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Take online accounting courses from top institutions like Columbia, Maryland, New York Institute of Finance, and more. Learn about accounts payable, debits and credits, cash flow statements, revenue recognition, the accounting cycle, bank reconciliation, accounts receivable, accounting concepts, and more with online courses.

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What is accounting?

Accounting refers to the practice of keeping and analyzing of financial records. It is defined as the systematic process of recording, categorizing, verifying, and summarizing of financial transactions. An accountant is the professional classification of a person who has obtained the necessary, formal education to become perform the tasks associated with accounting. Accounting will reveal the profit and loss associated with business decisions by showing the assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity for the organization. Bookkeeping and accounting are related functions, but there is a difference between bookkeeping and accounting. Bookkeeping is strictly defined as the recording of financial transactions, whereas accounting is more complex, including creating a general ledger and financial statements, classifying transactions, creating and managing a budget, filing taxes, and instituting financial controls.

Within accounting, two primary classifications are management accounting (or managerial accounting) and financial accounting. Management accounting refers to helping managers understand and operate the business. Functions include working with the management team to forecast and report on profitability, organizing a framework to help managers in various departments keep track of their budget and goals, controlling (which is the process of monitoring and providing feedback for ongoing financial transactions), and decision-making (which is the process of evaluating and choosing from among alternative approaches). Financial accounting refers to the keeping of accurate transactional data for the purpose of reporting a company’s finances to external stakeholders through an income statement or balance sheet.

Cost accounting is a specific process used by accountants to determine the expenses a company incurs to produce its product. This is useful to report on the cost of goods sold on an income statement, or determine the value of inventory. A small business owner to a large corporation can benefit from cost accounting practices. Having accurate financial information and financial reporting can assist when an internal auditor comes in to review your books and tax returns.

Online Accounting Courses

In the United States, and many parts of the world, in order to become a licensed accountant at an accounting firm, an individual must pass what is known as a CPA exam, or Certified Public Accountant’s exam to get an accounting certification. If you are interested in getting an accounting degree or studying an accounting program through online programs, taking a course through edX can help launch your career or give you a better understanding of how accounting works. Taking the course materials can help expose you to the accounting principles used in accounting such as basic accounting, accrual accounting, and more. You will also learn about financial ratios, working capital, statements of cash flow, and more to help boost your accounting skills.

Learn accounting basics using equations and more through free courses covering bookkeeping, management accounting, financial accounting, M&A (mergers and acquisitions), free cash flow modeling, and business accounting fundamentals. Through courses on edX, you can learn how to record and classify transactions, use spreadsheets for accounting, understand financial principles, prepare and read financial statements, reconcile cash, and model free cash flow. Additionally, you can learn about break-even analysis, operating leverage, payroll, double entry bookkeeping and more. Edx has basic accounting courses, intermediate accounting courses, and advances accounting courses. Enroll in a class today to learn the basics of accounting and more today!