If you want to learn how to become a bookkeeper for free, explore the list of free online bookkeeping classes below. Many universities and companies provide bookkeeping classes for free, but credits are not typically awarded. In the following courses, students can access materials in a variety of formats, including videos, lecture notes, assignments and exams. These free bookkeeping courses range from introductory to advanced level. Some require registration to access learning materials.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University offers bookkeeping training online including a complete guide to accounting, with information on accounting firms and organizations, the CPA exam and much more. Students can benefit from these courses as they include accounting tutorials and resources to help students better understand taxation. Some materials in this guide are only available for Arizona State University students.
- Accounting Tutorials contains access to free online bookkeeping courses for beginners and tutorials provided by different organizations and platforms to help students better understand accounting basics. Through these courses and tutorials, students can learn about the accounting cycle and financial ratios and learn important accounting terms. In this list of tutorials, students can also examine how to conduct accounting research through videos, webinars and helpful tips and tools.
- Taxation presents resources for state income tax, excise tax, sales tax rates and state tax policies. Students can also enjoy access to a tax research manual, tax forms and statistical data regarding revenue, tax collections and the IRS. Policy comparisons offer students insight into differences in tax policies, sales tax rates, payroll taxes and more across states.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology provides a variety of online bookkeeping training programs and accounting courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels through its OpenCourseWare (OCW) platform. These courses are always free of charge and require no registration to access. Learning materials some courses offer include exams, readings lists, PDF lecture notes and assignments.
- Introduction to Financial and Managerial Accounting is an undergraduate-level course designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of how to read managerial and financial reports, rather than prepare them. Topics explored in this course include revenue recognition, depreciation, long-term debt, current liabilities and contingencies and marketable securities. Students can study these topics by accessing course assignments, exams and lecture notes. The primary recommended reading for this course is Financial Accounting in an Economic Context, 5th ed.
- Financial Accounting teaches a graduate-level understanding of managerial, financial or tax reports and ways these reports impact bookkeeping. Some lecture topics include accrual accounting, accounts receivable, revenue recognition, inventory, taxes and acquisitions. Downloadable PDFs are available for select lectures and all recitations. To follow along with this course, students should acquire Financial Accounting in an Economic Context, 5th ed.
- Financial and Managerial Accounting explores revenue recognition, inventory, cost of goods sold, accounting for taxes and accrual accounting, among other topics. The primary goal of this graduate course is to introduce students to methods of preparing and analyzing financial information and ensure they know how to use specific financial instructions. Among learning materials included in this course are lecture notes, a quiz and several exams. Solutions are provided.
- Management Accounting and Control is a graduate course for students who want to learn about topics such as managerial decision-making, business planning, monitoring and financing. Lecture notes include subjects such as costs, cost allocation, budgets and budgeting and performance measurement. In addition to selected lectures, students can access a PDF of the course's final exam, though it does not come with solutions.
MERLOT, which is a program offered through the California State University System, is designed with the goal of allowing learners, researchers and educators to access a variety of educational materials in one location. Among the materials available are those focused on bookkeeping.
- Basic Accounting and Bookkeeping Instruction provides lessons in topics such as closing books, depreciation, transaction analysis and ratio analysis. Students also learn about keeping records, financial statement preparation and owning a business. Lessons are available for free, but in order to access the worksheets or printable lessons, a subscription is required.
- Drills for Accounting Basics includes free interactive quizzes covering 22 accounting topics, including the chart of accounts, cost of goods sold, financial ratios, balance sheets, accounting principles and bank reconciliation. The primary audiences for these drills are individuals in high school and college at the lower division.
- Principles of Accounting Online Textbook consists of 24 chapters on various accounting and bookkeeping lessons. Students can examine the accounting cycles, long-term assets, liabilities, budgeting, current assets and much more. Downloadable accounting exercises are available in PDF or Microsoft Excel format. The course provides a keyword glossary, text and illustrations of materials, quizzes and video lectures.
- So, You Want to Learn Bookkeeping goes over topics such as general ledgers and journals, debits and credits and bookkeeping terminology. The course also examines the accounting equation, how financial statements are created and double-entry bookkeeping. Learning materials include seven written lessons with illustrations, charts and quizzes.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) offers free online courses through the edX platform. These courses include introduction to management accounting and intermediate management accounting. In order to access these self-paced courses, students must sign up for a free edX account using their email address or a social platform like Facebook or Google Plus.
- Introduction to Bookkeeping is an introductory course that teaches students the basics of finance by examining business transactions, double-entry bookkeeping and payroll accounts. Students also learn about reconciliation and the steps involved in preparing the trial balance. Completion of this course is estimated to take about 30 hours.
- Intermediate Bookkeeping is designed to help students build upon what they've learned in Introduction to Bookkeeping. Concepts explored in this course include primary accounting principles and concepts, the preparation of financial statements and accounting for business transactions. Students also learn how to reconcile control accounts.
The Open University
OpenLearn, a free learning platform offered by the Open University, allows students to learn a wide range of topics via its non-credit courses. Whether students want to better understand specific aspects of business, nature, technology, law or history, this platform can benefit them. Courses typically teach students through written lessons and activities. Gaining access does not require registration, though a free account is needed to track course progress.
- Introduction to the Context of Accounting focuses on a broad understanding of accounting and the ways accountants can help a business' profits. Specific topics explored in this course include the main objective of accounting and how information, data processing and data relate to each other. Students can also learn about characteristics of good information. Completion of this advanced course is expected to take about four hours.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA teaches prospective and current business owners as well as casual learners all about how to plan, launch, manage and grow a business. Most free SBA courses feature a video lesson that goes over the basics of topics like customer service, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship and franchising.
- Introduction to Accounting takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and explains the fundamentals of accounting for business owners. Some topics focus on the cash flow statement, net profit, income and balance sheets. Learning materials include a video course, text transcript and downloadable PDF worksheets. Students should download and install Adobe Flash to watch the video course.
AccountingCoach.com is a learning platform that teaches the basics of accounting topics like bank reconciliation, depreciation and bonds payable at no cost. Among the learning tools available via this platform are written explanations, quizzes and Q&As. Registration is not required to access these free materials.
- Bookkeeping teaches students about the accrual method, asset accounts, cash flow statement, general ledger accounts and more. This 13-part course is designed for small business owners as well as students at several skill levels. In addition to printable written lessons, students can access a practice quiz, Q&A, word scramble game and crossword puzzle, free of charge. Other learning materials like seminar videos, flashcards and bookkeeping tests require students to upgrade to a paid PRO account.