Skills you'll gain: Computer Programming, Computer Science, Microsoft Excel, Other Programming Languages, Business Analysis, Data Analysis, Data Analysis Software, Entrepreneurship, Problem Solving, Research and Design, Spreadsheet Software
Intermediate · Course · 1-4 Weeks
Skills you'll gain: SAS (Software), Statistical Programming, Data Management, Computational Logic, Computer Programming, Mathematical Theory & Analysis, Mathematics, Programming Principles, Theoretical Computer Science
Intermediate · Course · 1-3 Months
Skills you'll gain: Data Structures, Theoretical Computer Science, Java Programming, Computer Programming, Algorithms, Computational Logic, Data Management, Mathematical Theory & Analysis, Mathematics, Mobile Development, Software Engineering, Software Testing, Web Development
Intermediate · Course · 1-3 Months
Skills you'll gain: Algorithms, Computer Programming, Java Programming, Theoretical Computer Science, Computational Logic, Data Management, Data Structures, Graph Theory, Mathematical Theory & Analysis, Programming Principles
Intermediate · Course · 3-6 Months
Skills you'll gain: Data Management, Theoretical Computer Science, Algorithms, Big Data, Communication, Computational Thinking, Computer Programming, Data Analysis, Database Administration, Databases, Journalism, Machine Learning, Security Engineering, Software Security
Beginner · Course · 1-4 Weeks
If you're looking for the best free accounting courses, check out Forensic Accounting, Stanford Statistics, Financial Markets, Budgeting Essentials, and Private Equity. Whether you're just starting out in accounting or want to gain a specialized skill, these courses are sure to help you reach your financial and educational goals.
All aspiring accountants can benefit from courses such as the highly rated UVA Darden Financial Accounting from the University of Virginia , as well as the Bookkeeping Basics and Financial Accounting courses. For a broader view of the field, Intro to Data Analytics and Financial Accounting Fundamentals are good courses to supplement a beginner's accounting education.
For those looking to further their accounting knowledge, the best advanced accounting courses are Advanced Financial Reporting, Advanced Valuation and Strategy, Analysis of Algorithms, Social and Economic Networks, and Interest Rate Models. Each of these courses are filled with interesting content carefully curated from experts in the field, allowing students to learn the material well-equipped for success.
Accounting is the “language of business,” a system for collecting, classifying, measuring, and communicating financial information. While this language includes familiar terms like revenues and costs, assets and liabilities, and profits and losses, accountants use them in specific ways to express key details about the financial health of a company.
This discipline is important for anyone trying to understand the performance of an organization, whether managers or employees within a business or external parties such as investors or the government. Rigorous financial accounting is particularly important for high-level executives, who rely on this information to guide effective decision making.
Thus, accounting requires much more than being good with numbers or spreadsheets. It requires a blend of analytical skills as well as interpersonal “soft skills,” as accountants must be able to interpret financial information, prepare financial statements and reports that capture this information accurately, and then convey the most important findings clearly.
While accounting terminology is generally the same regardless of your job in this field, accounting careers can vary widely depending on the audience you are communicating to and for what purpose.
Public accountants such as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are a familiar type of accounting professional, and they work with clients to produce legally-required financial documents such as balance sheet statements for investors or annual reports for taxation authorities.
Private accountants, often known as management accountants, instead prepare findings for internal use within an organization. Managerial accounting focuses on collecting and analyzing financial information used to create business plans, forecasts, and budgets, as well as data used for performance evaluation.
A background in accounting can also lead to a career as an auditor, employed within a company or by an outside organization to examine financial records and identify signs of mismanagement, waste, or fraud. Similarly, forensic accounting is a specialized job in this field that works with law enforcement agencies like the FBI to “follow the money” in criminal investigations, identifying suspicious activities and uncovering financial clues.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most accountants have at least a bachelor’s degree, and many pursue additional certifications in more specialized areas of the field.
Yes, Coursera offers a wide range of online courses on topics related to accounting, from introductory-level courses in financial accounting to more advanced courses and Specializations in areas like financial management, reporting, and taxation. Coursera also offers a Masters of Science in Accountancy from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to take your accounting career to the next level.
Best of all, taking classes remotely lets you learn on a flexible schedule that can fit into your existing work or family life. And, although online courses and Specializations through Coursera offer the same materials and credits as on-campus alternatives, they are available at a significantly lower tuition cost.
The skills and experience that you might need to already have before starting to learn accounting could include a strong interest in data, numbers, spreadsheets, income knowledge, and financial discipline. You might also have skills in organization, with meticulous attention to detail, good analytical thinking, and critical thinking. Because accountants and auditors typically manage the financial numbers for people or an organization, they need to have strong computer skills and excellent spreadsheet ability. Accountants generally need to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in accounting or a related field to become an accountant. Getting certified as a CPA (certified public accountant) is also commonly required experience to learn accounting.
The kind of people who are best suited for roles in accounting may include those who have extroverted, sensing, thinking, and judging personalities. This personality type is known as ESTJ. Being extroverted to learn accounting is helpful, as accountants often have to interface with CEOs, department heads, and business leaders, so communications skills are necessary. The sensing aspect means that you may learn to use all five senses to judge a situation well. A thinking person seeks to find logical explanations to problems and challenges, thus helping to make objective decisions. And having a judging aspect in your personality means that you may enjoy structure and organization in your life more than others. These personality characteristics have been shown to be possessed by more than one-third of accountants.
You might know if learning accounting is right for you if you develop an interest in areas like finding efficiency in budgets, being organized, and showing good knowledge of numbers and financial constructs. You might know if learning accounting is right for you if you like the structure of organized financial accounts, paying attention to details, using advanced math methods like statistical analysis and calculus, and working with start-up entrepreneurs, financial companies, and other clients. Learning accounting may also prove to be right for you if you have good soft skills, like a healthy, positive demeanor, and a can-do winning attitude.