Online course

Bookkeeping for Personal and Business Accounting

Learn how to balance your books and develop the skills to manage finances in personal and business environments.

Bookkeeping for Personal and Business Accounting

Get practical financial skills to help you balance the books

Discover how money flows in personal and business environments and develop the basic skills to manage your finances with this online accounting and bookkeeping course from the Open University.

You’ll master common terms and gain the ability to put your knowledge into practice. After this course you’ll be able to perfectly balance your books and understand how concepts of profit and loss lead to revenue or debt.

This course is not facilitated. Learners are encouraged to support one another, share personal experience and knowledge, and see new perspectives.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1 - financial accounting and reporting

  • The reasons and objectives of management and financial accounting, including stewardship, control and accountability
  • Key terminology including income and expenses, assets and liabilities, profit and loss statements and the balance sheet

Week 2 - essential numerical skills

  • Intermediate numerical skills including BODMAS, ratios, percentages, fractions and negative numbers
  • The test of reasonableness and the table of equivalencies
  • Manipulating equations and formulas

Week 3 - double-entry and the balance sheet

  • Business entity and the dual aspect concepts
  • The relationship between the accounting equation and double-entry bookkeeping
  • Recording transactions in the appropriate ledger accounts using the double-entry bookkeeping system
  • Simple balance sheets in a vertical format
  • Balancing off accounts at the end of an accounting period
  • Preparing a trial balance
  • T accounts, debits and credits
  • Double-entry and the profit and loss account
  • The effect of profit on the accounting equation

Week 4 - accounting

  • Income and expense accounts
  • Accounting for closing stock
  • The account equation and double-entry rules
  • Trial balance nominal ledger accounts

When would you like to start?

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe and define bookkeeping and accounting
  • Explain the general purposes and functions of accounting
  • Explain the differences between management and financial accounting
  • Describe the main elements of financial accounting information – assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses
  • Identify the main financial statements and their purposes
  • Apply the essential numerical skills required for bookkeeping and accounting
  • Explain the relationship between the accounting equation and double-entry bookkeeping
  • Record transactions in the appropriate ledger accounts using the double-entry bookkeeping system
  • Balance off ledger accounts at the end of an accounting period
  • Produce a trial balance, balance sheet and a profit and loss account

Who is the course for?

This accounting course is for anyone wanting an introduction to bookkeeping and managing finances. It might be of particular interest to small business owners, people who are self employed or those wanting to better manage their own finance. You don’t need any previous experience.

What software or tools do you need?

You can largely work from pen and paper in your notebook, and for more complex tasks use a standard calculator, or if you have a smartphone, the calculator app there. In the second half of the course there is a pre-made spreadsheet template for you to download and work through the exercises in Microsoft’s Excel, or free online software like Google Spreadsheets.

Who will you learn with?

Devendra Kodwani

I am Senior Lecturer in Finance at the Open University Business School. I teach and research in accounting, finance and corporate governance.

Who developed the course?

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

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  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime