Jan 8 2024 /

Top 9 free online bookkeeping courses with certificates in 2024

Top 9 free online bookkeeping courses with certificates in 2024 - Banner

Bookkeeping is a vital function that every business requires to track finances and transactions. As such, the demand for qualified bookkeepers continues to grow. 

Professional certifications such as the Certified Bookkeeper (CB) credentials from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) can give a strong advantage in the job market. 

But what if you want to start your journey with some free online bookkeeping courses instead?

For both new learners and experienced bookkeepers looking to advance their skills, free online courses offer an accessible path to gain knowledge, skills, and certifications. 

This article explores top free online resources and courses to launch or strengthen your bookkeeping education. First, let’s explore the key factors that make courses truly valuable.

Key factors to consider for online bookkeeping courses

Here are the top factors to consider while picking online bookkeeping courses.

Course duration and pacing

Take into account the course duration and pacing so that you know how fast you can learn a new skill and how you can incorporate learning into your life effectively. 

  • Check the total length of the course and the estimated weekly time commitment 
  • Make sure you can dedicate the time required each week for lectures, assignments, projects etc.
  • Self-paced courses offer flexibility if you need to step away occasionally

Instructor availability and support

If you’re an independent learner, that’s great — but sometimes a human touch is a perfect addition to any course. 

  • Check if the course provides access to instructors for questions and one-on-one guidance
  • Active instructor support is invaluable for clarifying concepts and feedback
  • Some courses rely solely on pre-recorded videos and materials with no instructor interaction

Relevant course content

Thoroughly review the topics that the course covers and make sure they suit your needs. Are you new to bookkeeping and want to start learning the basics first? Or are you interested in some advanced training or want to master a particular bookkeeping tool?

  • Review the course outline and topics covered. Ensure it teaches the accounting concepts and practical skills you aim to learn
  • Look for courses that provide instruction on bookkeeping fundamentals as well as specialized topics like payroll, QuickBooks, financial statements, etc.
  • Check if the course content aligns with bookkeeping certifications like AIPB, if relevant

Certificate of completion

It’s always nice to have a certificate stating you’ve completed a course — it’s a good addition to your resume and a proof of your skills.

  • Many free courses offer certificates of completion for finishing all materials and assessments
  • Certificates demonstrate your new skills and knowledge to employers
  • Be sure to only register for accredited programs that provide real certificates

User reviews

User reviews carry a tremendous amount of information, you can learn whether the course is worth your time just by reading a couple of reviews.

  • Read reviews to assess the quality of video lectures, materials, instructor availability, and overall user experience
  • Pay attention to pros such as structure, ease of use, valuable assignments, and discussions
  • Note any cons mentioned, like outdated materials, lack of teacher interaction, or confusing assessments

Choosing a course with engaging content tailored to your learning objectives, respected accreditation, and positive feedback will help ensure a rewarding, high-value bookkeeping course.

Taking all these tips into account, we’ve built a list of 9 great courses to jumpstart your bookkeeping journey. 

List of the top 9 free online bookkeeping courses b

Here’s a list of our top picks for bookkeeping courses:

Each of them is a good fit for getting skilled and certified in bookkeeping, but let’s examine them in detail.

Bookkeeping for personal and business accounting — The Open University

This free online course from The Open University provides a solid introduction to bookkeeping and personal and business accounting. Over the course of 4 weeks, you’ll gain skills to manage finances and understand basic accounting principles.

Free bookkeeping course from The Open University

Key features

  • Self-paced with an estimated 3 hours per week
  • Free certificate upon completion
  • Possibility to communicate with other learners

Course curriculum and skills

You will develop core skills in financial accounting fundamentals and practical bookkeeping methods. 

The course also teaches:

  • Key accounting terminology
  • Essential numerical skills like percentages and ratios
  • Principles and practices of double-entry bookkeeping
  • Constructing balance sheets and income statements 
  • Recording transactions in ledgers
  • Understanding debits and credits 
  • Preparing trial balances
  • Accounting for inventory and expenses
  • Applying the accounting equation 
  • Using nominal ledgers

The curriculum covers theoretical and practical knowledge across introductory financial accounting concepts, bookkeeping techniques, and foundational skills needed to record, summarize, and evaluate basic business financial information and transactions.

Certificates and diplomas

Offers a certificate of completion upon completing 90% of course steps and all of the assessments.


The overall rating is 4.5 stars according to 143 reviews. 

The course has very positive reviews on the learning experience and quality of materials. Despite some of the learners stating this course is not easy for complete beginners, they still say it’s detailed and interesting. 

Additional Information

The course is taught by Devendra Kodwani, an Executive Dean of Faculty of Business and Law and Professor of Financial Management and Corporate Governance at the Open University Business School.

Access the course

Find this course on The Open University platform: Bookkeeping for personal and business accounting.

Bookkeeping basics — Coursera

Offered by Intuit, this Coursera course is an introduction to bookkeeping concepts and terminology. You’ll gain skills to organize financial records for a small business.

Free bookkeeping course on Coursera

Key features

  • Self-paced, on-demand
  • 16 hours of materials
  • Free certificate upon completing all materials

Course curriculum and skills

This course teaches fundamental bookkeeping skills including:

  • Defining key accounting terms 
  • Explaining the double-entry accounting method 
  • Summarizing the core tasks and responsibilities of a bookkeeper
  • Discussing the ethical duties in financial reporting

You will learn essential concepts like accounting measurement, the accounting cycle, and creating financial statements. 

Other skills you will gain are:

  • Applying double-entry bookkeeping to record transactions
  • Using accounting software
  • Following the steps in the accounting cycle to move from journal entries to final statements
  • Generating accurate financial statements like balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements

Certificates and diplomas

Provides a free certificate upon completion.


The overall rating is 4.6 stars according to 4,104 reviews. 

Many learners found it a helpful introductory refresher on core concepts and practical skills. They praised the easygoing presentation style and real-world applications. However, common complaints included glitchy practice modules and a desire for more hands-on exercises. Some felt the material was too basic while others with no experience found it approachable. 

Additional information

The course is led by the Intuit Academy Team.

Access the course

You can access the course on the Coursera platform: Bookkeeping Basics.

Bookkeeping — Accounting Coach

This structured course from Accounting Coach provides both free and paid online lessons on bookkeeping concepts and best practices.

Free bookkeeping course by Accounting Coach

Key features

  • Self-paced with 20 lessons
  • A combination of free and paid materials
  • Paid certificate of completion

Course curriculum and skills

This course provides a comprehensive overview of accounting fundamentals, financial accounting, and bookkeeping skills. 

You will learn accounting basics like:

  • Debits and credits
  • Chart of accounts
  • Core principles
  • Equation application 

Skills gained include:

  • Preparing financial statements like balance sheets, income statements, statements of cash flows 
  • Recording adjusting journal entries
  • Reconciling accounts
  • Calculating depreciation 
  • Inventory and cost of goods sold 
  • Understanding working capital and liquidity
  • Accounts receivable/payable
  • Payroll
  • Nonprofit accounting

The curriculum aims to build both theoretical and practical accounting abilities.

Certificates and diplomas

The course offers a certificate of completion after passing a certificate exam for PRO and PRO+ subscribers.


This course has over 2000 testimonials and learners highly praise this free bookkeeping course for presenting concepts in an exceptionally clear, easy-to-understand manner. 

Many mention struggling with accounting in traditional classroom settings or textbooks before finding this resource. They emphasize the huge difference it made in their comprehension and test performance. 

While a few critics note minor issues, the consensus is that this is an invaluable, high-quality accounting learning resource.

Additional information

While the course has tons of free materials, it offers two subscription plans that open access to even more content and certification. The pricing for the PRO and PRO+ subscriptions are $49 and $99 respectively, and this is a one-time fee.

Access the course

You can access the course on the Accounting Coach website: Bookkeeping.

Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting — OpenLearn

This free course from Open University provides an introduction to the fundamental rules of double-entry bookkeeping and how they are used to produce the balance sheet.

Free bookkeeping course on Open Learn

Key features

  • Self-paced learning
  • 8 hours of study
  • Free statement of participation available

Course curriculum and skills

These courses for beginners provide fundamental skills in numerical accounting, double-entry bookkeeping, and financial statement preparation. 

You will gain abilities to apply essential math skills like percentages and ratios for bookkeeping tasks. 

The course covers:

  • Accounting equation 
  • Mapping transactions across ledger T-accounts using double-entry methodology
  • Performing the accounting cycle of journalizing to constructing trial balances and closing entries 
  • Preparing key financial statements like balance sheets, income statements, and statements of owner’s equity

By completing this curriculum, you will develop core competencies in:

  • Chronologically recording business transactions 
  • Implementing the debit-credit system
  • Producing accounting reports
  • Understanding foundational accounting concepts that underpin bookkeeping workflows

Certificates and diplomas

Provides a free statement of participation upon completing the course.


The overall rating is 4.2 stars according to 177 reviews. 

Overall, learners found this introductory bookkeeping and accounting course to be an excellent starting point for grasping core concepts. Many praised its simplicity, ease of understanding, and clear organization of basic principles. 

While a few learners found the material too basic, most said it was a perfect course for beginners. 

Additional information

The platform offers to review and track your learning through your OpenLearn Profile, as well as assess your progress with quizzes.

Access the course

You can access the course on the OpenLearn website: Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting

Diploma in effective bookkeeping and payroll — Alison

This free online course from Alison covers effective bookkeeping and payroll fundamentals. Master payroll administration, taxes, budgeting strategies, subsidiary ledgers, and special journals.

Free bookkeeping course on Alison

Key features

  • Self-paced learning
  • About 10 to 15 hours to complete
  • Multiple choices of diploma

Course curriculum and skills

This course provides practical skills in core bookkeeping and payroll tasks. 

You will learn to:

  • Process payroll for salaried and hourly employees 
  • Implement budgeting strategies 
  • Utilize subsidiary ledgers and special journals 
  • Understand business partnerships, analyze cash flow from operations, investing and financing activities 
  • Apply GAAP principles for accounting 
  • And manage accounts receivable through categorization and organization 

By completing this curriculum, you will develop abilities to carry out essential bookkeeping responsibilities like payroll, budgeting, tracking accounts, and applying foundational concepts to ensure accuracy in financial data and transaction recording.

Certificates and diplomas

While the course itself is free, Alison offers 3 types of paid diplomas via the Alison Shop upon achieving 80% or higher in each course assessment:

  • A downloadable Digital Diploma in PDF format for $69 
  • A physical Diploma with official branding and security marking for $112
  • A physical Framed Diploma with official branding and security marking in a frame for $134


The reviews highlight the instructor’s clear delivery and use of examples as strengths that enhanced the classes’ learning experience. 

The learners expressed appreciation for the instructor’s teaching style and found the explanations and examples helpful for comprehension of the material. 

Overall, the reviews convey a positive experience with the course, noting it enabled a solid understanding of concepts. 

Additional information

The course is published on Alison by the Workforce Academy Partnership which collaborates with top providers of online video courses in business management and other industries.

Also, the course is CPD-approved, which means that it meets the standards and criteria to count towards the ongoing learning requirements that many professionals have to maintain their licenses, certifications, or memberships.

Access the course

You can access this course on Alison: Effective Bookkeeping and Payroll.

ACCA: Introduction to Bookkeeping — edX

This edX course from ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) provides an ideal introduction to bookkeeping for future business leaders, accountants, and entrepreneurs. The course prepares you for the ACCA Foundation level FA1 exam.

Free introductory bookkeeping course on edX

Key features

  • Self-paced over 6 weeks
  • 5-8 hours per week
  • No prior bookkeeping knowledge needed

Course curriculum and skills

You will learn about: 

  • Business transactions
  • Banking 
  • Double-entry bookkeeping 
  • Payroll
  • Ledgers 
  • Reconciliations 
  • Trial balances 

Topics align with ACCA certification. You will gain conceptual and practical bookkeeping knowledge and skills and will be ready to pass an exam.

Certificates and diplomas

While the course itself does not provide you with a certificate, it will prepare you to pass an ACCA exam and become a certified bookkeeper. 

To pass an exam, students should pay a fee that depends on their location — for example, an Initial Registration Fee for the Foundations in Accountancy students in the USA is £89.


There are no course reviews on the edX website, but the certification speaks for itself — it is a valued diploma all over the world and the course regularly makes it to the list of best free online bookkeeping courses.

Additional information

The course is provided by ACCA — the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Founded in 1904, the organization aims to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to students around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy and finance.

Access the course

You can access the course on the edX platform: ACCA: Introduction to Bookkeeping

ACCA: Intermediate Bookkeeping — edX

Did you enjoy ACCA’s Introduction to Bookkeeping course? Intermediate Bookkeeping goes beyond the introduction level to build business-ready bookkeeping skills. Ideal for those with some prior bookkeeping knowledge seeking to expand their abilities and prepare for ACCA certification exams.

Free intermediate bookkeeping course on edX

Key features

  • Self-paced 
  • 5-8 hours per week over 6 weeks
  • Free access

Course curriculum and skills

You will acquire conceptual and practical knowledge of:

  • Preparing financial statements
  • Journal entries
  • Recording transactions
  • Trial balances
  • Correcting errors
  • Accounting for partnerships

You will master such skills as bookkeeping workflows, analysis and professionalism to undertake accounting administrator or bookkeeper roles.

Certificates and diplomas

Earn a certificate by passing the ACCA exam and become a certified bookkeeper. 

To pass an exam, students should pay a fee that depends on their location — for example, an Initial Registration Fee for the Foundations in Accountancy students in the USA is £89.


The edX website does not provide reviews for this course. However, ACCA’s reputation for excellence indicates its quality for building in-demand bookkeeping skills. The globally recognized ACCA certificate speaks for itself.

Additional information

ACCA, which stands for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, offers this course. Established in 1904, the organization’s goal is to provide globally recognized qualifications that are relevant to the business world. 

Access the course

You can access the course on the edX platform: ACCA: Intermediate Bookkeeping.

Bookkeeping — Oxford Home Study Centre

This course is a free online introduction to bookkeeping fundamentals, open to anyone but primarily aimed at unemployed learners seeking practical skills. The curriculum covers Free bookkeeping course by Oxford Home Study Centre

Key features

  • 20 hours of materials
  • No entry requirements
  • Self-paced learning

Course curriculum and skills

This course covers fundamental bookkeeping concepts and skills. 

You will learn to: 

  • Differentiate accounting vs bookkeeping 
  • Understand key terms 
  • Compare cash and accrual methods 
  • Discuss accounting objectives and limitations 
  • Explore accounting branches

Skills gained include: 

  • Preparing financial statements like balance sheets 
  • Income statements 
  • Recording transactions in journals 
  • Managing accounts payable/receivable
  • Calculating depreciation, inventory, interest and payroll 
  • Constructing general ledgers and trial balances 
  • Utilizing accounting software 

Certificates and diplomas

Upon completion, the platform offers to acquire one of the following paid certificates:

  • Official Course Completion Certificate from Oxford Home Study Centre, £10 for PDF and £25 for hard copy
  • CPD Accredited Certificate to boost your CPD profile, £30 for PDF, £30-95 for hard copy
  • Endorsed Certificate issued by the Quality Licence Scheme, £45-120 depending on the type


The overall rating is 4.9 stars according to 53,974 reviews. 

Many reviewers highlight that this course for beginners has a great support team that responds fast to the assignments. Also, students say the materials provided were clear and concise, and the tutor offered professional help where needed. Yet, some of the reviews mention that the course was not as advertised.

Additional information

The course is CPD-approved, meeting continuing education standards for professionals.

Access the course

You can access the course on the Oxford Home Study Centre’s website: Bookkeeping.

Accounting Fundamentals — Corporate Finance Institute (CFI)

Accounting Fundamentals is an introductory online course by CFI explaining key accounting principles central to finance roles. Designed for beginners, no prior accounting knowledge is required.

Free bookkeeping course by CFI

Key features

  • 5 hours of self-paced learning
  • Downloadable Excel practice files
  • Free certificate upon completing all materials

Course curriculum and skills

Through exploring the interconnections of financial statements, you will learn:

  • The importance and format of balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements
  • Double-entry bookkeeping
  • Key accounting terms
  • Recording transactions
  • Preparing multi-year financial statements

Skills include analyzing profitability, operations, growth and drivers of business performance.

Certificates and diplomas

When you complete all lessons and pass assessments with an 80% score, the platform offers a free Certificate of Completion. In addition, this course is part of the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)® certification if you want to dig deeper into the topic.


The majority of course reviews are rated 5 stars. 

Students praise the passionate professor, engaging delivery, variety of Excel practice files and step-by-step walkthroughs that build confidence in accounting skills.

Additional information

CFI is a leading global provider of finance courses. The materials are designed both for newcomers and finance professionals looking to strengthen accounting fundamentals.

Access the course

You can access the course on the CFI’s website: Accounting Fundamentals.

Free online bookkeeping courses: a comparison table

And here’s a comparison table of all courses we’ve mentioned in this article for a more comprehensive view:

Course/Parameter Duration Key skills Reviews Certification Other
Bookkeeping and personal accounting — The Open University  12h
  • Terminology
  • Key numerical skills
  • Double-entry bookkeeping
4.5 stars, 143 reviews Yes Taught by an Executive Dean at the Open University Business School
Bookkeeping Basics — Coursera 16h
  • Key accounting terms
  • Double-entry method
  • Responsibilities of bookkeepers
4.6 stars, 4,104 reviews Yes Led by the Intuit Academy Team
Bookkeeping — Accounting Coach Varies based on selected materials, 2h+
  • Financial statements
  • Debits and credits
  • Journal entries
2000+ positive testimonials Yes, paid Paid subscription unlocks more materials and certificates
Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting — OpenLearn 8h
  • Accounting equation
  • Double-entry methodology
  • Accounting cycle
4.2 stars, 177 reviews Yes Review, track learning, assess progress on the platform
Diploma in Effective Bookkeeping and Payroll — Alison 10-15h
  • Payroll
  • Budgeting
  • subsidiary ledgers and special journals
Positive Yes, paid CPD-approved
ACCA: Introduction to Bookkeeping — edX 40h
  • Payroll
  • Double-entry bookkeeping
  • Business transactions
Yes, paid Globally-recognized certification
ACCA: Intermediate Bookkeeping 48h
  • Financial statements
  • Journal entries
  • Trial balances
Yes, paid Globally-recognized certification
Bookkeeping — Oxford Home Study Centre 20h
  • Accounting vs bookkeeping differentiation 
  • Key terms
  • Cash vs accrual methods 
4.9 stars,  53,974 reviews Yes, paid CPD-approved
Accounting fundamentals — CFI 5h
  • Balance sheets
  • Double-entry bookkeeping
  • Key accounting terms
Positive Yes CFI is a leading global provider of online finance courses

Tips for making the most of free online courses

Even a really good course can be a waste of time — here are 10 tips for getting the most out of free online courses:

  1. Set aside dedicated study time. Treat online courses like real classes and schedule specific days and times each week for watching lectures and doing assignments. Managing your time effectively is key.
  2. Take organized notes. Use active note-taking strategies like the Cornell method to engage with course materials. Well-structured notes boost comprehension and recall.
  3. Join online course communities. Participate in forums and discussions to gain insights from instructors and fellow learners.
  4. Apply learned skills. Find ways to apply course knowledge through projects, implement at work, or teach others to reinforce retention.
  5. Supplement with additional resources. Don’t just rely on course materials — use websites, videos, articles, etc. to dive deeper into interesting topics.
  6. Set specific learning goals. Outline the knowledge and skills you aim to take away before starting a course. Periodically track progress toward these goals.
  7. Earn credentials when possible. Completing courses that provide certificates or diplomas can enhance your resume and prove skills.
  8. Give feedback on courses. Honest reviews help instructors improve course quality and enhance materials for future learners.
  9. Revisit course materials. Review lectures, notes, assignments, and resources from time to time after finishing a course. This boosts long-term retention.
  10. Keep building knowledge. Use online courses as a gateway to more learning. Take related follow-up courses, read suggested resources, watch videos, etc.

By applying these productivity tips you can maximize your growth through online learning.

The bottom line

With the demand for qualified bookkeepers continuing to grow, gaining recognized credentials and knowledge through these self-paced courses can set you apart. Use this article as a guide to select courses that align with your learning objectives and career goals. 

Also, don’t forget that both what and how you learn are important — approach online learning with purpose and self-discipline, practice the tips we’ve discussed in this article, and you’ll ace your learning journey. 

In addition, consider supplementing online courses with bookkeeping podcasts to further build your skills anywhere, anytime. Also, check out the TaxDome Academy — we’ve built a great collection of courses that will explain how to work with TaxDome and master bookkeeping on the platform. 

Your journey to becoming a professional certified bookkeeper begins now!

Nora Garvin

As a content writer for TaxDome, Nora leverages her technical knowledge to produce clear and useful content for customers. She is motivated by making accounting less intimidating and helping businesses reach their financial goals. Outside of work, Nora enjoys hiking, reading, and spending quality time with her family.

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