How to learn accounting on your own

Most careers in finance involve finding effective ways to manage an organization’s money to create wealth and increase the organization’s value. Finance majors prepare for this career by studying topics about planning, raising funds, making wise investments, and controlling costs. This knowledge sets them up for a wide array of career paths in all areas of financial services, including corporate finance and investing.

Increasingly, however, finance students who also are skilled in select non-finance areas have the upper hand when it comes to job opportunities.

What Companies Want to See in Finance Curricula

Executives in search of well-rounded finance students look for certain skills. Surveys have found that these executives want schools to place more emphasis on qualitative, strategic, critical decision-making, and communication skills, which are sometimes developed better in non-finance classes.

If you want to get the best possible preparation for the finance world from your undergraduate education, think about classes that may fall outside of the finance curriculum.

Business leaders at Booz Allen Hamilton discussed potential areas of change at graduate business schools. They suggested that more courses are needed to teach graduates to effectively manage individuals and team-driven organizations, provide tools for problem-solving, and provide a better grounding in theory. They also recommend that business schools need more courses outside of the traditional curriculum.

This article was co-authored by Ara Oghoorian, CPA. Ara Oghoorian is a Certified Financial Accountant (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and the Founder of ACap Advisors & Accountants, a boutique wealth management and full-service accounting firm based in Los Angeles, California. With over 26 years of experience in the financial industry, Ara founded ACap Asset Management in 2009. He has previously worked with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the Ministry of Finance and Economy in the Republic of Armenia. Ara has a BS in Accounting and Finance from San Francisco State University, is a Commissioned Bank Examiner through the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, is a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner, has a Certified Public Accountant license, is an Enrolled Agent, and holds the Series 65 license.

There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Accounting, a meticulous recording of financial transactions, is a crucial process required for the success of businesses both big and small. While large businesses will usually employ a sizable accounting department with many employees (as well as doing business with a separate auditing firm), smaller businesses may employ only a bookkeeper. In a single-person business, the business owner may need to handle the accounting themselves, without the help of a bookkeeper. Whether you’re trying to manage your own finances or are interested in finding work as a bookkeeper for another person’s business, learning the basics of accounting can help get you started.

How to learn accounting on your own

Accounting is a discipline that studies the measurement, elucidation or information assurance that will help all decision-makers such as managers, tax authorities, and investors to make resource allocation decisions within companies, organizations, and government agencies. Unfortunately, some people still find it challenging to master accounting because many things and points about accounting must be memorized and applied as if accounting is a dizzying science. If you already know the accounting keys, accounting is no longer complicated for you. Therefore, here we are going to find out the easy way to understand basic accounting for beginners.

The Keys to Learn Accounting for Beginners

One of the vital business success factors is the accuracy of the record of its financial transactions. No matter how small or big a company or business, accounting management is the key to get the next level. You may also know that almost all large companies employ a lot of accounting talents. Instead, some of them are doing business with an independent auditing firm. If you are running a small store, you may employ only a single bookkeeper. When your company is getting more extensive, you may also use an accounting software program to record all financial transactions. So, accounting is vital in almost all of the business aspects.

What is Accounting?

To learn to account, of course, a beginner must understand the meaning and intent of accounting. Besides, there’s no doubt that it is essential to know and understand what accounting is. In general, accounting means recording, classifying, summarizing, processing, and presenting data, transactions, and events related to finances so that it can be used by a person who is being concerned, easily understood for decision making, and many other purposes. If the understanding of accounting has been adequately understood, it will be easy to learn the next accounting points. So, understanding accounting meaning is a must to learn accounting for beginners .

Account Name and Number with Its Normal Balance

Accounting consists of many account names . In which, each account name has an account number along with its normal balance . The function of the account is to facilitate in preparing the financial statements systematically. At the same time, its normal balance is the balance that places an account in a debit or credit position. The following are some accounts that every accounting learner must memorize.

Account Prefix
Asset 1 Debit
Debt 2 Credit
Capital 3 Credit
Income 4 Credit
Cost or Expense 5 Debit

The above account numbers will evolve to match the type of transactions and company requirements. For example, a ‘Cash’ account that is part of an asset, company A gives account number ‘101’, or ‘Revenue Lease’ account, then, company B assigns ‘405’ as the account number of the income. In general, those account numbers are divided as follows:

  • Asset Accounts are generally using 100 to 199 account numbers.
  • Debt Accounts usually are using 200 to 299 account numbers.
  • Capital accounts usually are using 300 to 399 account numbers.
  • Revenue Accounts usually are using 400 to 499 account numbers.
  • Costs or Expenses Accounts usually are using 500 to 599 account numbers.

Those account numbers memorizing is the easy way to learn accounting for beginners.

Understanding the Basics of Accounting

The summary of the crucial points of accounting is in the basics of accounting. The basics of accounting must be completely understood in order to become a reliable accountant. So, an excellent way to learn accounting for beginners is to understand the basics of accounting. Accounting basics include the concept of debit-credit, journalizing, posting the journal to the ledger, making trial balance, and presenting financial statements. In addition, you also need to understand the basic of the accounting equation . The basic of the accounting equation is the relationship between assets, debts, and the capital owned by the company. The purpose of the basic of the accounting equation is as the basis for recording in the accounting system which means that every time a transaction occurs, it should be recorded in two aspects, namely the left side ( assets ) and the right side ( liabilities ).

The basic of the accounting equation is the balance between the assets side and the liabilities side. If there are changes due to the occurrence of financial transactions, then the balance should also be maintained. This is the basis for being able to work on accounting starts from the journal entry to the presentation of financial statements .

Understanding the Accounting Cycle

Another primary learning point of accounting for beginner is to understand the cycle of accounting. Accounting Cycle is the steps that you must pass to produce accounting information in the right and systematic financial statements. Learn how to create a financial statement . The meaning of accounting cycle is the process of preparing financial statements that can be accountable and acceptable. The accounting cycle consists of 3 groups of stages. They are;

  • Recording and Classification
  • The Preparation of Financial Statement Summary
  • The Preparation and the Presentation of Financial Statements

In fact, understanding the basics of accounting for beginners is not as difficult as it has been commonly imagined by students who are in the early stage to learn to account. Moreover, nowadays, there are much free accounting software available to either facilitate every manager or businessperson in carrying out the actual accounting process as a learning tool of accounting for beginners. Using an accounting software program helps you easily carry out the accounting process, quickly, accurately, and comfortably. You can keep books, journals, to financial reports anywhere and anytime with an accounting software program. However, whether they are managers, businesspersons, or even in the early stage in learning basic accounting for beginners, you need to know and understand the accounting core subjects .

Steps to Learn Accounting for Beginners

So, to learn accounting for beginners must be passing the steps of accounting basics “This following is the list of the learning steps to master accounting for beginners;

  1. Accounting Learning Preparation
  2. Learn General Journal
  3. Learn General Ledger
  4. Learn trial balance
  5. Learn Adjusting Entries
  6. Updating the Ledger
  7. Learn Income Statement
  8. Learn Closing Entries
  9. Updating the Ledger (again)
  10. Learn Capital Statement
  11. Balance Sheet


In general, the easiest way to learn accounting for beginners is to understand examples and practices. Learning with a very thick accounting book will, of course, be difficult, and most likely can forget too. So, looking at the examples of bookkeeping and at the same time practising it would be easier to learn accounting. Accounting books can be used as a reference to learn accounting and practices and the guides for managers in finance careers .

Published Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, 1:41 pm

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It is a known fact that the easiest way to learn anything is through practice. Accounting is a very important procedure for businesses whether it is a big business or a small business. Businesses that are big may require more than one employee to record the massive financial information and settlements of the businesses. For small businesses, they do not require many employees. A bookkeeper is enough or even the owner of the business is able to manage and record their own financial transactions. Therefore, having this accounting skill is important. This article will review ways in which one can learn accounting on their own.The first step one should make is being informed on the basic concepts of accounting and learning about the 10-Ks.

These Basics of Accounting Include

  • Book keeping. In business, there have to be transactions. These transactions have to be recorded in a system. This can lead to the creation of several accounts. Therefore, one also has to be conversant with dual entry.
  • Creating spreadsheets. This helps accountants to keep records of numbers in graphs and charts. They can also do their calculations using the spreadsheet.
  • Debiting and Crediting. If there is dual entry, debiting and crediting has to be done.
  • Ledgers, financial statements, balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements. All these are some of the important concepts in accounting. One has to learn how to create them as well as how to maintain them.

The concepts above are commonly applied in accounting. One can learn them by;

1. Reading Accounting Books

Accounting books can be found in the library, in the book stores and even online in sites like Amazon, eBooks, and Text Book Centre.

Some of the best books to learn accounting with are;

  • Intermediate Accounting written by Kieso, Weygandt, and Warfield. This book teaches one to leverage programs of accounting that are used each and every day in accounting like GLS and Excel.
  • Principles of Accounting written by Needles, Powers and Susan are also a great book to use. It uses illustrations that are applied in real situations to teach the accounting principles and this helps a learner to think censoriously. A learner is able to know how some of the decisions made in businesses lead to the different financial statements that these businesses record.
  • Financial & Managerial Accounting, The Basis For Business Decisions written by Jan Williams, and Mark Bettner is also a great accounting book. It expounds on the basics of accounting. It also covers in length accounting standards like Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
  • It is also important to be aware of the common mistakes and errors that are made in accounting. One can get this information from these two books; Financial Fine Print written by Michelle Leder, and Financial Shenanigans written by Howard Schilit.

2. Registering for Online Accounting Courses

One can also opt to register for accounting courses and be taught accounting by skilled professionals. Learning accounting from online classes saves one’s time and also extra costs.

3. Use of Softwares

One can also use accounting software to learn accounting on their own. They only need to download a software, sign up for it and then use it with any company of their choice. Some of the best softwares include QuickBooks, Zoho Books, Accounting By Wave, and Dynamics. Learning accounting using software is faster than reading accounting books.

In conclusion, the options discussed above are some of the methods that one can use to learn accounting on their own at the comfort of their homes. It saves one’s time and also expenses. The more one practices accounting, the more they perfect their accounting skills.

How to learn accounting on your own

Accounting is a very meticulous recording of all the financial transactions. It is a very curious process which requires you to succeed in business. The large businesses will usually employ a sizeable department to make sure that they are managing their own finances better. There are certain tips that can help you get started.

Understand the difference between bookkeeping and accounting

Bookkeeping and accounting are terms often used interchangeably. The skills and responsibilities required to be different. Try to keep a better record of sales to make sure that you have your day to day work completed on time. Also, make sure that you can create and analyze financial statements which requires accuracy and proper reporting.

How to learn accounting on your own

Become familiar with creating spreadsheets

This is one of the most valuable way to keep the track of numbers in a graph. This creates you to have a proper finance spreadsheet. All you have to do is learn the basis, to help you create a good spread sheet. If you want to brush up on your accounting skills, pearson myaccountinglab answers is your best solution.

Read books on accounting

One of the best ways to learn accounting is to make sure that you can read up on as much as you can. Start with an entry level books which can be a stepping stone for you. This gives a very good information which is well researched and informed.

Practicing accounting basics

This is one of the easiest ways to make sure that the knowledge you have gained can come to good use. Try understand certain steps and you be able to record your transactions much better.

  • One of the best ways to make sure that you have the right transaction is to make sure that you understand dual entry bookkeeping.
  • Generally these dual entry records can be made by practicing debits and credits.
  • It is a better idea that you start with a general ledger where you can record any transaction.
  • Try to understand the type of trade which will give you a better idea into the right payment.

How to learn accounting on your own

Learn financial statements

Learning financial statements will reflect on your current account and healthy of the business. These Financial statements are created to make sure that the information contained is not lost.

  • Learn how to create an income statement and record the profits from the revenue, expenses, etc.
  • A balance sheet is important to make sure that your business is moving according to the plan.

Generate a statement of cash flow to make sure that you are creating a good financial activities over a specific period of time.

Accounting i a key proce and one of the fundamental factor of ucce ful bu ine , regardle of the ize and turnover of the company. While large companie have quite numerou accounting department on their


  • Steps
  • Advice
  • What do you need

Accounting is a key process and one of the fundamental factors of successful business, regardless of the size and turnover of the company. While large companies have quite numerous accounting departments on their staff (or use the services of third-party accounting and auditing firms), small offices can only have one accountant. When working as an individual entrepreneur, it is often necessary to have the skills of independent accounting without the help of specialists. In this case, it may become necessary to understand accounting in order to conduct it yourself. In addition, a good knowledge of accounting can be used for employment as an accountant.


    Get an accounting book for beginners. If you do not have any knowledge in this area at all, then reading such literature is a great start. The best books for building beginners, such as Accounting for Dummies, can be found at any bookstore. Studying this book and doing the training exercises in it will give you a basic understanding of the fundamental principles of accounting.

If possible, try to apply the knowledge gained to your own business. If you are studying accounting to improve your own business, then try applying your skills to real life. For example, you can switch from a single entry system to a double entry system. A double-entry system, in which each transaction is recorded in both debit and credit, is necessary for larger companies, as it allows them to exercise more complete control over financial information. In addition, apply the knowledge gained in related areas, for example, control of cash transactions.

If you have a desire, try taking a job as an accountant. If you have learned accounting so well that you can work as an accountant, then consider the options for starting a career in this field. For starters, you can get a job under the guidance of a more experienced accountant. You can also try to find a job as an assistant, where the initial load will not be so big as to gain experience and skills.

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This web-based training package is ideal for entrepreneurs or anyone else that wants to start learning how to do their own financials. It includes four courses, each valued at $200 on their own, that introduce students to the basics and shows them how to read statements, make a budget, forecast financials, and more. And since each course is delivered by an actual CPA — Robert Steele, who comes highly rated — students will be learning from one of the best resources that the web has to offer in this area.

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Tap into the wealth of resources you’ll need—getting started is easy


So you want to become a financial expert, but you don’t know where to start? Have no fear, because a wealth of information is at your fingertips, and getting started is easy. From a primer on personal finances to advanced securities analysis, anyone interested in learning can get access to the necessary resources.

Key Takeaways

  • A wealth of educational resources is available to anyone who wants to learn about finance.
  • Libraries, bookstores, and online sites can provide leads to thousands of books on every financial topic imaginable. A good basic one to start with: The Richest Man in Babylon.
  • Universities, as well as Investopedia Academy, offer free online courses on a myriad of financial topics.
  • A subscription to a publication like TheWall Street Journal or Barron’s, conversations with financial services professionals, and taking courses at the CFA Institute can all further your education.

Read Up on Financial Topics

The library, your local bookstore, and multiple online retailers offer literally thousands of books on every conceivable financial topic. From financial history and Wall Street villains to hedge fund analysis and day-trading strategies, there’s a book for every topic.

For a basic introduction to sound financial concepts, you can’t do much better than The Richest Man in Babylon. It’s a tiny little book, written in an uncomplicated style. It also captures the wisdom of the ages in an easy-to-follow manner.

Once you’ve covered that, the famous “. for Dummies” series provides insight into everything from budgeting to mutual funds. Managing Your Money for Dummies and Mutual Funds for Dummies are two titles that will help you expand your knowledge of basic concepts.

By the time you finish these three books, you are likely to have identified specific items that you would like to learn more about. For these inquiries, there’s no better place to go for fast, easy access to information than online. Investopedia and similar sites provide access to a wealth of information that will keep you busy for weeks, if not months, including newsletters that will keep you updated on a daily basis. Investopedia’s journeys are particularly notable, as they provide an in-depth look at a wide variety of topics.

How to Become A Self-Taught Financial Expert

Google and other search engines let you hone in on specific topics, and many mutual fund companies and financial services firms offer a wealth of free information. A visit to their websites can offer everything from general education on a wide array of products to economic forecasts and economic insights from professional market-watchers. With a just a little effort, you can identify and follow comments from your favorite economists, investment strategists, portfolio managers, and other experts.

Take a Finance Course

Thousands of in-person and online courses are available to help educate you about finance and investing. Many universities offer free or paid online courses that you can take at any time. We created the Investopedia Academy in 2018 to help people learn everything from investing, trading, and money management to personal finance.

Hit the Books Again

After you have covered the basics and want a solid overview at a more detailed level, The Wall Street Journal Guide to Understanding Money & Investing is a great place to start. When you are done with that, your local library or bookstore will contain a variety of magazines covering both timely and general financial services topics.

When you are ready to learn about equities, Value Line is a great research and publishing firm that provides an introduction into how you can begin to research and analyze stocks. Even if you choose not to conduct your own stock analysis, the website is worth a visit.

If you made it this far, you are clearly serious about your endeavor. Now it’s time to make your quest a daily habit. Subscribing to the The Wall Street Journal will give you a daily overview of the issues impacting global business operations. The WSJ also has a great “Money and Investing” section. Barron’s is another fine publication read by many professionals in the financial services industry. There are many other top-quality publications dedicated to various aspects of the financial services world. Find one that matches your interests and read it.

Some libraries provide access to Value Line for free. If your local library does not, then the service is available by subscription.

Talk to Financial Services Professionals

Once you have a solid understanding of the various aspects of the financial services world, it is time to spend some time talking to the experts. Financial services professionals make a living with their expertise and can help you learn about everything from mortgages and debt management to retirement planning and estate planning.

Some of these topics are covered in seminars, others in one-on-one consultations. You can even pick up a thing or two just by having an informal conversation. Talk to a professional financial advisor, talk to your banker, talk to your accountant, and talk to your attorney. Then listen and learn as they share their knowledge.

Ready for More?

Like what you have seen and heard and are ready for more? The CFA Institute, a nonprofit organization that offers education, a code of ethics to follow, and several certification programs (including the chartered financial analyst (CFA) and the certificate in investment performance measurement (CIPM) designations), provides access to its curriculum.

The CFA program is an extremely well-regarded curriculum. If articles with titles like “Evaluating Portfolio Performance” by Jeffery V. Bailey, Thomas M. Richards, and David E. Tierney, and “Investment Performance Measurement: Evaluating and Presenting Results,” Philip Lawton and Todd Jankowski, eds. (Wiley 2009) capture your interest, then the CFA Institute has a reading list that you are sure to like.

An Evolving Industry

The financial services field is constantly evolving and changing. Recent decades have seen the rise of exchange traded funds (ETFs), the emergence of cryptocurrencies, and a host of other developments. Change is par for the course as the industry adapts to dynamic economic conditions and changes in what investors want and how they wish to deploy their assets.

In this environment, there is always something new to consider, something old to revisit, and something interesting just beyond the horizon. Keeping up with the industry is an important part of a financial services professional’s life, and continuing education is required for many of these experts to maintain their credentials. What this means for the self-taught expert is that you will always have an opportunity to add to your body of knowledge.

How to learn accounting on your own

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