If you’re about to embark into the world of accounting, then there are many number-crunching classes to look forward to. From classes that will prepare you for the CPA and ethics exams to completing the necessary CPE courses after you obtain your license, here is just some of the exciting coursework involved when you set your sights on an education in accounting.
The first courses you’ll encounter as an accounting student are Financial Accounting I and II, which are an intermediate introduction to the ins and outs of professional accounting. Financial Accounting I covers the fundamentals, including income statement documentation, asset accounts, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
After successful completion of the coursework above, you’ll then move on to Financial Accounting II, which covers more in-depth principles. With this course, you’ll learn important topics like the time value of money, accounting changes and errors, deferred taxes, and current liabilities.
A large part of being an accountant is managing costs and making educated financial decisions on your clients’ behalf. Because of this, your accounting degree will involve coursework in cost management.
Cost management courses cover internal reporting and components of the financial decision-making process. As a student, you will evaluate basic systems used throughout the accounting profession. These include budget analysis, price and profit concepts, cost allocations, and how current industry trends impact cost accounting.
Federal Income Tax
Handling income taxes will likely be the largest responsibility of your career as an accountant. Coursework in federal income tax will prepare you for everything from general tax structure to effective ways to handle a busy tax season without losing focus on your responsibilities.
Federal Income Tax I includes introductory information on includable and excludable incomes, deductions, and basic filing status. Federal Income Tax II takes coursework a step further and involves tax research and tax planning for corporations, partnerships, estates, and trusts.
Many accounting programs offer various electives that allow you to concentrate in specifics areas. Popular accounting electives include fraud examination, government accounting, not-for-profit accounting, advanced financial management, income tax planning, and quantitative analysis.
Regardless of the accounting program or desired career field, it’s important to choose electives that are not only of interest to you, but also complement your specific degree path.
Continuing Professional Education
After you have completed your degree and have become a certified public accountant, you will need to periodically complete continuing professional education courses. CPE requirements differ from state to state and depend on regulations set forth by the state boards of accountancy.
In order to have an active CPA license, you’ll need to take part in CPE courses either annually or biannually. Although mandatory, CPE training is a great way to stay on top of current accounting trends as well as the evolving technology behind the accounting profession.
When you’re ready to dive into an education in accounting, the classes above are just a sampling of the coursework you have to look forward to.