When you run a business, there is no way around bookkeeping. A larger firm may employ an entire team of bookkeepers and accountants, while a smaller company might only have one. In other cases, the business owner may be the one handling the books. As a small business owner, if you think you have the time to manage your own books, you can get started with online bookkeeping classes to grasp the fundamentals. Here are three benefits small business owners may get out of taking online bookkeeping classes: 



#1. Save money on hiring a bookkeeper 

Bookkeeping is detail-oriented work which typically requires a substantial time commitment and focus. While business owners are often advised to work ‘on’ their business rather than ‘in’ it, in some cases, it is practical for a business owner to handle his or her own books and save some money in the process. 


#2. Stay updated on the financial health of your business 

Doing your books on your own will help you become much more familiar with the financial details of your business, which in turn will help you make prudent financial decisions, and better position you to correct any budding problems before they grow out of hand. 


#3. You will be able to train your existing staff to do your bookkeeping 

This is a much cheaper alternative to hiring a professional bookkeeper. You could hire someone who does not have the requisite level of bookkeeping skill or experience and provide training yourself or expand the roles of some of your existing staff by delegating basic bookkeeping skills.  




Where to take bookkeeping classes online 

When it comes to taking online classes, there are several options, and you can try a few to see how you feel about them. In general, these are among the top 8 places to find online bookkeeping classes: 


Option 1: Pen Foster Career School

Pen Foster Career Schools offers adult-level education designed to help students acquire new skills, typically to aid a career change. Among a wide array of online courses, Pen Foster Career School offers bookkeeping classes which can help anyone get to grips with the necessary bookkeeping skills to run a small business. 

Key modules in the bookkeeping course include Business Communications, Manual Accounting, and Computerized Accounting, and the basic admission criteria is a high-school diplomat. 


Option 2: CDI College of Business and Technology  

Canada-based CDI College of Business and Technology offers courses in business, technology and health. In particular, they offer bookkeeping classes designed to lead up to qualifications as an accounting administrative assistant and bookkeeper. Bookkeeping classes at CDI typically last for a period of 30 weeks, during which participants will be taught general accounting and bookkeeping principles and shown how to use popular accounting software such as Simply Accounting, AccPac and QuickBooks Pro. Additional modules cover how to use basic office programs such as MS Word and Excel. 


Option 3: Herzing University  

Along with its full Bachelors of science degree in accounting and associate of applied science in accounting degree, Herzing University offers an online 6-month diploma in bookkeeping and payroll, which covers a total of 12 modules in areas such as accounting, business math, personal finance, etc.  


Option 4: Saylor.org 

You can take several accounting courses ranging from financial accounting to management accounting with Saylor.org, at no cost at all. The courses break down accounting principles in depth, much like a regular bookkeeping or accounting program. Materials are fully available online, and learning is designed to be self-paced.  


Option 5: Alison.com

Alison boasts of having over 10 million learners, and it provides a wealth of professional accounting and bookkeeping resources that will help small business owners get up to speed with bookkeeping and accounting techniques. Courses on Alison.com are free as well. 


Option 6: Udemy.com 

Udemy is another place where you can go to learn almost anything. There are a good number of bookkeeping and accounting courses offered by different accounting professionals on Udemy, and you typically only have to pay a small sum, possibly between $10-$15 to sign up for a course, which in most cases, remains accessible for life.  

Currently, the bestselling accounting and bookkeeping course on Udemy is Accounting Made Simple (Beginner to Advanced), by Professor Steven Ignatovski. 


Option 7: Coursera.org 

Coursera.org is one of the most popular providers of MOOC-type courses from top universities and colleges from all over the world. While Coursera operates much like Alison.com, it offers users the chance to sign up for specializations, which are a collection of related courses designed to give users a well-rounded learning experience in a particular subject or area. You can sign up on Coursera.org for free, and gain access to either individual accounting courses or accounting specializations. 

One free accounting course that is particularly recommended on Coursera, is: “An Introduction to Financial Accounting”, offered by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. 


Option 8: EdX.org 

EdX.org is nearly identical to Coursera.org both in terms of the quality of courses that it offers, and in the mode of delivery. EdX currently offers high-level accounting and bookkeeping classes including courses from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), one of the world’s foremost accounting bodies. There are various other options you might consider as well. 



The options here range from courses offered by Universities to offerings from reputable institutions, individual professionals, and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), and while they will all most likely be sufficient for small business owners, some might be more detailed and rigorous than others. You should explore each option further to determine which is best suited to you and focus on areas which relate to your business.