Free accounting courses provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about accounting and related topics, like finance, auditing, and taxation, without any out-of-pocket expense. These courses typically go beyond the types of tutorials you might find on YouTube or a general accounting website; they delve into the advanced topics you might find at an undergraduate-level, or even a graduate-level, course at a college, university, or business school.
For example, rather than just a short tutorial on how to prepare a balance sheet, a free accounting course will explain how to accurately prepare all of the required financial statements for a business.
Earning a Credit for Free Accounting Courses
There are some free accounting courses that grant a certificate of completion when you finish the course, but most free courses will not result in an accounting degree or college credit of any kind just because you complete the course.
Why You Take Free Accounting Courses Online
So, you may be asking yourself, why bother taking a course if you can't get earn credit toward a degree? There are actually a few reasons why you might want to consider taking one or more free accounting courses online:
- Knowledge: The main reason why people take any type, of course, is to gain new knowledge. You can acquire education and skills in a free course, just like you could in a course that you paid money for.
- Preparation: Free accounting courses can help you prepare for exams, such as the CLEP Financial Accounting examination. If you pass these exams, you could earn college credit toward a degree.
- Practice: A free accounting course is a good way to practice for postsecondary-level studies. If you plan on attending a formal undergraduate or graduate degree program, taking a few free courses online will help you understand the types of lectures, reading and case studies you might encounter in future courses.
Schools With Free Accounting Courses Online
There are quite a few different colleges and universities that offer free courses or OpenCourseWare (OCW). OCW varies by school but typically consists of class material like suggested reading, online textbooks, lectures, course notes, case studies, and other study aids.
Here are a few respected colleges and universities that offer free accounting courses online:
- Kutztown University of Pennsylvania: The Small Business Development Center at the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania offers more than 70 free business courses, including courses related to accounting, finance, and small business tax.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): MIT's Sloan School of Management has an extensive OpenCourseWare program that provides course materials like video lectures, lecture notes, exams (with solutions), etc. for undergraduate and graduate-level students. Courses cover a wide range of topics, including finance theory, financial accounting, and managerial accounting.
- Open University: The UK's Open University provides free educational resources through its OpenLearn website. Courses are categorized by topic and education level (introductory, intermediate, and advanced). Free accounting courses, videos, and reference materials can be found in the Money and Management category.
- UC Berkeley: The University of California Berkeley offers free video and audio lectures on topics like accounting, economics, mathematics, and statistics, among others. These lectures were posted in the spring of 2015 or before. For more recent UC Berkeley courses, you could visit edX, which offers free online courses from top universities around the world.