U.S. Bookkeeping Certification Programs

by Jenn
(Atlanta, GA)

U.S Bookkeeping Certification Programs

U.S Bookkeeping Certification Programs

I'm wanting to get a licensed certification and have researched 2 schools. AIPB & NACPB.


AIPB sounds pretty legit after reading many reviews ... but NACPB sounds too good to be true?

I can't find any real reviews.. everyones comments seem like advertisement with the CEO commenting after all the good reviews.

It is more convenient for me to do the exams at home being a stay home mom but it also sounds too good to be true. They say if I pass I receive 4 certifications and 1 license which I'll have to have 24hrs/hr on continuing education.

Has anyone used NACPB? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!



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Hey Jenn,

I chat about U.S. bookkeeping certification programs elsewhere on the site.

I have been a member of a NACPB and NBA ... and am currently a member of AIPB. You will need to do your own due diligence but I found AIPB better suited to my needs than NACPB ... but I live in Canada. If cost is not a problem, join both and see which you like better.

AIPB membership dues are affordable at $39 per year. It includes a monthly newsletter that keeps you up-to-date with industry changes. The material in the newsletters is always practical and current.

I have self-studied some AIPB courses and found them well written, comprehensive and easy to understand. All the courses are written by University professors I believe and affordable at $39 plus a course or $479 for certification.

My one complaint about AIPB is that they were slow to move to away from paper based offerings. They now offer their material in electronic format or paper format ... to which my response was finally! For some reason they still send a paper newsletter. The mail-out costs have to be ridiculous when compared to electronic delivery.

AIPB is good at teaching bookkeeping as it should be but not on how to deliver it in practice.

All in all, I am very happy with the AIPB.

NACPB picks up where AIPB ends. I did find NACPB to be information overload so I ended up cherry picking. For practical to-do checklists and procedures on how to implement the information you learned through AIPB courses, they are great.

At $100 for an annual membership fee, if you are just starting out, the checklists and procedures assist with the practical problems of delivering your product and service to clients/customers.

My biggest complaint with NACPB is the email marketing junk overload. It really annoys me that I cannot request how often I want to receive emails from any company using online marketing DRIP methods. It is all or nothing. My solution is to send the stuff to junk mail and sort through it when I actually need or want to purchase something. (Okay I'm finished whining now!)

It is my opinion that you may need both memberships when starting out. AIPB for the foundation in bookkeeping theory and NACBP in how to deliver your knowledge to clients and customers.

A third option is Universal Accounting. If I were starting from scratch today to be a freelance bookkeeper ... this is the program I would invest in. I say investment because it is expensive but they teach you freelance bookkeeping for SMALL BUSINESS not GAAP BUSINESS (large companies). All their material I reviewed was a nice combination of practice and theory and very skills specific as their ads say. They offer financing if money is a problem.

Before you reject this one, I would at least inquire with them and review their offerings. For me it wasn't a good fit ... but only because I had already invested years in other formal training. Their program could have saved me money and years in learning. It seems to be a fast track to learning how to be a freelance bookkeeper ... reducing the learning and growing pains. If you provide your email address, you will get access to sample course materials to help you assess whether this is your cup of tea.

Universal's program is broken into well designed modules that build on each other. It starts with:

(1) Developing your foundational accounting skills and how to set up the bookkeeping for a small business from scratch. It explains the accounting process and how to perform bookkeeping tasks and basic reporting. It shows you how to determine profitability and cashflow. It's all about how to record money coming in and going out. Then it builds and moves on to more complex small businesses ...

(2) You'll learn about small businesses with payroll, contractors, markups and quarterly reporting. Then it builds again and moves on to more complex industries where ...

(3) You will learn how to do the books for small retail businesses with inventory as well as food service and apparel businesses. Here you will learn how to adjust inventory and deal with cash outages. Next ...

(4) The course introduces you to how to consult on key business issues. Here is where you begin to understand the financial reports including gross profit for more complex industries. You'll be taught how to determine the accounting method that best fits the business (i.e. the difference between cash vs accrual basis). As you progress you'll be given case studies for the complicated requirements of a car dealership, learn how to do year-end and how to assemble by studying a small manufacturing company, how to job cost for a construction company, and how to bookkeep for a non-profit organization.

(5) I believe the last topics Universal Accounting teaches are how to setup and run your bookkeeping service.

At least consider buying the eBook "In The Black" by Allan B. Bostram, CPA. He is the founder of Universal Accounting. It is available at Amazon for under a buck.

Jenn, this is just my opinion. You need to do your own due diligence to determine what your needs are and what association is the best fit for you.

For my Canadian readers, Universal Accounting offers a Canadian version of their course and is endorsed by the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada (IPBC). As an IPBC member you receive a 15% on enrollment fees.

Comments for U.S. Bookkeeping Certification Programs

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Feb 27, 2017
Sales Tactics Too Aggressive
by: Anonymous

I looked into Universal Accounting a while ago before deciding to pursue an Accounting Degree instead. They were SO annoyingly aggressive. They called me over and over again (while I was at work and unable to answer), then sent multiple emails telling me they weren't able to reach me. Annoying, but whatever. I finally emailed them back and thanked them for the information but let them know I had decided to pursue a degree instead of certification, and they responded with basically, "You'll regret your decision, we'll see you when you come crawling back later." Not in those words of course, but that was the gist, and I was completely put off from ever pursuing them again, even if I did "regret my decision" later. They may be a good program, I don't know, but they need to work on their sales tactics, give people room to breathe, and not make them feel like idiots when they decide not to go with them.

Mar 08, 2017
Sales Tactics Too Aggressive
by: Lake

Hmm. Back a few years ago when I was doing my research, I watched their videos, read their information. I don't remember any phone calls but maybe I didn't give them a phone number.

I do remember getting a lot of followup email though. I just set a rule to mark them as read.

As I mentioned in my chats, if I was just starting out, I would take their program as it is geared specifically to small business.

Most degree related programs are geared to GAAP which is geared to large corporations registered on the stock exchange or with third party investors ... which is great if you are wanting to work in the corporate work instead of being self employed and working with small businesses.

Mar 09, 2017
My experience with Universal Accounting
by: Anonymous

Back in 2011, found Universal Accounting as a good start to learning bookkeeping with QuickBooks. The Sales guy from the start was pushy but did answer and tell me everything I wanted to hear! Than it came to taking the online course.... During this time, I believe their online videos were something they were working to improve over time, as I had endless problems from the start and never did finish. Paid almost $2K for this course, and had to reach out to their support each time to explain the issues with the video not completing or cutting-off or not playing at all. I ended up using a new laptop to hopefully have a better experience, and had nothing to do with my computers, it was their platform. After several weeks, I was way too frustrated to continue. Now, it could very well be they have improved their user platform, however, it was more the experience with the staff that operate this business that will keep me from not coming back! They dismissed my explanations as problems with my computer or that they are working to improve the quality. Further, their explanations did not help me, rather made me feel I was ripped-off and would not return even a portion of the money I paid! Just beware signing up with this company, and if you are not satisfied, it may be difficult to get any part of your money back even when they say its 100% money back guarantee; it has regretably been proven otherwise!

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