Business Accounting: Summary of Coursework

Because it is a core function of any business, accounting is taught as part of business degree programs. Business accounting coursework topics can range from the basic concepts of bookkeeping to the study of complex taxation strategies.

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Essential Information

Business degree programs include basic accounting courses and specializations in accounting. Students can also choose to major in accounting and take similar courses. Such programs are most often available at the associate's through master's degree levels, and they can be completed online or at a traditional college or university campus. There are combined bachelor's and master's programs in accounting at some schools, and these often assist with Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam preparation.

Both associate's and bachelor's programs usually cover the foundations of financial and managerial accounting, intermediate accounting and income taxation; however, bachelor's program students also learn about auditing and other advanced topics that might include international accounting, accounting information systems and forensic accounting. Graduate students usually study many of these topics at the advanced level and might concentrate in an area like taxation or auditing. Programs of all levels often include general business courses, such as business law, finance and economics.

Here are some of the most common concepts in business accounting courses:

  • Accounting foundations
  • Financial reporting
  • Cash flow management
  • Principles of taxation
  • Business auditing
  • Ethics and business

List of Common Courses

Foundations of Accounting Course

This course will introduce students to the fundamental concepts of accounting for businesses. Topics would include double ledger bookkeeping, the accounting cycle, reporting for balance sheets and financial statements, budgets and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Accounting practices for different types of businesses will also be covered.

Managerial Accounting Course

Managerial accounting coursework investigates how managers use financial data. It will discuss the accounting systems managers use to make evaluations about such things as employee performance or allocating resources. Advanced courses may cover cash flow management, financial forecasting and financial statement analysis. This type of course illustrates the role accounting plays in the decision-making process of a business.

Financial Accounting Course

Companies produce financial statements to determine the value of a company, the taxes it owes and its long-term health. Financial reporting is a highly regulated field and coursework will cover national and international standards governing this reporting. At the introductory level, accounting cycles, valuation of assets, income measurement and financial report preparation are studied. Advanced coursework will cover analysis of financial reports, valuation of companies and timing of business cycles.

Taxation Course

Taxes levied on businesses have a huge impact on the financial health of a company. Taxation coursework will initially cover reporting and compliance requirements and discuss how corporate decision-making is affected by tax regulations. Advanced coursework might include multi-jurisdictional and international taxation, trending in tax planning or taxation of complex corporate structures and transactions.

Auditing and Assurance Course

Most businesses undergo both internal and external audits at some point. Auditing and assurance courses explain the work that is done by auditors and public accountants. Initial coursework would include the concepts and processes of auditing, prescribed standards for auditing and ethics. Business accounting majors will typically pursue advanced auditing coursework, which would cover internal auditing, designing and evaluating accounting controls and systems, sampling methods, fraud and advanced auditing theory.

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