Every business needs a bookkeeper. Financial records need to be accurately maintained or there are severe consequences for the business, so anyone looking after these important business aspects needs to be highly qualified— no exceptions.

However, that means that becoming a bookkeeper can be quite difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. Fortunately, many companies now offer online bookkeeping courses that can make this process much faster and easier.

Bookkeeping classes are an excellent way to prepare yourself for your career in finance. These will teach you everything you need to know about becoming a professional bookkeeper. Plus, they usually provide a certification test at the end, which can be an excellent addition to your professional resume.

Listed below are the 4 best online bookkeeping courses we could find. Each of these have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, but they’re all worth considering if you want to get started in a bookkeeping and accounting-related career!

The 6 Best Online Bookkeeping Classes of July 2021

  • Illumeo Online Bookkeeping Certification Class
  • Penn Foster Bookkeeping Course
  • NACPB Online Bookkeeping Classes
  • Ed2Go
  • QuickBooks Online Bookkeeping Course
  • US Career Institute

#1 Illumeo Online Bookkeeping Certificate Class

Illumeo Review

Every course in the Illumeo bookkeeping program has been developed by highly experienced CPAs. Each instructor has both large and small business accounting experience— so you can rest assured that everything you’re learning in their bookkeeping classes can be applied to your workplace.

The Illumeo Professional Bookkeeping Certification Program consists of 14 different courses. Each course covers a specific aspect of bookkeeping with examples of how it appears in the real world. These smaller, more focused classes are made up of 5 to 7 video lectures, a couple text materials, a practice quiz, and a final exam. It’s not the most robust bookkeeping and accounting program, but it’s effective at teaching you the essentials without burning you out.

Live Professional Bookkeeping Certification - #Illumeo #CPA #CPE #Accounting #Finance #bookkeeping

Illumeo’s full bookkeeping program only costs $499. This provides you with access for a full year to complete the course and earn your certification. If you set a good schedule for yourself then you should easily complete your course load in that time. But if you can’t complete it in time you’ll have to pay $399 to take it again.

Bottom Line

Illumeo offers a great virtual bookkeeping training program for a very reasonable price. Try this out if you’re looking for a more manageable and segmented method to earning a bookkeeping certification.


#2 Penn Foster Bookkeeping Course Review

Penn Foster Review

Penn Foster’s bookkeeping program is self-paced and mobile friendly. Additionally, a significant amount of their material is text-based, so you can even print it out if you want to study offline. However, you’ll still want to connect to Penn Foster’s student portal from time to time in order to watch their supplementary video lectures and keep pace with your customizable schedule.

But just because this bookkeeping school is meant for self-study, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to learn everything by yourself.  Instead, you’ll have access to several different support options from your instructors and other students. Penn Foster employs a dedicated Student Services Department and teachers just a phone call or email away. Plus, each student gains access to a student community where they can communicate with each other about what they’re learning. Because of these 3 systems, you’ll never be forced to figure everything out on your own.

Penn Foster: An Online Learning Experience Like No Other

Bottom Line

This course is a perfect option for anyone who prefers self-study, online at an affordable cost. You can set your own pace and you can always ask for help if you need it.


#3 NACPB Online Bookkeeping Classes

NACPB Review

What makes NACPB courses different from other bookkeeping classes is that they have a stricter structure. Everything is done on a weekly schedule, so you’ll need to have some flexibility in your own schedule to attend their virtual bookkeeping school.

Their bookkeeping course lasts 13 weeks with one session a week. With a primary focus on video lectures, each session also comes with quizzes and textbook passages to consult. This can help break up the monotony of constant video content and help you actually memorize the info they’re providing about the accounting process.

How To Become a Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) Explanation Video

But if you really don’t want to work on a schedule, you can choose a few other courses instead. NACPB provides some extra materials that are on demand and can be self paced. However, I recommend enrolling in their full accounting course for the most in-depth training.

Currently, there are two price options for NACPB’s bookkeeping course. You can pick the essentials, which only includes the online textbook and course materials, or you can pay a little extra to add on a physical textbook. They’re very affordable as is— but if you’re a member of the site you can get an extra discount!

Bottom Line

Choose NACPB if you need a structured accounting course. Signing up for their full course will quickly and effectively prepare you for certification, but it also functions as a great CPE resource for other accounting careers.


#4 Ed2Go

There are a lot of self-paced online bookkeeping courses, but relatively few have an actual instructor to help you through each lesson. This hybrid style of online class is great for students who need a little extra motivation to get through their study materials— which is exactly what Ed2Go provides.

Once you sign up, 140 hours of course content are available for six months of access. This online bookkeeping course will teach you how to fill out payroll records and a few different methods of keeping inventory. Ed2Go’s online course also shows you how to identify errors or potential cases of fraud, and an instructor will provide quick feedback to make sure you’re on track as you study. 

At the end, you’ll be fully prepared to pass one of the most challenging bookkeeping certification exams— the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) exam.

Before you get started, understand that this isn’t a course for beginners. You’re expected to have two years of experience in the industry before you start, and you’ll need to pay a higher tuition that most other courses on this list. But if you can meet these small hurdles, the payoff is an unbeatable certification that can drive your accounting career to new heights!


#5 QuickBooks Online Bookkeeping Course

Quickbooks review

Quickbooks offers a unique benefit to people looking to start working in the accounting department— name recognition. Both their self study and lecture based content will teach you how to effectively perform important payroll accounting tasks, alongside many others, with the aid of their popular bookkeeping software.

In terms of self study materials, Quickbooks offers a set of textbooks and self paced courses, as well as a regular rotation of video webinars and virtual conferences. However, the most impressive material you’ll get with this course is full access to Quickbooks, one of the most popular tools for modern computer accounting.

You can even apply to directly take their certification exam with no study course if you’re already confident in your bookkeeping career knowledge. But if you’ve got more time to learn, then you should try out the webinars. They’re similar to a traditional classroom teaching session, so you can ask questions at any time and get a response from the presenter.

Bottom Line

If you want to get paid to use Quickbooks, it’s a good idea to get certified through them. But if you don’t care about brand recognition, Illumeo offers a bookkeeper certification program with broader applications.


#6 US Career Institute

As its name implies, the goal of this company is to help students of all ages enter rewarding careers. Whether you’re fresh out of high school, college, or the military, this bookkeeping certificate course will make it easier to plan your next step.

Rather than train you for a specific test, this online course is focused on teaching you essential concepts and techniques related to bookkeeping and accounting. You’ll learn how to read financial statements, close books, and understand specific equations used by professionals on a daily basis. Once you’re done, the Bookkeeping Specialist certificate you earn will demonstrate to employers that you can be a valuable asset to their organization.

You’ll spend a lot of time working through study texts in either digital or physical format. USCI also includes supplementary materials like a reference sheet covering different credits and debits, as well as some spreadsheet applications. However, the most helpful extra feature by far is their math tutor; this way, you can make sure you know the right equations and how to properly apply them as a bookkeeper.

Since this is predominately text-based, you might be disappointed if you prefer video lectures— Illumeo is a better fit if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you just want a no-frills crash course that can add an impressive certificate to your resume, you’re in good hands with USCI.


Honorable Mentions

These online classes and study resources aren’t as good as our top picks. However, each of them bring something interesting to the table that may be worth your time. Check out these mini-reviews to learn more!

edX

EdX is exciting because it uses the power of modern technology to provide more students access to higher education. Thanks to their platform, you can enroll in Ivy League college programs that were previously only available to a tiny selection of students. Currently, their catalog of online bookkeeping courses is pretty thin, but it’s a good idea to bookmark their site and check back from time to time— they constantly add new courses from a wide range of universities.

Coursera

Much like EdX, Coursera is a platform for small classes related to several high-skill trades. Their bookkeeping-related courses don’t include a certificate at the end, but they can help you overcome any troublesome knowledge gaps for complicated subjects like Excel, forensic accounting, and financial statements. Not all of their courses are specifically geared towards bookkeeping, but they can help you understand related fields and practices commonly encountered in a bookkeeping career.

LinkedIn

Did you know you could take online classes through LinkedIn? In addition to a helpful networking resource, this social network for professionals offers a few certification programs that can boost your profile and make it more attractive to prospective employers. Taking their 15-hour bookkeeping program will earn you a shiny badge that can make your LinkedIn page stand out from other professionals applying for similar positions, giving you a slight edge. But if you’re not just trying to pad out your resume, you’re better off taking the official Quickbooks course instead.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

Bookkeeping is closely related to accounting; it’s a necessary skill that all professional accountants use. Hence, accountants can find work as a bookkeeper, but not all bookkeepers are qualified to be professional accountants.

How can I learn bookkeeping?

There are several online and in-person bookkeeping courses that can teach you the basics; some will even provide certification that can improve your job prospects. Bookkeeping is also a subject covered in the CPA exam, so you can learn more about it when preparing to take that test.

Which bookkeeping certification is best?

Currently, Illumeo offers the best online bookkeeping certification. It’s primarily lecture-based but also has plenty of practice materials that do an excellent job preparing you for professional bookkeeping work. Alternatively, Penn Foster has an excellent self-paced course that’s ideal for independent study.

Which bookkeeping course should I do?

You should consider taking a bookkeeping that provides you with a certificate upon completion. This will indicate to potential employers that you’ve completed extensive education and are highly knowledgeable in professional bookkeeping. Illumeo is a terrific choice, although Penn Foster is also very effective.

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.