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Online CPA Course and Class Overviews

Those looking to crunch numbers as certified public accountants (CPAs) can obtain some or all of their training online, depending on their previous background. Web-based courses in accounting can be found at the undergraduate and graduate levels, though some on-campus fulfillment may be required.

CPA Courses Online

Below is a sample of some commonly offered CPA-related courses in accounting that students can take online.

  • Financial Accounting Course: Broad courses on financial accounting are usually taken during a student's sophomore or junior year, though similar courses can be found in graduate-level programs. This course focuses on the general theories related to the CPA profession and the means by which financial data is reported. Online technical requirements for financial accounting courses are minimal, because this theory-oriented CPA material can be communicated easily through text.
  • Federal Taxation Course: Often an upper-level undergraduate CPA course topic, federal taxation refers to the laws, policies and procedures pertaining to nationally mandated taxes on property, businesses and individuals. In many cases, courses on taxation examine the tax laws of the current calendar year. Some courses on federal taxation might be very specific in nature, covering the tax policies pertaining to either persons or companies.
  • Auditing Course: Auditing is another undergraduate CPA subject that may be available online. Courses on auditing address the methods used to investigate fiscal statements. This subject is presented in a broad context. It can be applied to many subspecialties of accounting, including government, management and public accounting.
  • Cost Accounting Course: A very common subject in the accounting world, cost accounting deals with the management and reporting of expenditures. CPAs use principles of cost accounting to assist businesses and self-employed people with tax deductions and financial planning. Students explore cost accounting as early as junior year of a bachelor's degree program. This topic is also commonly addressed in graduate-level certificate and degree programs.
  • Accounting Information Systems Course: Increasingly relevant to changing technologies in accounting, courses on accounting information systems are included mainly in graduate-level CPA degree and certificate programs. Students explore current systems, and they learn how to use and maintain these systems, based on the demands of contemporary accounting measures. Online courses in accounting information systems are likely to include technical components like specialized software. They use hands-on computerized methods for analyzing business processes and improving the efficiency of financial record-keeping systems.
  • Business Law Course: Common to many graduate CPA programs are courses on business law. Students learn the basic legalities surrounding businesses as they apply to finance, taxation and accounting. Rapidly changing laws represent a major factor in the predicted speedy job growth for all accountants, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Therefore, CPAs with a solid knowledge of business law might have an edge in the job market.
  • Financial Management Course: This course in advanced economics teaches students in how to make quick and sound decisions as part of a financial firm on behalf of an individual or a business. Students will study the financial trends of markets, banks, and major corporations in order to better inform their decisions.
  • Forensic Accounting Course: Accounting can be applied to many other disciplines, and its applications to forensics will be explored in this online course. Students learn how to investigate financial fraud and other crimes, serve as a witness or consultant, and how to properly interview suspects.
  • Government and Nonprofit Accounting Course: An online course in government and nonprofit accounting will cover the various ways in which accounting for these organizations differ personal or business accounting. Governmental operating statement accounts, financial reporting, budgetary accounting and more will be discussed.

Program Information

CPA courses train future CPAs to organize and report taxes, expenditures and other financial data for businesses and individuals. Individuals interested in taking CPA courses online can find them through undergraduate and graduate certificate programs or through Bachelor of Science or Master of Accounting programs. Online courses may not satisfy all program requirements, though. Some states, such as Texas, for example, require CPA candidates to pursue at least a portion of their education on campus. Students may find online CPA exam preparation programs and courses as well.

Aspiring CPA's can find plenty of learning opportunities online as part of certificate or degree programs in accounting. A slew of topics can be explored, including business law, auditing, federal taxation, and specialized courses like forensic accounting and government accounting.

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