8 Colleges and Universities Offering Free Accounting Courses Online

Aug 02, 2019

Online Accounting Courses for College Credit

If you're in search of free online accounting courses, you're in luck! A handful of colleges and universities provide online access to accounting classes for personal learning. Class topics that tackle beginner, intermediate, and advanced concepts ranging from tax accounting to cost and managerial accounting. It's good to keep in mind, however, that these free accounting classes typically have limited offerings for materials and usually don't offer credit or grant access to instructors.

At, students can take lower-level and upper-level online accounting classes for a nominal fee and transfer credit toward a degree to over 2,000 colleges and universities. Our courses feature engaging video lessons with full transcripts, multiple-choice lesson quizzes, chapter tests, and final course exams to help reinforce the knowledge you gain. Students are also able to reach out to our subject-matter experts with any questions about concepts covered in our accounting courses online. Available accounting courses include:

Free Online Accounting Courses

Although many of these courses contain the same course materials as credit-bearing college classes, students typically don't earn college credit from completing them. And while access to the courses is free, students may need to purchase textbooks or acquire other reading material to gain full benefits. Also, keep in mind that special software, like Adobe Flash or Acrobat Reader, may be required to utilize the free accounting courses' materials.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT OpenCourseWare offers students free access to 2,400 courses, audio and video lectures, online textbooks, and additional supplemental resources. Among the many course categories available are health and medicine, mathematics, social science, and engineering. Students taking the following three accounting courses can benefit from features that include the ability to download PDFs of lecture notes and access exam questions and solutions.

  • Introduction to Financial and Managerial Accounting is an undergraduate course originally taught in the spring semester of 2004 with the goal of helping students understand the basics of financial and managerial reporting. The free, self-paced course covers accounting concepts like revenue recognition, marketable securities, principles of accrual accounting and the statement of cash flow. The textbook Financial Accounting in an Economic Context is recommended along with supplemental readings. Students can also access problem sets with solutions in this course.
  • Financial Accounting helps students understand corporate financial accounting and reporting concepts as well as how to make performance assessments and investment decisions. Concepts explored in this graduate-level course include long-term debt, the balance sheet, long-lived assets, and the time value of money. Chapters from the textbook Financial Accounting: An Introduction to Concepts, Methods, and Uses are examined throughout the course. In addition to PDF lecture notes and exams, students can benefit from access to problem sets (no solutions included) and recitations.
  • Financial and Managerial Accounting students are taught how to use financial instruments and to prepare and interpret financial information at the investor and managerial levels. This course was developed to help graduate-level students understand accounting and finance from the standpoint of the decision maker. Topics covered in this course align with chapters in the Financial Accounting in an Economic Context textbook. In addition to lecture notes and sample exams, students are provided with access to a quiz with solutions.

The Open University

OpenLearn, a free learning option from The Open University, offers a wide array of online courses in areas that include education, money and business, languages, science, and politics. Signing up for a free account is not required, but doing so provides students with the ability to access course activities, track their progress, and download course materials to view offline. OpenLearn's online accounting courses feature written lessons and include activities for students to further explore the topics. No textbooks or additional readings are required.

  • Introduction to the Context of Accounting takes an in-depth look at basic accounting concepts, including profit and loss, data processing, and characteristics of good information. This free course also examines the history of accounting and compares it to the present. Incorporated in the course lessons are mini activities designed to gauge students' knowledge of primary concepts. By taking this advanced course, students can enjoy about four hours worth of study material.
  • Influences on Accounting Regulation is a free online course that examines financial reporting from its origins to its modern function. Topics covered in this course include Anglo-Saxon accounting, reasons for the creation of financial reporting, accounting rules, and the contingent model of accounting change. The course discusses advanced accounting concepts and features approximately six hours worth of learning materials.
  • Investment Risk students will learn to define financial risk, calculate risk factors and consider investors' aversion to risk. The course provides approximately six hours of advanced-level learning materials, enabling students to strengthen their knowledge of maturity and liquidity, net present value, how to calculate returns, and much more.

University of Alaska - Anchorage

Dr. Fred Barbee of the University of Alaska - Anchorage has made it possible for students and the general public to learn accounting concepts online and free of charge by sharing course materials from his accounting courses. The free courses consist of PDFs of his syllabus, PowerPoint slides of chapter materials, practice exams, and fun activities like flashcards, word searches, and matching terms.

  • Accounting 201: Principles of Financial Accounting provides students with an introduction to principles and practices used in accounting with an emphasis on summarizing accounting data and speaking the accounting language. Concepts covered in this course include how to analyze merchandising operations, prepare financial statements, and report long-term liabilities. The required textbook for this course is Financial Accounting Information for Decisions.
  • The Accounting 202: Principles of Managerial Account course focuses on the decision-making aspects of accounting and closely examines product/service costing, planning, and control as they relate to managerial accounting. In addition to studying PowerPoint slides and taking practice quizzes and exams, students can access several homework assignments. The course explores chapters in the textbook Managerial Accounting in addition to other reading materials.
  • Accounting 316: Accounting Information Systems helps students develop a strong understanding of e-business, data modeling, computer security, the revenue and expenditure cycles, and other related concepts. This free course includes a database design project along with web-based homework assignments and a variety of test questions to confirm students' comprehension.

University of Michigan

Open Michigan, presented by the University of Michigan, offers the public access to a complete collection of open educational resources (OER) in areas that include history, nursing, public policy, education, and even dentistry. This resource enables students to learn via free course videos and lectures as well as former student work.

  • Corporate Finance for Healthcare Administrators focuses on investments, financing, and strategic financial planning in the management of healthcare organizations. Lectures explore capital expenditure analysis, discount rate determination, lease financing, and more. Students can download PowerPoint presentations or watch YouTube videos of the lectures. Lecture notes and worksheets are also available. The course examines 22 chapters in the textbook Principles of Corporate Finance along with other recommended reading materials.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides dozens of free online courses to anyone interested in learning how to start and successfully operate a business. The courses, categorized by different goals like planning and managing a business, cover topics like cybersecurity for small businesses, entrepreneurship for women, franchising, and market research.

  • Introduction to Accounting is a free 30-minute online training course designed to help students learn all about bookkeeping, types of financial statements, how to find the best accounting resources in business, and other basic accounting concepts. Key topics covered include the accounting life cycle, income vs. expenses, liabilities, and profitability over time. In order to view this course in its video format, Adobe Flash is required. Students can also study the course by reviewing transcripts and exploring downloadable PDF and XLT worksheets covering balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and more.

Villanova University

Villanova University's iTunes U offers the public free online access to courses presented by the university's instructors under an audio podcast format. Courses range from politics to mindfulness and are free for anyone with iTunes.

  • Principles of Managerial Accounting is a free 10-lecture series for students interested in learning about the risks of basic business processes, managerial accounting as it relates to decision-making, and the effect of strategy on performance. The course totals more than four hours of study materials. Lectures in this course are only available in an audio format.

University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia's free online courses offered through the edX platform, like the following accounting course, require students to sign up for an account, something that can be accomplished via Facebook, Google, or Microsoft. Students are required to provide a valid email address, first and last name, and country of residence to get started.

  • Introduction to Accounting offers students an introduction to basic accounting concepts with a primary focus on the interpretation of financial statements for major companies like Toyota, Nestle, and Adidas. Concepts explored in this intermediate-level course include business liquidity, financial statement analysis, income statements, and cash flow statements. The course features downloadable video lessons and transcripts, discussion questions, activities, quizzes, and access to course support threads. By auditing the course, students can gain free full access to all aspects of the course, including forums, exams, and materials. A verified certificate for completion of this course is also available for $150.
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