduate-level course – published on August 24, 2009 – does not have any credit prerequisites, but you should be prepared to draft case study analysis papers that test your managerial, budgeting and human resourcing skills in five unique scenarios.

FIN 623: Taxation ManagementVirtual University

Open Courseware

CPA (Certified Public Accountant), Business, Finance, Tax
Taught by: Khalil Ahmad Rao

Course Description:

This taxation management class will introduce you the basic principles and implications of tax laws and taxation structure. Topics covered in this certified public accountant (CPA) online course include statutory definitions, tax credits and exemptions, sales tax and income tax returns. It should be noted that this course is an international course and the topics covered do not necessarily represent tax laws in the United States. This course is open to advanced undergraduate students with a background in financial accounting and financial management.

MGT 101: Financial AccountingVirtual University

Open Courseware

Finance, Accounting
Taught by: Mujahid Eshai

Course Description:

This introductory accounting course covers fundamental concepts such as cost of goods, ratio analysis, account reconciliation, financial statements and reporting and classification of accounts. In addition to learning the basics of accrual and cash basis accounting, you will practice preparing ledger entries and adjustments, calculating depreciation, generating reports including cash flow statements, balance sheets and profit and loss statements. This finance and accounting online course has no prerequisites, and is open to all undergraduate students with an understanding of mathematics.

Financial AccountingMassachusetts Institute of Technology

Open Courseware

Finance, Accounting, Reporting, Tax
Taught by: Prof. George Plesko, Prof. Kin Lo, Prof. Richard Frankel

Course Description:

Published in 2003, this financial accounting course will teach you tax, financial, and managerial reporting. The five-part course covers how to use judgment when recording and record keeping, how to manage computational elements, and what is required to search for financial reporting. Presented from the perspective of a decision maker, the course will enable you relate underlying economic events to the generation of accounting data. The prerequisites are to be a first-year Sloan MBA student.

Taxes and Business StrategyMassachusetts Institute of Technology

Open Courseware

Finance, Accounting, Tax, Business, Strategy
Taught by: Prof. George Plesko

Course Description:

Originally published in 2002, this online course discusses the role of taxes in developing a business strategy. Often this is overlooked in the broad spectrum of factors that influence business outcomes. Key topics will include how to develop a framework for tax accounting, tax planning, tax administration, corporate and capital structures, international taxation, and the impact of tax considerations on acquisitions and divestitures. By the end of this course you should be able to recognize tax-planning opportunities and apply principles of tax strategy to a business. There are no prerequisites for this graduate-level online course.

Corporate Finance for Health Care AdministratorsUniversity of Michigan

Podcast

Finance, Medical Administration
Taught by: Jack Wheeler, Ph.D.

Course Description:

Originally presented in 2009, this graduate online course consists of lectures (on iTunes U) and handouts to help medical students and working health care professionals master the financial aspects of health care administration. In its 14 sessions you will cover such business topics as financial math, risk analysis, financial markets, debt and equity and financial analysis, all within the context of managing a hospital, clinic, private practice or other health care facility.