Accounting Essentials

Accounting Essentials Certificate

Whether you’re already in the finance industry, looking to stay up to date on your accounting skills, or are interested in learning more about accounting, Penn Foster Career School's online Accounting Essentials Certificate can help you prepare to refresh your resume. With flexible courses, you can grow your confidence in your skills around your schedule, from home.

  • Offers an accounting-focused curriculum covering essentials like financial management and industry-standard accounting computer applications.
  • Can help students prepare to add credentials to their resume, build new skills, advance in a current role, or pursue further accounting training.
  • Our online programs are flexible enough for you to finish them at a pace that works for you, based on how much time you can dedicate to your coursework each week.
Self Paced

Save up to $120 Ends 6/25/2024

Cost of Program


$997 Save $120


$50/month, Start for as low as $29

1-800-275-4410 (9AM - 9PM ET)

accountant taking notes at desk.

What You Will Learn

  1. How to examine financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations.
  2. How to inspect account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures.
  3. How to create, organize, and maintain financial records.
  4. How to assess financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management.
Full Program Goal & Outcomes

Career Outcomes

The online Accounting Essentials Certificate is geared toward those who have industry experience and want to refresh their skills or students who want to learn new skills. While completion of a certificate-level program alone doesn't qualify you for a job in accounting, adding credentials to your resume can help you prepare to stand out when applying for jobs.

State Licensing Requirements

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in certain fields are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your program. See the State Licensing page for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Accounting Essentials Certificate Curriculum

  • 4 courses
  • 54.7 continuing education units (CEUs)
  • 16 exams
  • 3 graded projects

Estimated completion time:

  • Fast track = 10 months
  • Average time = 11 months

With Penn Foster, you can learn at whatever pace works best for you. Some learners will be more comfortable moving faster, and dedicating more time, and the fast track estimate will apply to them. The average track will apply to most learners who can dedicate a few hours per week to completing their coursework. The estimated completion times are based on completion times for learners enrolled in this program from May 2021 - April 2022, excluding withdrawals.

In our online Accounting Essentials Certificate, you'll focus on learning or refreshing financial and math skills that can help you prepare to better understand finance, add credentials to your resume, or further your accounting education. Your online classes include:

  • Mathematics for Business and Finance
  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Computer Applications in Accounting


Non-US residents: This is a United States-based institution with course materials that are geared toward US job and labor standards. Learners from outside of the US may find that some information and materials will differ from the current standards of their country. Please note, the materials for this program are in English and use the Imperial unit of measurement, not the metric system.

Show Full Curriculum

Accounting Essentials Student Stories

Penn Foster’s Accounting Essentials Certificate Program can help prepare you to refresh your resume with new skills or advance your accounting knowledge. This program has helped recent graduates find new jobs or start their own businesses while learning at their own pace. Learn more about Penn Foster graduates' experiences and how Penn Foster worked for them.
View Student Success Stories
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Patricia W.

Penn Foster Graduate, 2023

“I have completed several programs through Penn Foster and have been able to utilize my education at various jobs”

Looking for training for your workers?

Penn Foster currently works with hundreds of leading employers to meet their unique organizational needs.
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Accounting Essentials Certificate Tuition

Take the first steps toward advancing your career with our online Accounting Essentials Certificate Program. Simply choose from one of our low-cost customized payment plans below and get started today!

Option 1: Pay in full

Save up to $120 Ends 6/25/2024

Cost of Program


$997 Save $120

  • Best price. Best value.
  • Pay the full cost today
  • No monthly payments
Enroll Now

Option 2: Monthly Auto Pay Plan

Save up to $30 Ends 6/25/2024

Cost of Program


$997 Save $30

  • Pay $50 per month
  • Start for $29 down
  • All major credit and debit cards accepted
Enroll Now

Option 3: Monthly Mail Pay Plan

cost of program


  • Pay $50 per month
  • Start for $39 down
  • Mail your payments
Enroll Now

California residents please click here for Required California Disclosures.

Need more info or ready to enroll?

Looking for more information on transfer credits, military benefits, or our refund policy? Find this information and more about tuition and enrollment here.

Tuition & Payment Options

We're here to help. Call 1-800-275-4410 (9AM - 9PM ET)

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Our Proven Accounting Learning Model

Empowering students to reach their professional goals


  • Start anytime
  • No exam due dates
  • Self-paced


  • Digital study guides
  • Self-check quizzes
  • Simulations and videos


  • 24/7 access to online resources
  • Online student community
  • Dedicated Learner Center


  • Expert faculty
  • Dedicated student services
  • Robust learning resources

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Accounting Essentials Certificate FAQs

What jobs can you get with an Accounting Essentials Certificate?

Earning a certificate alone may not qualify you for jobs in the field. Combined with relevant education or work experience, an accounting certificate can help you stand out from other applicants and add credentials to your resume.

What is the difference between an accounting certificate and degree?

While you may cover some similar courses, there are several differences between earning an accounting certificate and earning an accounting degree. A certificate program is generally best suited for students who have accounting or other related work experience as it focuses exclusively on accounting classes. On its own, an accounting certificate won't necessarily qualify you to work in financial roles. A degree in accounting, on the other hand, combines business, financial, and general education classes usually completed over two to four years. Earning an associate degree in accounting can help graduates prepare for entry-level jobs in the field and is best suited to someone new to finance and accounting skills.

Can you become an accountant online?

Yes, it's absolutely possible to become an accountant through an online degree program. However, to become an accountant or CPA, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree in accounting and then sit for relevant industry exams.

What are basic accounting skills?

Understanding accounting requires knowledge of the basic principles of accounting, which include: being able to read and understand an income statement, Balance Sheet, understanding of cash flows and cost accounting. Most accountants have a mind for mathematics, an interest in organization and an eye for detail.