While an associate's degree program may prepare graduates for work as a junior accountant or bookkeeper, a bachelor's degree is generally needed to work as a full accountant or auditor. Students may continue their education with a master's degree to gain the credits needed to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, although some schools offer extended bachelor's degree programs designed for this purpose.
Degree programs in business administration typically require students to take at least two introductory accounting courses that cover general financial and managerial accounting principles. Students in a bachelor's or master's degree program with an accounting concentration take a variety of classes in areas such as intermediate accounting, taxation, auditing and cost accounting. Some programs include an internship or practicum. Typical course content can be found below:
- Systems analysis
- Income recognition
- Corporate financial reporting
- Stockholder equity
- Audit methodology
- Financial statements
List of Courses
Introduction to Accounting Course
Introductory accounting courses should cover the foundational concepts of accounting and the accounting cycle. Early on in the course, students should learn the basics of bookkeeping, adjusting and closing entries and maintaining journals for different types of businesses. The more complex topics of liabilities, assets, cash flow management and stocks may also be covered. Financial reporting standards, ethics and taxation are generally introduced in this beginning-level course and then expanded upon in later coursework.
Intermediate Accounting Course
Intermediate accounting coursework builds upon the introductory coursework, eventually covering more complex topics such as corporate financial reporting. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) may also be presented, and the treatment of current and long-term liabilities, valuation of intangible assets and inventories should be covered. The uses of tax deferrals, short- and long-term investments and loans may also be discussed.
This course relates to the cost of materials and operations within manufacturing firms. Students learn how to control, allocate and distribute costs, measure costs, allocate overhead expenses and price jobs. Evaluation tools and management procedures for decision making will likely also be included.
Taxation courses cover how individuals and businesses are taxed and how tax rates are determined. The preparation of financial reports on tax liabilities, depreciation, income and losses, and the requirements for reporting these events should be explained and practiced. Tax laws regarding the treatment of different types of businesses will be compared and reviewed.
Auditors review the financial statements of companies to check for a variety of violations or inaccuracies. Auditing courses are designed to cover the concepts and processes of an audit and the preparation of financial reports that will meet the test of an audit. The public accounting profession and the responsibility of auditors will be covered, along with internal controls and professional ethics.