Learn Payroll Accounting for Free Online

Jan 04, 2019

Take time to explore our comprehensive list of free online payroll accounting courses. In no time, you can find out which courses are available and what topics they cover to find one that's right for you.

Accounting and Payroll Courses Online for Credit

Free online training programs focusing specifically on payroll accounting are more often found on private companies' websites. Topics relevant to payroll accounting might also be covered in free online business courses available through colleges or universities, though none of the options listed in the section below confer academic credit.

Students who would like to apply their online learning toward a degree program might want to consider the courses offered by Study.com. Each course provides access to engaging and informative video lessons and full transcripts in addition to self-assessment quizzes, chapter exams and a final exam. Students can also access online tutors who can help expand their knowledge of course concepts.

Courses available include Accounting 101: Financial Accounting, which takes a close look at accounting concepts like the operating cycle, merchandising operations and financial statement analysis. Chapters include the following:

Free Online Accounting and Payroll Courses

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania offers several free courses through SmallBizU. These courses teach students how to find the money needed to start a business, attract investors and create loan packages. To gain access to these free online courses, including the following accounting course, students are required to register with SmallBizU.

  • Accounting 101 is a 3-hour course presented through nearly 150 animated slides with voiceover narration. Students learn about the scorecards for tracking money, cash flow management, balance sheets, income statements and basic business transactions. In addition to slides, students can benefit from materials like worksheets and free trial access to accounting software packages.


BizFilings offers a variety of services to businesses, including some tools and resources that can be accessed for free. Included are free articles focused on launching a business, managing taxes, marketing and finance.

  • Basic Accounting is located in the finance section of BizFilings' free online tools and resources. It includes articles focused on financial business statements, the accounting system, managing a general ledger and other concepts that touch on payroll accounting. Articles offer in-depth explanations of topics covered and provide examples for additional understanding. Students can also access forms that include daily cash sheet templates, income statement worksheets and sample collection letters.

Arnold S. Grundvig, Jr.

Arnold S. Grundvig, Jr. is a seminar director and ''turnaround'' management specialist. He created the following accounting course for non-accountants. This course is free to access and requires no registration.

  • Bean Counting 101 introduces students to basic accounting by exploring financial statements, loans, debit and credits, payroll, journals and general ledgers. Most lessons in this course are available to view as videos and include written texts. In addition to the lessons, students can learn from an accounting terms glossary and financial calculators as well as interactive financial statements.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

By using MIT's OpenCourseWare (OCW) platform, students can learn about women's and gender studies, physical education, earth science, global studies and much more at no cost. OCW courses are open to anyone, do not require registration and do not lead to college credit. Most courses on this platform teach students through notes presented in original lectures as well as assignments.

  • Financial Accounting is a broad, comprehensive graduate-level course that covers balance sheets, financial statements, cash flow and other areas in accounting and payroll. Students are presented with five learning challenges in the form of discussion questions focusing on record keeping, usage, computation, judgment and more. This course is designed for students interested in accounting from a management perspective. Course materials include lecture notes, recitations and problem sets with no solutions in PDF format.

Open University

OpenLearn is the Open University's free online learning platform, designed to provide individuals from across the globe with educational opportunities outside of the traditional classroom. OpenLearn courses cover subject areas like history, money, science, law and psychology. Students don't have to register to access these non-credit courses.

  • Introduction to the Context of Accounting provides an overview of the fundamentals of accounting from its origins to the use of accounting information systems. Students learn the definition of an accountant, what characterizes ''good'' information and the differences between data and information. The advanced course includes activities (with answers) and practical examples. It typically takes about four hours to complete.

University of Virginia

Students interested in taking free online courses from the University of Virginia can do so through the online learning platform, Coursera. Course options available through this platform focus on marketing, physics, branding and much more. In order to access these courses, students have to sign up for a free Coursera account using their email address or Facebook account.

  • Managerial Accounting Fundamentals is a beginner-level course designed to teach fundamental topics like cost allocation systems, overhead rate calculation, relevant costs and benefits and cost behavior. The course includes learning materials like videos, readings and quizzes. Students can expect to take about 17 hours to finish.


Intuit offers numerous free resources focused on helping individuals understand the basics of payroll. These resources include a paycheck calculator and an explanation of the W2 form along with tips on what a business should know about hiring employees and how to avoid payroll pitfalls. No registration is required to access these resources.

  • Basic Payroll is designed as a general guide to concepts in payroll accounting. Students can use the site as a reference to review concepts as well as compare the types of payroll accounting services and access tax forms. Topics covered include tax penalties and errors, IRS deadlines and how to file tax forms.

Accounting Coach

AccountingCoach.com aims to help individuals understand beginner's accounting and bookkeeping concepts, free of charge. Topics students can learn about include balance sheets, accounts payable, manufacturing overhead and standard costing. Registration is not required to access learning materials that can include written lessons, practice quizzes and games.

  • Payroll Accounting focuses on payroll accounting and financial statement reporting. It covers accounting basics, such as payroll journals, overtime pay and payroll taxes paid by employers. Quizzes, a question and answer section, tests, flashcards and example journal entries are provided, in addition to an online accounting dictionary.

Brigham Young University - Hawaii

Brigham Young University - Hawaii shares lectures, symposiums and educational videos on its YouTube learning channel. Anyone can access the content free of charge to learn about business management, political science, entrepreneurship and much more.

  • Introduction to Quickbooks 2012 is a free video tutorial at the introductory level, presented by Brian Watkins. It shows users transactions applicable to working in a retail shop. It also demonstrates how one could implement a manual payroll system using Quick Books. This video is a companion to another free video tutorial titled ''Basic Accounting to Prepare for QuickBooks Transactions Tutorial by Kevin Kimball.

University of Maryland

The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) offers free courses covering topics like financial management, cloud computing and instructional design through the edX online learning platform. These courses require students to create an account with edX using an email address or account with Google, Microsoft or Facebook.

  • Financial Accounting for Corporations teaches students about the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and how it creates new generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This advanced course also looks at how to create financial statements for corporations and interpret financial information. Students can expect to dedicate about 70-80 hours of effort to the completion of this course's video lessons.
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