QuickBooks is, without a doubt, the small business accounting software of choice—just as its more than 2 million users worldwide, and 80%-plus market share prove. With numbers like that, you might be among those looking at how to become QuickBooks certified for any number of reasons.
Maybe you’re looking for a bookkeeping job, starting a business, or launching your own bookkeeping or accounting practice. Or, if you work with finances in your own business, you might realize that undergoing the process of becoming QuickBooks certified could really give your business an advantage.
Whatever your reason to go the extra mile to learn your business accounting software inside and out, here’s what you need to know about how to become QuickBooks certified.
Going for any kind of certification means work—so, why would you want to figure out how to get QuickBooks certification, exactly? There are several reasons why you might want to become QuickBooks certified:
If you’re looking for a bookkeeping or office management job, your prospective employer might require QuickBooks certification.
Even if certification isn’t required, looking into how to get QuickBooks certification could give you an edge over your competition for the job. The dominance of QuickBooks in the accounting software space is clear from their wealth of features and integrations with a wide-ranging selection of apps and software including unique niches like trucking accounting software. Holding a certification in QuickBooks will give your prospective employer peace of mind that you are capable of operating the software, which in turn will increase their confidence in the work you perform for them. You might even be able to command a higher starting pay rate for the position!
Are you starting your own business and bootstrapping it for a while? You’ll probably take on the responsibility of keeping your bookkeeping up to date.
Although QuickBooks is user-friendly, you’ll want to make sure you’re using it correctly in order to keep your bookkeeping sparking and be able to produce reliable reports for running your business.
When you become QuickBooks certified as an end-user of the software, you can rest assured you are using it correctly, and getting everything out of it possible.
Solid fundamental accounting knowledge is essential for anyone starting their own accounting or bookkeeping firm. But knowledge of accounting theory isn’t enough—you also need to know you to operate your clients’ software effectively.
Although you could theoretically do a business’s bookkeeping in QuickBooks using nothing but journal entries, journal entries can compromise the integrity of many of the subsidiary reports in QuickBooks. Journal entries are also much less efficient than using the automation and other features of QuickBooks.
When you become QuickBooks certified as an accountant user, you will learn all of these features, including how they can make your job easier and increase your value to your clients.
Even if you’re in public accounting, there aren’t any legal requirements that you have to learn how to become QuickBooks certified in order to use the software—or any accounting software for that matter. And, if you own your own small business, going out of your way to become QuickBooks certified might seem to be a waste of your already limited time.
So, what benefits does QuickBooks certification offer?
The actual certification may hold no intrinsic benefit for you, but completing a QuickBooks certification course will still provide you with some very valuable benefits. When you complete a QuickBooks certification course, you gain:
Advanced knowledge of how QuickBooks works. Sure, you could learn all the tricks and nuances as you go along, but taking a QuickBooks certification course can shorten the learning curve considerably. Trial and error is only a good learning method when you have adequate free time to correct errors. Most of us don’t have that kind of free time. What we do have time for is a certification course.
Troubleshooting skills. A thorough QuickBooks certification course will guide you through how to troubleshoot everything from technical issues with bank feeds to how to fix an out-of-balance balance sheet… something a journal entry can’t even fix.
Confidence to train others to use QuickBooks. Whether you’re a business owner hiring someone to operate QuickBooks for you in-house, or an accountant or bookkeeper offering training services to your clients, when you complete a QuickBooks certification course, you’ll have a greater understanding of how to teach others to use QuickBooks. This will make you a better trainer—and an asset in the QuickBooks community, which, in turn, will lead to more success with your employees or clients.
Now that you’re on board, let’s talk details. The most difficult part of learning how to become QuickBooks certified is deciding which certification course to take.
There are numerous options available, and the best one for you will depend on why you want to become QuickBooks certified and how you learn best:
If you’re a QuickBooks end-user —meaning you’ll be using the software as an employee of a small business or as a small business owner—your best option for becoming QuickBooks certified could be as close as your local small business center, community college, or technical school.
These kinds of education centers often hire practicing or recently retired CPAs and bookkeepers to teach their QuickBooks certification courses. Students benefit not only from software training, but also from the real-life examples these professionals bring to the classroom. Often, you can ask questions about specific situations in your business or job and get practical and professional advice as part of your training.
If cost is a consideration, your small business center or technical school will likely be more economical than your local community college. If an actual certificate from an accredited institution is important to you, you’ll want to go with a technical school or community college rather than your small business center.
Don’t want to leave your home or office? Your technical school or community college might let you complete the course and earn the certificate online.
Or, there are literally hundreds of online training courses available for QuickBooks. These include free videos on YouTube, or self-paced courses costing hundreds of dollars. Some of these courses even offer a certification upon completion of the course.
When you’re looking for a QuickBooks certification course online, you definitely need to be aware of courses based on outdated material. This is especially true with courses created for QuickBooks Online. Features in QuickBooks Online can change literally overnight, and so a course created just a few short months ago could already be out of date. That’s why YouTube videos are often your best bet when it comes to up-to-date training material: whether covering specific topics like job costing in QuickBooks Online or more general like how to get started using QBO for your business.
You’ll also really want beware of scams, especially if the actual certification is important to you. Anyone can put together an online course and issue a certificate upon completion. That certificate may be meaningless unless it’s issued by a widely recognized organization, though.
If you’re seeking an online training course to help you gain certification as a QuickBooks user, your best—and safest—bet is the self-paced training available from Real World Training. Real World Training is the only training center officially endorsed by Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other good QuickBooks training courses available online, but it does mean getting a QuickBooks User certification through Real World Training carries significant weight.
To actually earn certification from Real World Training, you’ll have to take an exam in person at one of their testing centers, so keep this in mind if you are looking for a 100% online option. If you like to get out and meet other professionals, Real World Training also offers in-person training to help you become QuickBooks Certified.
If you’re an accounting professional, you probably already know about the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program.
If you work strictly in QuickBooks Online, becoming a ProAdvisor is free. If you want the full benefits of being a QuickBooks ProAdvisor— including access to Desktop software—there is small annual fee involved. This fee covers access to the current year’s QuickBooks Desktop and Enterprise Solutions software and is an economical choice if you plan to work in either of these programs.
Regardless of whether you choose the free or the paid version of the program, Intuit provides their ProAdvisors with free certification training in all QuickBooks programs. This training is available on demand online, but there are also free virtual conferences and free live training events held throughout the year.
QuickBooks ProAdvisors have the option of becoming certified or advanced certified in QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. If you choose to seek advanced certification, give yourself adequate time to study and to take the exam. The advanced certification exam deals with complex technical and troubleshooting topics, meaning ProAdvisors who earn advanced certification have shown significant proficiency not only in the use of the software, but also in accounting knowledge.
Whether you’re an end user or an accounting professional, becoming QuickBooks certified is one of the best decisions you can make for your career or your business.
When you become QuickBooks certified, you can rest assured you have the knowledge needed to use QuickBooks to its greatest capacity. This’ll help you get the most out of the software and run your business—or your clients’ businesses—to its highest potential.
Billie Anne Grigg is a contributing writer for Fundera.
Billie Anne has been a bookkeeper since before the turn of the century. She is a QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, LivePlan Expert Advisor, FreshBooks Certified Beancounter, and a Mastery Level Certified Profit First Professional. She is also a guide for the Profit First Professionals organization.
Billie Anne started Pocket Protector Bookkeeping in 2012 to provide an excellent virtual bookkeeping and managerial accounting solution for small businesses that cannot yet justify employing a full-time, in-house bookkeeping staff.