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Accounting Courses

Accounting Courses:

Associates (AS) in Accounting

Earn an Associates degree in Accounting through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the schools below to learn more about their programs. Many Schools offer free information or catalogues that will be mailed to you upon request


Bachelor (BS) in Accounting

Earn a Bachelor degree in Accounting through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the schools below to learn more about their programs. Many Schools offer free information or catalogues that will be mailed to you upon request


Accounting Diplomas

Earn a diploma in Accounting through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the schools below to learn more about their programs. Many Schools offer free information or catalogues that will be mailed to you upon request

Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping Diplomas

Earn a diploma in Bookkeeping through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the schools below to learn more about their programs. Many Schools offer free information or catalogues that will be mailed to you upon request.


Online Courses:

Accounts Receivable and Payable

Take a course or earn a certificate in Accounts Payable and Receivable through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the school or course provider below to learn more about their programs.


Audit Accounting

Take a course or earn a certificate in Audit Accounting through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the schools or course providers below to learn more about their programs.


Business Math

Take a course or earn a certificate in Business Mathematics through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the schools or course providers below to learn more about their programs.


Beginner Accounting

Take a course or earn a certificate in Introductory Accounting through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the schools below to learn more about their programs. Many Schools offer free information or catalogs that will be mailed to you upon request.


Payroll & Payroll Accounting

Take a course or earn a certificate in Payroll Accounting through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the schools or course providers below to learn more about their programs.


QuickBooks

Take a course or earn a certificate in QuickBooks through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the schools below to learn more about their programs. Many Schools offer free information or catalogs that will be mailed to you upon request.


Learn to Prepare Taxes

Take a course and learn to prepare IRS tax returns through distance learning and study at your own pace either online or through the mail. Visit the schools below to learn more about their programs. Many Schools offer free information or catalogs that will be mailed to you upon request.


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Accounting Job Guide

Accounting Jobs

Thinking about a new career in Accounting or Finance?

An education in, or understanding of, accounting and bookkeeping procedures can open many doors for new careers. Follow the links to the left to learn what the job outlook and education requirements are for some of the jobs held by people with accounting backgrounds

Accountants & Auditors

Key Points

  • Most jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field.
  • Jobseekers who obtain professional recognition through certification or licensure, a master’s degree, proficiency in accounting and auditing computer software, or specialized expertise will have an advantage in the job market.
  • The competition will remain keen for the most prestigious jobs in major accounting and business firms.

Job Outlook

Accountants and auditors who have earned professional recognition through certification or licensure should have the best job prospects. For example, Certified Public Accountants should continue to enjoy a wide range of job opportunities, especially as more States require candidates to have 150 hours of college coursework, making it more difficult to obtain this certification. Similarly, Certified Management Accountants should be in demand as their management advice is increasingly sought. Applicants with a master’s degree in accounting, or a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting, also will have an advantage in the job market


Bookkeeping Clerks

Nature of the Work

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are an organization’s financial recordkeepers. They update and maintain one or more accounting records, including those that tabulate expenditures, receipts, accounts payable and receivable, and profit and loss. They have a wide range of skills and knowledge, from full-charge bookkeepers, who can maintain an entire company’s books, to accounting clerks who handle specific accounts. All of these clerks make numerous computations each day and increasingly must be comfortable using computers to calculate and record data

Job Outlook

Virtually all job openings will stem from replacement needs. Each year, numerous jobs will become available as these clerks transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. The large size of this occupation ensures plentiful job openings, including many opportunities for temporary and part-time work, even though turnover is lower than for other clerical jobs


Financial Analyst

Key Points

  • A college degree and good interpersonal skills are among the most important qualifications for these workers
  • Although both occupations will benefit from an increase in investing by individuals, personal financial advisors will benefit more.
  • Financial analysts may face keen competition for jobs, especially at top securities firms, where pay can be lucrative.

Job Outlook

Increased investment by businesses and individuals is expected to result in faster-than-average employment growth of financial analysts and personal financial advisors through 2010. Both occupations will benefit as baby boomers save for retirement and a generally better educated and wealthier population requires investment advice. In addition, people are living longer and must plan to finance more years of retirement. The rapid expansion of self-directed retirement plans, such as the 401(k) plans, is expected to continue. Most of the money in these plans are invested in mutual funds. As the number of mutual funds and the number of assets invested in the fund’s increases, mutual fund companies will need increasing numbers of financial analysts to recommend which financial products the funds should buy or sell. Growth in retirement plans will also increase demand for personal financial advisors to provide advice on how to invest this money


Tax & Revenue Agents

Key Points

  • Tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents work for Federal, State, and local governments.
  • Long hours may be required during income tax season, from January to April.
  • A bachelor’s degree in accounting is becoming the standard source of training for tax examiners, although some prospective workers may be able to enter the occupation with only a high school diploma and a few months of general work experience.
  • Employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations.

Job Outlook

Employment of tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations between 2000 and 2010. Opportunities at the Federal level will arise from the relaxing of budget constraints imposed on the IRS, the primary employer of these workers. Also, labor force growth during the 2000-10 projection period will mean more taxpayers—and therefore, more tax returns. Dampening these effects, however, is a decrease in the proportion of tax returns selected for audit and collection. As taxpayers increasingly file their tax returns electronically, computers can examine a larger number of returns. Because much of the work done by IRS tax examiners and revenue agents is now computerized, productivity has increased, leading to smaller employment gains.


Payroll Clerk

Nature of the Work

Payroll and timekeeping clerks perform a vital function—ensuring that employees are paid on time and that their paychecks are accurate. If inaccuracies arise, such as monetary errors or incorrect amounts of vacation time, these workers research and correct the records. In addition, they may also perform various other clerical tasks. Automated timekeeping systems that allow employees to directly enter their hours worked into a computer have eliminated much of the data entry and review by timekeepers and has elevated the job of payroll clerk. But in offices that have not automated this function, payroll and timekeeping clerks still perform many of the following functions.

Job Outlook

Little or no change is expected in the employment of payroll and timekeeping clerks through 2010, due to the continuing automation of payroll and timekeeping functions and the consolidation of clerical jobs. A growing number of mergers and acquisitions also will adversely affect payroll departments as administrative offices are usually the first to be downsized. Nevertheless, a number of job openings should arise in coming years as payroll and timekeeping clerks leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations. Many payroll clerks use this position as a steppingstone to higher level accounting jobs.


Tax & Revenue Agents

Key Points

  • Tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents work for Federal, State, and local governments.
  • Long hours may be required during income tax season, from January to April.
  • A bachelor’s degree in accounting is becoming the standard source of training for tax examiners, although some prospective workers may be able to enter the occupation with only a high school diploma and a few months of general work experience.
  • Employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations.

Job Outlook

Employment of tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations between 2000 and 2010. Opportunities at the Federal level will arise from the relaxing of budget constraints imposed on the IRS, the primary employer of these workers. Also, labor force growth during the 2000-10 projection period will mean more taxpayers—and therefore, more tax returns. Dampening these effects, however, is a decrease in the proportion of tax returns selected for audit and collection. As taxpayers increasingly file their tax returns electronically, computers can examine a larger number of returns. Because much of the work done by IRS tax examiners and revenue agents is now computerized, productivity has increased, leading to smaller employment gains

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Amortization

Amortization

Amortization, like depreciation, is the process of deducting, over a set period of time, the costs incurred in the procurement of assets. Whereas depreciation is used to expense out (over the useful life) the costs of tangible assets such as buildings, furniture, and machines; amortization is used to recover the cost of intangible assets such as:

• Going into Business Costs – start-up expenditures, the cost of incorporating, etc.

• Lease for Business Property

• Goodwill, patents, customer base, permits, etc.

• Reforestation Costs – direct costs of planting or seeding

• Pollution Control Facilities

When the intangible asset is originally purchased the cost should be debited to an asset account. This cost is then “written off” or amortized, generally using the straight-line method, over the legal useful life of the asset (see IRS Publication 535 Chapter 9 for amortization period guidelines). The straight line method is simply dividing the initial cost of the asset by its useful life.

For example if a patent is purchased for $12,000 and amortized over 15 years (180 months) then the monthly write-off would be $66.67 (12,000/180).

 

General JournalPage: 1
Date

Account Titles/Explanation

Ref

Debit

Credit
20XX
Jan

31

Amortization Expense – Patents

Patents

55
14

66.6766.67
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Income Statement

Income Statement

The income statement reports a company’s income or loss for a specific period.  It lists revenues and subtracts from them the period’s expenses. A positive balance results in an income and a negative balance indicates a loss.  In the example below revenues of $6,000 minus expenses of $3,000 results in a net income of $3,000.

This figure is used in the Statement of Owner’s Equity

Your Business Name Income Statement

For Month Ended June 30, 20XX

Revenues
Net sales$5,000.00
Rental revenue

1,000.00

Total revenues

$6,000.00

Expenses
Wages expense$1,500.00
Cost of goods sold1,000.00
Utilities expense250.00
Supplies expense 250.00
Total operating expenses 3,000.00
Net income/loss$3,000.00

There are two formats commonly used to prepare income statements:

  • The Single-step
    The example above is a single-step income statement. It consists of just two sections: revenues and expenses. Expenses are deducted from revenues in a single-step to find net income or loss.
  • Multiple-step.
    In a multiple-step income statement, the results of transactions are shown in sections separating operating activities from non-operating activities. In addition, it classifies expenses by function. For example, selling expenses are shown separately from administrative expenses. If the company experienced extraordinary items or discontinued a segment of operations, they are also shown in different sections.

For professionally created examples of single- and multiple-step income statements for corporations and sole proprietorships, we recommend The Master Set of 80 Business Forms.

The set includes filled-in forms designed to give you a complete understanding of how each form works as well as blank forms for use in your own business or for practising income statement preparation.

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Statement of Owner’s Equity Example

Statement of Owner’s Equity

The Statement of Owner’s Equity shows the change in owner’s equity during a given time period. It lists the owner equity balance at the beginning of the period, additions and subtractions to the balance, and the ending balance. Additions come from owner investments and income; subtractions from owner withdrawals and losses.

Your Company Name

Statement of Owner’s Equity

For Month Ended June 30, 20XX

Joe Smith, capital, June 1, 20XX$10,000.00
Investment during the month1,000.00
Net income3,000.00
14,000.00
Withdrawals during the month 2,000.00
Joe Smith, capital, June 30, 20XX$12,000.00

The net income figure contained on this statement comes from the Income Statement and the ending capital balance is used in the owner’s equity section of the Balance Sheet

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Accrual versus Cash Basis Accounting

Accrual versus Cash Basis Accounting

Accrual versus Cash-Basis Accounting

There are two ways companies can keep their accounting books:

Cash Basis vs Accrual

  • Cash-Basis
    The accrual basis is used by most companies; only very small businesses use cash-basis.
  • Accrual
    Under the accrual method, expenses and revenue are recognized in the period they occur regardless of whether a cash transaction has occurred.
    For example, if a sale is made in January but payment is not expected until February, the revenue from the sale would be recognized in January (when it was earned) and the amount due to the company is recorded (accrued) in accounts receivable.

Accrual Example

Below are the Journal entries for the “sale on account” and the “payment on account”.

General JournalPage: 1
Date

Account Titles/Explanation

Ref

Debit

Credit
20XX
Jan

5

Accounts Receivable

Sales Revenue

Sale on Account

 

450.00

450.00
Feb

5

Cash

Accounts Receivable

Payment on Account

450.00450.00

Notice that the first entry above recognizes the sale in January, when it actually occurred. This method matches the revenue from the sale to the expenses incurred during the same period.

Cash-basis Example

On the other hand, under the cash-basis method, the revenue would not be recorded until February when the cash is actually received, as in the example journal entry below.

General JournalPage: 1
Date

Account Titles/Explanation

Ref

Debit

Credit
20XX
Feb

5

Cash

Sales Revenue

Received Cash from Sale

 

450.00

450.00

While this method is easier and requires fewer journal entries, the sale revenue would not be matched-up to the expenses the company incurred to make the sale possible.  For example, consider the salesperson’s salary who made the sale. Assume payroll expense is recorded in January. Since the revenue is not recognized until the next period (month), the accounting records do not portray a true picture of what actually occurred.

Under the cash-basis method, this mismatching of expenses and revenues would also occur if payment was received right away (in January), but the salesperson’s salaries where not paid until February.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) require that all public companies use accrual accounting.

One reason for this is that a truer indication of a companies financial stability and income generating activities is reported giving investors and other interested parties better information to make informed decisions.

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Accounting Examples - Inventory Systems

Inventory Systems

Inventory Systems – Perpetual and Periodic

There are two systems companies use to maintain inventory records

  1. Perpetual
    The perpetual system is used by most companies especially now that computerized record-keeping systems that tie inventory and sales together are widely available.
  2. Periodic
    The periodic system is generally used by small businesses that have minimal inventories.

As shown in the examples given later, the accounts used and the accounting entries made in each system differ slightly.

The following table summarizes the differences between Perpetual vs Periodic:

Transaction or ActivityPerpetualPeriodic
Inventory purchases are…Debited to InventoryDebited to Purchases
Freight, purchase discounts, and returns and allowances are…Debited to InventoryDebited to individual accounts (Transportation In, Purchase Discounts, and Purchase Returns & Allowances
Cost of Goods is recorded…At the time of each sale with a debit to Cost of Goods SoldAt the end of the period (see example of entry below)
Physical Inventory Count has done…At least once a year to account for breakage, errors, theft, etc.At least once a year (more often for more current information) to determine inventory levels.

The Perpetual System

Under the perpetual inventory system, an up-to-date (really an up-to-transaction) running balance is kept of the inventory on hand and of the cost of goods sold.

The example below shows the journal entries in a perpetual system for the following transactions:

  • Purchase of 1,000 units on account at $7 each = $7,000
  • Sale of 800 units on account at $13 each = $10,400
General JournalPage: 1
Date

Account Titles/Explanation

Ref

Debit

Credit
20XX
Jul

5

Inventory

Accounts Payable

Purchase of 1000 units

70007000

6

Accounts Receivable

Sales

Cost of Goods Sold (800 x $7)

Inventory

Sale of 800 units

10400
5600
10400
5600

Using this system, there is no need to make an entry at the end of the period in order to bring the Inventory and Cost of Goods Sold accounts up to date; they already show the correct balance.

If a difference exists between the perpetual balance and the physical count balance then an adjustment should be made. In the case of a physical count that is lower than the perpetual inventory balance, a journal entry is made debiting an Inventory Over and Short account and crediting inventory. If the physical count shows more inventory on-hand that what the perpetual balance shows then Inventory is debited and Inventory Over and Short is credited.

The Periodic System

Under the periodic inventory system, physical counts of inventory are periodically conducted and then the accounts are brought up to date. The example below uses the same transactions as were used in the perpetual system example above:

  • Purchase of 1,000 units on account at $7 each = $7,000
  • Sale of 800 units on account at $13 each = $10,400
General JournalPage: 1
Date

Account Titles/Explanation

Ref

Debit

Credit
20XX
Jul

5

Purchases

Accounts Payable

Purchase of 1000 units

70007000

6

Accounts Receivable

Sales

Sale of 800 units

1040010400

31

Inventory (ending – 200 x $7)

Cost of Goods Sold (800 x $7)

Purchases

End of period entry

1400

5600

 

7000

As you can see, using the periodic system requires that an end-of-period entry be made to bring the Inventory and Cost of Goods accounts up to date.

It should be noted that in the examples above it was assumed that there was no beginning inventory. To determine the value of Cost of Goods Sold when there is a beginning balance, the following formula is used (using the information from the examples above and a beginning inventory of 100 units at $7 = $700):

 

Beginning Inventory

$700.00

Net purchases

7,000.00

Cost of Goods Available for Sale

7,700.00

Less:
Ending Inventory (300 units x $7)*

 

2,100.00

Cost of Goods Sold

$5,600.00

* Note that this quantity includes the 200 units purchased this month but that was not sold plus the beginning balance of 100 units.

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Skills Training Gap Among Employees Revealed

Queequeg removed himself to just beyond the head of the sleeper, and lighted his tomahawk pipe. We kept the pipe passing over the sleeper, from one to the other. Meanwhile, upon questioning him in his broken fashion, Queequeg gave me to understand that, in his land, owing to the absence of settees and sofas of all sorts, the king, chiefs, and great people generally, were in the custom of fattening some of the lower orders for ottomans.

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6 Ways Your Job is Losing You Future Earnings

Queequeg removed himself to just beyond the head of the sleeper, and lighted his tomahawk pipe. We kept the pipe passing over the sleeper, from one to the other. Meanwhile, upon questioning him in his broken fashion, Queequeg gave me to understand that, in his land, owing to the absence of settees and sofas of all sorts, the king, chiefs, and great people generally, were in the custom of fattening some of the lower orders for ottomans.

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Why Long-Term Unemployment Isn’t As Bad As You Think

Queequeg removed himself to just beyond the head of the sleeper, and lighted his tomahawk pipe. We kept the pipe passing over the sleeper, from one to the other. Meanwhile, upon questioning him in his broken fashion, Queequeg gave me to understand that, in his land, owing to the absence of settees and sofas of all sorts, the king, chiefs, and great people generally, were in the custom of fattening some of the lower orders for ottomans.

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