Take a QuickBooks™ course or hire a trainer? How to decide what works for you.

December 4, 2020

Let’s say you have decided to take on all or part of your bookkeeping. The first thing you need to consider is how to get yourself to the point where you’re able to manage your books both competently and confidently.

There are many options available to teach you how to manage your books. With all of the choices, it can be hard to know where to start.

Most available options should first be sorted into 2 categories:

Generic learning such as learning to use software or taking a bookkeeping course. Think online classes, tutorials or videos, or taking classes at your local community college

Customized learning which teaches you the ins and outs of your own company’s bookkeeping but doesn’t give you broader skills. This means engaging a consultant to assess your needs and make sure you get the knowledge you need.

Here are some things to consider when comparing training options:

  1. Cost – Generic learning tends to be much lower in cost than customized learning.  Check out subscription-based learning platforms such as LinkedIn Learning or Skillshare.  There are free solutions too, such as YouTube videos and free online tutorials.
  2. Generic courses, if online, are often pre-recorded, meaning you can access them at any time and complete them at your own pace.  Did your afternoon meeting cancel?  Call up a learning module and redeem your day by spending some time working on your course.
  3. Customized learning only teaches you what you need to know, so it’s usually faster than generic options.  Also, if you’re new to doing books, it might not be that easy to determine which parts of the software you need to use and when to perform the necessary tasks.
  4. There’s more to keeping books than learning accounting software. Is that $500 desk you just purchased an expense or a capital item? Does your loan payment include both principal and interest? Accounting has rules that you need to be aware of. Customized learning combines software training with bookkeeping concepts.
  5. One of the keys to learning success is having an experienced and qualified teacher who knows how to parse the information and present it to you in manageable bites that flow and make sense. Generic courses and online tutorials are often presented by trained instructors as long as you stay in professional learning sites and credible YouTube presenters. If you decide to seek out customized learning, be aware that Susie the Amazing Bookkeeper who offers software setup & training might be inexperienced at teaching the skills required for her trade. Always ask for references or seek testimonials specifically from clients who have used this source for training services, not accounting work.

At BookSmarts, we have found that generic learning is typically best suited to a learner with some experience in doing books, perhaps using a different accounting software or a manual system.  It really works best when the learner already knows which parts of the software to use and when to complete tasks.  

Complete newbies usually find Customized one-on-one training to be the fastest and most efficient way to learn both software and the bookkeeping principles that apply to their business.  The higher cost is offset by efficient learning and peace of mind that the bookkeeping plan has been professionally prepared.  

For a customized QuickBooks setup, one-on-one training, and ongoing support provided by qualified and experienced instructors and accounting professionals, contact BookSmarts today!

Michele Craig CPA, CMA is the founder of Booksmarts, Central Ontario’s leading supplier of QuickBooks & QuickBooks Online Accounting Training.

A self-professed ‘accounting geek’, Michele is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Certified Management Accountant with over 25 years of experience in implementing and managing accounting systems. She is a certified trainer for adults and an Elite level ProAdvisor for QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online.

Contact her today at 705-796-6979 for a no-obligation consultation.


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