Computerized bookkeeping programs are available in a variety of formats, including online options. Program lengths range from as little as a year to two-year degree programs, and graduates may qualify for certification after gaining some experience.
Online Computerized Bookkeeping Education
Sources for online computerized bookkeeping training include community colleges, four-year universities, private career schools and professional associations. Most training options lead to an undergraduate certificate that takes less than a year to earn, although some diploma programs and continuing education standalone courses are also available. In addition, schools that offer distance learning two-year associate's degree programs in accounting may include some bookkeeping coursework.
Most distance learning programs in this area of study require totally online coursework that is presented within a virtual classroom environment. Schools use course management systems to deliver lectures, instructional materials, assignments and tests. Tools like chat rooms and message boards are used for interaction between classmates and their instructors. In some cases, schools offer hybrid bookkeeping programs which feature online coursework coupled with some on-campus sessions.
Online Program Details
Admission to online programs in computerized bookkeeping vary, but formal undergraduate programs generally require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. Some continuing education programs are designed specifically for those with bookkeeping or accounting experience who are seeking to earn professional certification in the field. The following list provides details on what distance learners can expect to study in online bookkeeping education programs.
College Certificate and Degree Programs
Distance learners in an online certificate or degree program in computerized bookkeeping usually focus on the same key concepts in the field, but the latter takes longer to complete due to additional general education coursework in areas like English, math, science and social science. Students in these postsecondary programs learn about basic accounting principles along with the following:
- Filing electronic tax returns
- Processing payroll
- Electronically maintaining accounts receivable and accounts payable transactions
- Using business or accounting software programs like Microsoft Excel or Quickbooks
Professional Association Courses
The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) offers online continuing education opportunities to its members. Certificates of completion are awarded for various courses in the following areas:
- Credit and collections
- Tax preparation
- Cash flow
- Accounting internal controls
- Double-entry bookkeeping
Member bookkeepers with two years of experience can qualify for the organization's Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation after meeting experience requirements and passing a written examination. Certified bookkeepers are required to complete periodic continuing education requirements.
Students interested in an online computerized bookkeeping program have a number of degree options available. Generally, only a high school diploma is needed for enrollment. Courses often cover key topics such as cash flow and accounting software.