The striker will serve as both player and coach at the League Two side.
The 34-year-old told BBC Radio Lancashire: "I'm delighted to be here and can't wait to get started.
"The coaching role has put another angle on things for me, but I've signed a playing contract so I want to get involved in that as soon as I can."
Stanley's manager Leam Richardson added: "My relationship with James goes back a long way, right back to our Blackburn days. Throughout his career, he's been fantastic. He's a great pro and for him to come to Accrington Stanley is a massive boost for the club."
Beattie was released by Sheffield United at the end of last season.
Accrington host Northampton tomorrow.