8 Best Accounting Websites to Help Investors Understand and Interpret Accounting
If you have been reading Old School Value for a while now then you already know that Jae is an advocate of financial education.
At old school value, we are proud to say that most contributors (including Jae) didn’t have any formal course in accounting. He is self-taught along with many value investors out there.
But there’s always a common problem people reach.
The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was interpreting the financial statements for investing. To do so, you have to have a firm understanding of accounting.
After all, accounting is the language of business.
Accounting is also the language of business and investing. Don’t be frightened or discouraged even if you are not good at math because accounting is just a bunch of additions and subtractions.
If you are over the age of 8, you are qualified to master accounting.
The reason why I compiled these accounting websites is to help people learn more about accounting.
First, it would be remiss of me to ignore the OSV series on investing accounting.
The criteria for selecting this list of accounting sites are simple:
- Has to be focused on accounting education. Not on the latest accounting news.
- Useful and educational for investors
- Not related to tax accounting or personal accounting
We literally went through 200 accounting sites but like most things on the internet, they weren’t very good or just dead.
If you find yourself uncomfortable with interpreting what certain parts of the statements mean, these sites should help you.
Now, let’s get to it.
The Top Sites to Learn Accounting
#1 Coursera Accounting Courses
Both links are to a free course presented by the Wharton school. I.e. quality education at the best price: FREE.
This is where you can really pick up fluency in financial accounting.
You’ll learn accounting from the balance sheet and how to read the balance sheet.
In the Financial Accounting course, you’ll learn about the balance sheet, accrual accounting, cash flows and working capital as well as how to read the annual report.
The Corporate Finance course has more technical stuff like calculating present values, net present value and capital asset pricing models.
Both don’t require anything more than basic math skills.
#2 Accounting Coach
This is a free and fee based website with really good accounting definitions.
There are lots of quizzes, exercises and puzzles to keep your brain on tippy toes.
This just missed the #1 spot.
#3 Bean Counter
This site is old school.
Looks like it’s from the early century still. But as long as the content is rich, it passes my test.
The definitions and explanations are easy to understand. I know that accounting jargon gets technical and some sites do a horrible job of speaking in everyday language.
For example, look at how they present the definition of Asset.
Formal Definition: The properties used in the operation or investment activities of a business.
Informal Definition: All the good stuff a business has (anything with value). The goodies.
#4 Learn Accounting
Very well written and detailed explanations. Gets technical but there are lots of tables and illustrations to help you get the point.
Since it reads more like a text book, if you need something more easy to understand, try Bean Counter up top.
When you get more comfortable with the jargon and language, make sure to come back to this one.
#5 My Accounting Course
Another great resource for novices to learn the basics of accounting.
Very much like Learn Accounting along with CPA exam courses and quizzes. There’s a lot of bookkeeping stuff too which is more for practicing accountants.
My Accounting Course aims to be the:
Accounting Training for the rest of us! Hi, I’m Shaun. I’m a CPA with 5 years experience in Public Accounting. Like many of you, I know from experience that accounting can be difficult to understand. Textbooks can be difficult to read and give you more information than necessary to understand accounting concepts.
The website is written in everyday language which makes it great for ESL learners. Nothing fancy just the basics.
The Top General Accounting Blogs
An accounting news site authored by Francine McKenna.
Quick bio about the blog:
specialized news site about the business of the Big 4 audit firms. Stories explore the role, responsibility and regulation of the audit/accounting industry in the global capital markets in an independent, objective, and usually critical way.
Although this is more a news and what’s going on in the industry type blog, there are quite a few articles related to investors.
#6 Grumpy Old Accountant
Definitely one of the best accounting/investing blogs out there.
This is as good as it gets once you really dive into company financials, cross checking numbers and looking for fraud or mistakes.
The site is authored by Dr. Catanach with 5 years of experience audit manager with KPMG and six years in the financial services industry.
Dr. Catanach’s 35 years of practical business and academic experience gives him a unique historical perspective missing in many large accounting and finance organizations that suffer from management and staff turnover.
#7 The Blunt Bean Counter
For a sarcastic and humorous take on finance, income taxes, and psychology on money, the Blunt Bean Counter has got you covered.
The blog is authored by:
a Chartered Professional Accountant and a partner with a National Accounting Firm in Toronto. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations.
Since there are also many small business owners and money managers, this one deals with some tax planning and wealth planning topics that will help.
#8 FEI Daily
Last on the list is FEI (Financial Executives International)
Quick financial reporting with insights into accounting and regulatory developments.
So this one doesn’t quite hit all the checkpoints to make the list, but you can get a sense of how companies are reporting and the trends that are going on.
This one requires more intuition to make it useful for investing.
Is There an Accounting Site that Should be On This List?
If you know a great accounting website that is not on our list, please reply with the URL.
We’d love to check it out and see whether it adds value for investors.