Accounting for Creatives course at Sessions College

Accounting for Creatives

3 credits

GEN 401: Accounting for Creatives

Learn the financial fundamentals that artists and designers need to know

Any creative who wants to establish a freelance career or succeed in business will benefit from a basic understanding of accounting. This course includes a focus on basic accounting principles and how they can be applied within the context of a small creative business. You will explore and identify how to use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), ledgers and journals, and how to follow and apply accounting strategies and cycles when running a creative focused business. Additionally, this course provides an introduction to balance sheets, financial statements, assets and liabilities, and equity, as well as an exploration of business ethics.

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Credit-bearing: 3 Credits
  • Classes start January, April, and August


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Michelle Paul and Lorie Marshall

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

Course Projects

    1. What is Accounting?

      We will define the role that accounting plays in business, learn the difference between accounting and bookkeeping, and examine four main types of business.

    2. Basic Accounting Principles

      We will explore key accounting concepts and terms used in the GAAP system, and analyze how they apply to creative business scenarios.

    3. The Elements of Accounting

      We will learn how the accounting equation works, and how to identify the five types of accounting transaction (Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Revenue, and Expenses).

    4. Core Concepts

      We'll explore how accountants utilize core concepts like double-entry accounting, credit and debit, and cash versus accrual accounting.

    5. Understanding Financial Statements

      We will learn how to read and interpret financial statements at a basic level.

    6. The Accounting Cycle

      We will learn and apply the steps of the accounting cycle most critical to small creative businesses.

    7. Preparing Financial Statements

      We will learn how to generate a basic set of financial statements.

    8. Tips for Accounting Success

      We'll wrap up with some best practices for ethics, record-keeping, and separation of finances.

Sample Student Work

For sample work, visit student gallery

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

In this course, students will learn how companies record transactions and develop financial statements using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Class assignments will enable students to apply accounting concepts to scenarios that are relevant to running a creative focused business. By the end of the class, students will have developed a basic competency in interpreting financial statements.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?

To take this course, you'll need:

  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Microsoft Excel or alternative spreadsheet program.
What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Explain the role of accounting in everyday business processes and financial reporting.
  • Identify how to apply Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in a creative small business setting.
  • Explain basic principles in accounting, including the accounting equation and how transactions are classified as Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Revenue, and Expenses.
  • Explain how an accounting system is generally set up using accounts, a chart of accounts, a journal, and a ledger.
  • Explain core concepts, including single and double-entry accounting, debits and credits, and cash and accrual accounting.
  • Identify the purpose of the five components in financial statements: Income Statement (AKA Profit and Loss Statement), Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement, Statement of Changes in Equity, and Explanatory notes.
  • Read and interpret financial statements at a basic level.
  • Identify and apply the main steps of the accounting cycle and generate a basic set of financial statements.
  • Interpret and apply best practices for ethics, record-keeping, and separation of finances in accounting.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Classes start January, April, and August
  • 3 Credit Course
  • Project-Based: Exercises, Discussions, and Critiques

Course Tuition and Fees
Registration Fee* $200
Total Course Price $1730

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Course Registration Form

To register for this course, use the form below to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

PD: Course Registration

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. In each course you’ll enjoy a series of lectures, projects, discussions, and critiques designed to stretch your creative skills, earning college credit for your completed course.

How Much Time Do I Need?

Classes start January, April, and August, and this course can be completed in a 15-week term. College credit from this course can be applied to a range of degree and certificate level programs at Sessions College.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).