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Welcome to the course

Welcome to bookkeeping for personal and business accounting. This course serves as an introduction to financial accounting and the essential skills and concepts of bookkeeping and accounting.

We’ll start by introducing the basic terminology, purpose and different types of accounting. You will learn about what accounting is, the purposes for which accounting information is used, how to distinguish between management and financial accounting, the components of accounting information, and the main financial reports in which this information is presented to its users.

We’ll then cover some essential numerical skills before we go into the concepts and practical application of bookkeeping and accounting. You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • Fundamental principles that underpin bookkeeping and accounting;
  • Time-honoured rules of double-entry bookkeeping;
  • How to prepare a trial balance;
  • Two principal financial statements: the balance sheet and the profit and loss account.

You will also have a clear understanding of how accountants act as processors and purveyors of information for decision making, of the needs of those who use accounting information, and of the role performed by accountants.

This course is also meant to enable you to understand the relevance of the course to your own career. For example, if you are thinking about becoming a professionally qualified accountant or studying business or management, or using knowledge of accounting in your own work situation or your own business.

Download for Weeks 3 and 4

You’ll see in the Downloads section below a ZIP file containing a Microsoft Excel file - you will need to use this to complete some of the activities in Weeks 3 and 4.

Download the file, unzip it, and save the contents (one .XLSX file) to your computer. You can then open the spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel. If you do not have Excel, you could use the free alternative Open Office, or upload it to Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive.

Learn from the experts and develop your own ideas through conversation

This course has been created by Devendra Kodwani, Senior Lecturer in Finance at the Open University Business School. The Business School have spent the last 30 years refining their distance learning approach which allows managers to continue at work while studying and for you to apply new knowledge and skills right from the start.

Devendra won’t be able to join the discussions themselves or respond to individual comments, but the course encourages a strong learning community. The learning is focussed around conversation and you are encouraged to support other learners, share your own experience and knowledge, and listen to new perspectives. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way.

Introduce yourself

You are one of thousands of learners from all over the world taking part in the course, and we’re sure you all have valuable experience and opinions to share. Some of you have already been getting to know each other in the welcome area before the course started.

So, please take a moment to tell us about yourself. Post a short comment below to answering these questions:

  • What country are you based in?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • State one problem you hope this course will help you solve

Once you’ve posted your comment, spend up to five minutes reading other learners’ comments. Click the ‘Like’ button next to any comments that resonate with your own motivations for joining. You can also click the ‘Follow’ button next to their name if you’re interested in seeing more from them throughout the course.

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This article is from the free online course:

Bookkeeping for Personal and Business Accounting

The Open University