20 Free Continuing Education Courses for Accountants

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You never stop learning, regardless of whether you're about to pass the Uniform CPA exam or are currently employed as a CPA. Continuing your professional education to maintain your license throughout your career is what is known as "pursuing CPE."

Though you've likely already built a strong foundation on which to engage as a proficient accountant, continuing education is necessary to help you stay current in a profession like accounting, where rules and concepts are constantly evolving. CPE can be costly, however, and with only one renewal term the expense can progressively increase over time.

Thankfully, there are several free online CPE courses available to accountants, which are typically offered to assist professionals in obtaining their license renewal. The new trends, ideas, and tools for accounting professionals are covered in these free CPE courses, which are often designed as self-study courses. This flexibility enables students to advance their education and strengthen their credentials at their own speed.

This article covers the benefits and location of 20 free CPE courses for CPAs that can help make getting CPE credits easy and cost-effective.

1. Accounting Analytics - University of Pennsylvania via Coursera

Participants in this Accounting Analytics continuing education course uncover how to leverage data and give insight while studying a variety of applications for accounting data. Predictions of consumer behavior, risk management, optimization, business strategy, and principles of corporate finance are all covered in this free CPE course. Participants in these self-study CPE individual courses benefit from accounting analytics, which enables you to put your newly learned information to use when developing a strategy using financial modeling and data available.

This course takes approximately 10 hours to complete, offers a flexible coursework schedule and deadlines, and is available online.

2. Taxes and Decision Making - The University of California, Berkeley via edX

These online CPE courses focus on the process of lowering taxes for a business or an individual while adhering to tax laws and regulations. It is intended to provide a comprehensive understanding of the legal, conceptual, and integrative dimensions of U.S. federal income taxation. This free CPE course covers qualifying business income deductions, tax compliance, and tax planning tactics.

It usually takes 12 weeks to finish the course and get CPE credit. Since it is instructor-led, consistency in progress is assured.

3. Accounting for Decision Making - University of Michigan via Coursera

An in-depth examination of balance sheets and income statements is provided in this online course for CPE credits. You will develop a profound understanding of the various aspects of running a business, such as closing a deal or stocking up on supplies. This free course aids in developing a full understanding of accounting by taking into account a company's typical operations

This course takes approximately 29 hours to complete and offers a shareable certificate and CPE credit upon completion.

4. Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting – Offered by Open Learn

The eight-hour Open University free basic accounting course includes a free statement of participation once it is finally completed. It will teach students:

  • How to put the fundamental abilities needed for accounting and bookkeeping into practice.

  • To describe how the accounting equation and double-entry bookkeeping are related.

  • How to record transactions in the relevant ledger accounts using the double-entry bookkeeping method.

  • How to create a profit and loss account, trial balance, and balance sheet.

This is a great place to start for those individuals looking to understand the fundamentals of accounting.

5. Excel for Accountants: Mapping Table - Udemy

For many accountants, Microsoft Excel is an invaluable resource. In this CPE course, distinguished educator Jeff Leaning teaches how to utilize this tool to make mapping tables that will automate reporting activities. He covers the benefits of keeping source data in tables, utilizing the SUMIFS function to sum transactions, and converting labels using a mapping table.

This course offers practice Excel files with related solutions and is fully available online.

6. Financial Accounting - Babson College via edX

Using this free CPE credit course from Babson College on edX, you can sharpen your financial accounting knowledge. This course goes through how financial statements are put together as well as the kinds of data that are included in each statement. The differences between cases and profits are better understood, as well as how to apply this knowledge to manage growth.

This is a free course that is fully available online. The course is estimated to take 4 weeks to complete (4 to 6 hours per week), where you can progress at your own pace and earn CPE credits.

7. Accounting for Inventory - Saylor Academy via Alison.com

Accounting for purchasing and merchandise integration is critical in every firm. The free CPE credits Accounting for Inventory course covers the inventory valuation principles of FIFO (first in, first out) and the weighted average for total cost assessment. Before purchasing items, the inventory valuation you choose is a crucial option for merchandising business entities.

This course takes 1.5 to 3 hours and offers a flexible schedule.

8. Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination - West Virginia University via Coursera

Fraud is a problem for thousands of businesses around the world. You can learn more about the circumstances surrounding these crimes in the Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination CPE courses. This no-cost CPE course covers fraud detection, fraud investigation, internal control, and forensic accounting and is taught by three renowned instructors: Dr. Richard Riley, Ph.D., John Gill, J.D., CFE, and Dr. Richard Dull, Ph.D.

The course is fully available online and on-demand and offers a shareable certificate and CPE credit upon completion. The duration of the course is approximately 7 hours.

9. How to Read Financial Statements – Corporate Finance Institute (CFI)

This is the perfect course for every business professional. It is designed in an interactive style and contains many practical activities, case studies, and quizzes. With the help of the glossary, accounting factsheet, and reference guides that can all be downloaded for future use, participants will learn how to navigate financial accounts.

You can complete the free online accounting course at your convenience as part of the certification process for the FMVA Financial Analyst Certification.

The duration of this course is 1.5 hours and does not offer certification upon completion.

10. Startup Valuation Methods - Duke University via Coursera

Accountants interested in learning more about the challenges and risks of financing start-up businesses may have a look at the Startup Valuation Methods course from Duke University on Coursera. This online CPE course examines the perspectives of various investor types when it comes to an investing opportunity.

This accounting continuing education course teaches students how to apply Excel's discounted cash flow analysis as well as other fundamental tools for evaluating businesses. Additionally, you'll learn how to use this approach for an entrepreneurial endeavor.

The duration of this course is 6 hours and you will earn a certificate and CPE credits upon completion.

11. Cloud Security Basics - University of Minnesota via Coursera

Accounting must adjust and innovate with the arrival of online technology and apps in order to stay competitive. For accountants who wish to understand and apply traditional principles to current cloud security issues, cybersecurity for the cloud is an intriguing free CPE credits course.

Introduction to Internet Server Security, Cloud Security, A Secure Network for a Private Cloud, Cryptography for Remote Access, and Support are the main areas covered in this course.

12. Accounting System Structure and Information Management - New York Institute of Finance via edX

Beginning with an introduction to financial accounting, this course enables you to comprehend how accounting information aids in decision-making. You will be required to examine the elements of the balance sheet in addition to assessing how transactions affect the balance sheet equation. You will learn about the various forms of ownership and how they differ from sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations through this course.

Fully accessible, cost-free, and with an upgrade option online, this course is perfect for newcomers and busy professionals who need a refresher. The course duration is four weeks.

13. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies - University of California Berkeley via edX

For people who wish to understand the foundations of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry, this online CPE course from the University of California Berkeley on edX is ideal. This and other free courses introduce Ethereum and smart contracts.

This CPE credit course takes six weeks to finish, with a weekly investment of 3 to 5 hours.

14. Advanced Financial Reporting - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera

For professionals who want a look into the preparation of consolidated financial statements and all the fundamental consolidated adjustments that accompany it, this free CPE credits course from the University of Illinois is an excellent pick. It is an integral part of the university's online Master of Science in Accounting program. Accounting for business combinations and consolidated financial statement preparation are taught in this free CPE credit course.

The duration of this course is 25 hours and you receive a course certification and CPE Credits upon completion.

15. Introduction to Payroll Accounting - Learn@Forbes

You will learn about credits, debits, liabilities, and assets as well as how to categorize accounts and record journal entries for payroll transactions in this one-hour introduction to payroll accounting, Additionally, you will discover how payroll procedures affect an organization's operating expenses and develop a useful best practices guide.

With a free 14-day trial of Learn by Forbes, you may access the online accounting course for free. You will be awarded a certificate upon completion, which you may include on your website, résumé, or LinkedIn profile.

16. Supply Chain Excellence - Rutgers University via Coursera

Supply chain executives must handle products, information, and corporate financial fundamentals effectively and efficiently for a supply chain to be successful and efficient. The three different flows that are essential to building excellent supply chains in businesses are covered in this program, which Rutgers University is providing for free online through Coursera.

This course is fully online and provides rated feedback from the instructor and live sessions. It is a 13-hour course and you will receive a certification upon completion.

17. Predictive Modeling and Analytics - University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera

Accounting professionals value data analytics because it enables them to discover key financial and business insights. It enables them to create risk-aware procedures that are more effective. These self-study courses are for you if you wish to delve further into data analytics and use it in your present employment.

Participants will learn about some of the most popular, modern predictive financial modeling approaches and their underlying principles in this course, which offers free CPE credits.

This course takes 11 hours and is part of the Advanced Business Analytics Specialization. You will get course completion certification and CPE credits upon completion.

18. Financial Markets - Yale University via Coursera

The market is always changing. Through these free courses, you should stay current as an accountant on the newest concepts and developments in the financial markets. A possible fit could be the Financial Markets course from Yale University on Coursera.

The concepts, procedures, and structures that enable society to manage business risks are discussed in this free CPE course, which also includes a significant amount of financial analysis.

The self-paced course takes 33 hours to complete and is fully available online.

19. Accounting for the Charity Sector - Alpha Academy via Alison

If you are looking to specialize in nonprofit accounting, try the Accounting for the Charity Sector course from Alpha Academy offered by Alison. You will learn about managing accounts and corporate finances for nonprofits and charitable organizations with this free CPE course. The charity sector is a rising economic sector and offers rewarding job prospects for accounting professionals.

The course is delivered in simple modules. You will be able to get a course certificate for a nominal fee and CPE credits upon completion.

20. Accounting Process - University of California Irvine

 You may learn about financial accounting's basic tasks, tools, and users in the free Accounting Process courses offered by the University of California, Irvine. Financial statements, ethical issues, documenting company transactions, and using credit/debit rules are among other subjects covered in this online CPE course. It takes 9 hours to complete the course and get CPE credits.

Many accounting tenets have changed as the world has embraced technology, making CPE crucial in this regard. The majority of states mandate that CPAs obtain CPE credits in order to renew their licenses and maintain their professional competence. Taking advantage of the free CPE credits available online can help you fulfill your CPE obligations in an affordable manner.