Free Online Accounting Courses with a Certificate

Instructor: John Beard
The options for no or low-cost online courses continue to proliferate. Read on to find a few options for online courses in accounting and what, if any, costs you may run into.

Online Courses in Accounting

The following institutions offer online accounting courses. Common features of these courses include text-based lessons, video lectures and tests.


This online learning destination created by Harvard and MIT offers numerous accounting courses, including those in management accounting, financial accounting and introductory accounting. As of 2015, the introductory accounting course was free, though there's a fee if you want to receive a certificate. Most other accounting courses at edX aren't free.


The accounting courses on Alison are free, but again, you have to pay for a certificate. To qualify for a certificate, you must meet minimum performance standards as you proceed through the course. Some courses you can take include accounting fundamentals, balance sheets, accounting theory and more.

For a low monthly membership fee, you can access as many accounting courses as you want on that range from beginning to advanced accounting. All courses are taught by content experts with teaching experience and are available in a self-paced format. Best of all, you can reach out to the instructors any time you have questions and take short quizzes after each lesson to ensure you've grasped the most important concepts. Consider the following options:


This online school had three accounting courses as of 2015: Introductory financial accounting, managerial accounting and accounting principles. These courses are completely free, and if you score at least 70% on the final, you also get a certificate of completion for the course.


Coursera offers a few accounting courses from schools around the country, though you'll need to pay in order to receive a certificate of completion. Course topics include forensic accounting, introductory financial accounting and more. Courses on this site are sometimes linked into groups to create a series of courses. For instance, the University of Illinois has a series called, Improving Business Finances and Operations Specialization that costs $79 and consists of six courses and a capstone project. Coursera offers financial aid for those who cannot pay their fees.

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