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A few weeks ago, we talked about some resources that can help you turn your passion into a startup How to Turn Your Passion into a Startup: 7 Tools to Help You Do It How to Turn Your Passion into a Startup: 7 Tools to Help You Do It Whether you dream of turning your talent for baking, graphic design or programming into a full-time job, technology makes it easier than ever to transform your dream into a profitable company. Read More . Today, we’re going to talk about a few ways that you can save your passion/startup some money by honing your accounting skills.

Thanks to Udemy and Coursera’s inexpensive and free high-quality online courses, it’s easier than ever to be your own CFO for your new or existing business.

Courses range from accounting basics to specialized skills and software tutorials. By training yourself in everything you need to know about business accounting 5 Worthy Cloud-Based Accounting Apps For Your Small Business 5 Worthy Cloud-Based Accounting Apps For Your Small Business In an industry that has traditionally been dominated by expensive and resource-hungry desktop programs there are now an ever increasing number of lightweight yet powerful cloud-based apps. We pick five worthies. Read More , you’ll be able to save yourself money on professional accounting fees.

Read on to discover 12 helpful courses to improve your accounting skills.

The Basics

Accounting in 60 Minutes: A Brief Introduction ($19)

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With tons of positive reviews as well as minimal time and financial investment, you don’t need to hire an accountant to tell you this course provides a lot of bang for your buck.

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“Accounting in 60 Minutes” would be helpful for entrepreneurs at all levels of experience, from the beginner intimidated by the very mention of the word ‘accounting’ to the experienced business owner who needs to brush up on the basics.

There are eight sections consisting of one to three short video lectures. All of the videos are under 10 minutes, so even the busiest business owner could squeeze them in during short breaks. Additional learning materials include a nine-page Ebook on balance sheets, a one-page handout on debits and credits, and four very brief quizzes to test your comprehension.

Introduction to Accounting: The Language of Business (Free)

Introduction to Accounting

This course was developed from Brigham Young University’s Introductory Accounting class, so you get college-level material for free 8 Awesome Websites to Take Free College Courses Online 8 Awesome Websites to Take Free College Courses Online Read More . Any entrepreneur looking to save money on professional accountants can be empowered by this class to handle her business’s finances herself.

“The Language of Business” is particularly relevant to business owners because it approaches accounting as the foundation of business, not just a boring activity of tracking numbers in spreadsheets.

You’ll need more time to complete this course — there are more than 20 hours of materials — but if you invest your time now you’ll save money on accounting fees later.

With a nice combination of video lectures and handouts, as well as a range of practice problems to apply what you’ve learned, “The Language of Business” offers something for everyone.

Learn Accounting. Understand Business. ($199)

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In Udemy’s range of free and paid classes, this course is among the more expensive. However, it comes with its own textbook and, these days, $199 is about the average cost of a college textbook, alone.

As with the previous course, “Learn Accounting” is aimed at making this specialized and technical skill accessible to anyone trying to be their own accountant for business and personal purposes.

Additionally, this course is designed for the business owner of today, whether you’re monetizing your blog, opening an online store or running a brick-and-mortar small business.

The 96-page textbook is a great resource for use during the class and afterward. Small sections are assigned to be read in between video lectures 5 Great Sites with Free Video Lectures from Top Colleges 5 Great Sites with Free Video Lectures from Top Colleges Read More . There are six sections and 32 materials in total.

Finance for Non-Financial Professionals (Free)

Coursera - Finance for Non-Financial Professionals

Once you understand the basics of accounting, you can add principles of finance to your entrepreneurial acumen.

This course will help you guide your business to a strong future through financial planning, forecasting and budgeting, as well as other finance strategies. You’re already your own boss; “Finance for Non-Financial Professionals” will help you become your own CFO.

Divided into four sections, the workload is very manageable. All of the video lectures, handouts and quizzes add up to about two and a half hours.

Finance and Accounting for Startups ($99)

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Are you working on a startup? This course applies finance and accounting basics specifically for the needs of such entrepreneurs.

Whether it’s your first company or you just want to handle your own accounting for the first time, “Finance and Accounting For Startups” will help you with every step in the process. This includes financial reports, budgeting, growth, capital and IPOs. In just seven and a half hours you can learn about the complete life cycle of a startup.

With 75 lectures, this class is comprehensive but manageable — no individual material is too long to be completed in one sitting. In addition to videos, there are many helpful handouts summarizing key concepts and providing examples of skills in action.

Shark Accounting (Free)

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This is another great resource specifically for startup entrepreneurs and, best of all, it’s free. It also takes only about two hours to complete, so it would be a helpful primer for beginners or a refresher course for entrepreneurs working on subsequent new startups.

There are 17 course materials. After completion, you’ll be ready to start your business and answer tough questions from the venture capitalists you want to attract.

Intermediate

Advanced Finance and Accounting for Startups ($49)

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Once you’ve mastered the basics, you may want more training to manage your company’s accounting.

This course is a continuation of “Finance and Accounting for Startups.” It covers subjects of particular relevance to new and expanding businesses such as deferred revenue and derivatives.

Real-life examples and pro/con analyses will be especially helpful to entrepreneurs making important financial decisions for their companies.

It will take you about nine hours to complete “Advanced Finance and Accounting for Startups.” In addition to video lectures there are handouts and quizzes to supplement your learning.

Managerial Accounting: Cost Behaviors, Systems, and Analysis (Free)

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Coursera offers two free managerial accounting classes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The first one focuses on cost analysis, which will help you make decisions about the future of your company as it grows. You may not need to know every single detail, but the course is free so there’s no pressure to use every single material. At the beginning of each module there is a helpful overview, so you can skim to pick and choose the topics most relevant to your needs.

There are four modules totaling five hours of work. Each module begins with an overview and assigned reading, progresses through video lectures and ends with a summary of the material covered and a quiz to test your knowledge.

Managerial Accounting: Tools for Facilitating and Guiding Business Decisions (Free)

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This is the second part of UIUC’s managerial accounting course. Here you’ll learn how to use the information you gather as an accountant to guide decision-making for your company’s successful future.

Specifically, this course will help you budget and plan, as well as evaluate the difference between your business’s anticipated performance and how it actually did.

There are just over eight hours of learning materials, which follow the same helpful structure as the first course.

Financial Evaluation and Strategy: Corporate Finance (Free)

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Last but not least, complete your education in financial planning, analysis and decision-making with this course.

It covers different aspects of strategizing such as risk management and corporate mergers. It also dips into corporate investing.

At the end of the course, you’ll develop a proposal for the financial restructuring of an existing company. Applying what you’ve learned to a real-world task like this is always a helpful way to internalize knowledge.

There are four modules intended for weekly completion. All readings come from a free textbook.

Software Help

Learn QuickBooks Pro 2014 the Easy Way ($147)

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Quickbooks QuickBooks Self-Employed Takes the Hassle Out of Accounting QuickBooks Self-Employed Takes the Hassle Out of Accounting QuickBooks Self-Employed is designed for simplicity; more specifically, tax-related matters. Read More is the most popular software for business accounting. Whether you’re a new user or want to learn more about it, this course will make you an expert with its comprehensive video coverage of every facet of Quickbooks.

There are 76 lectures in total across 19 sections. At the end, there is a 43-question quiz covering all the material in the course.

From Xero to Hero — Mastering Cloud Accounting ($79)

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Using accounting software Wave Accounting: Free Cloud-Based Accounting Software For Small Businesses Wave Accounting: Free Cloud-Based Accounting Software For Small Businesses Read More can help you manage your business’s finances while still saving money on the fees of a professional accountant.

This course will help you gain competence with Xero, an online alternative to the more widely known QuickBooks software.

Xero to Hero would be helpful both for people who’ve already decided to use Xero as well as those still considering it.

There are over two hours of video lectures as well as quizzes to test your knowledge.

Start Learning Today. Hire Yourself Tomorrow

An accountant’s hat is just one of many you may need to wear as you build your business from scratch.

Once you’ve sharpened your financial skills, you may want to seek further training in entrepreneurship. For example, there are many global business skill programs that could help you gain the cultural understanding necessary to succeed in today’s global and digital economy.

Many of the most successful entrepreneurs, such as Steve Jobs, were largely self-taught. The Internet makes it easier than ever to follow in their footsteps.

Are your accounting skills up to scratch? Have you taken the self-taught approach with any online course? Give us your best tips.

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