There are no prerequisites.

Course Description

The Accountants’ Guidebook provides the accountant with detailed information about the three responsibilities of accountancy: recordation, classification, and reporting. In addition, the course describes a variety of management and analysis tasks with which the accountant is typically charged. The course is intended to improve the performance of accountants by increasing their knowledge of the practical operational details of accounting, as well as the accounting standards to which they are subjected.


Steven M. Bragg, CPA

Steven M. Bragg, CPA, is a full-time book and course author who has written more than 70 business books. He provides Western CPE with self-study courses in the areas of accounting and finance, with an emphasis on the practical application of accounting standards and management techniques. A sampling of his courses include the The New Controller Guidebook, The GAAP Guidebook, Accountants’ Guidebook, and Closing the Books: An Accountant’s Guide. He also manages the Accounting Best Practices podcast.

Steven has been the CFO or controller of both public and private companies and has been a consulting manager with Ernst & Young and an auditor with Deloitte & Touche. He holds an MBA from Babson College, a Master of Finance from Bentley College, and a BA from the University of Maine (summa cum laude).

Course Specifics

Sep 5, 2018
There are no prerequisites.

Compliance Information

Qualifies for CA Fraud: No

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

Chapter 1

  • Identify the financial and managerial responsibilities of the accountant.

Chapter 2

  • Cite the issues involved with different account code structures.

Chapter 3

  • Note how information rolls up from subsidiary ledgers into the general ledger, and is organized within the trial balance.

Chapter 4

  • State the flow of various documents through the procedures used by the accountant. Also describe the structure of a procedure, and who is most concerned with its construction.

Chapter 5

  • Identify the key requirements of accounting for receivables.

Chapter 6

  • Cite the accounting for investment transfers and the impairment of securities.

Chapter 7

  • Identify the tracking and cost accumulation systems used for inventory.

Chapter 8

  • State the valuation and depreciation rules applicable to fixed assets.

Chapter 9

  • Note the rules regarding goodwill impairment and the capitalization of intangible assets.

Chapter 10

  • Cite the rules related to the accounting for various equity transactions.

Chapter 11

  • Identify the evaluation criteria for a contract, the components of the transaction price, and when a contract modification triggers treatment as a new contract.

Chapter 12

  • Identify the proper accounting for the full range of payroll transactions.

Chapter 13

  • Note the accounting requirements related to stock-based compensation.

Chapter 14

  • Itemize the treatment of tax differences, tax assets and liabilities, and the determination of tax rates.

Chapter 15

  • Cite the accounting for a variety of transactions related to business combinations, as well as the uses of different types of acquisition structures.

Chapter 16

  • Identify the accounting treatment for transactions involving foreign currency.

Chapter 17

  • Cite the applicability of the accounting standards for accounting changes and error corrections to different scenarios.

Chapter 18

  • Identify the steps required to close the books and generate financial statements.

Chapter 19

  • Itemize the different formats in which the financial statements can be constructed, as well as the manner in which they are compiled.

Chapter 20

  • Note the theories under which interim period information is presented, as well as the rules for segment reporting, and the process of compiling public company reports.

Chapter 21

  • State the types of variances and management report formats that an accountant may use.

Chapter 22

  • Cite the process improvements that can be applied to the management of cash.

Chapter 23

  • Identify the different types of collection tactics, as well as when they should be used.

Chapter 24

  • Note the best practices and confidentiality issues that should be implemented for a payroll system.

Chapter 25

  • Identify the contents of the various budgets and which techniques should be used to populate the budgets.

Chapter 26

  • State the methods used to examine proposed fixed asset purchases, and their outcomes after being installed.

Chapter 27

  • Cite the calculation methods employed for those ratios most applicable to the role of the accountant.

Chapter 28

  • Note which costs are to be included in or excluded from the examination of cost objects, as well as how cost objects should be interpreted.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – The Role of the Accountant

Learning Objectives


The Accountancy Concept

Financial and Managerial Accounting

Types of Accountants

Responsibilities of the Accounting Department

Customer-oriented Responsibilities

Supplier-oriented Responsibilities

Employee-oriented Responsibilities

Financial Statements


Organizational Structure of the Accounting Department


Chapter 1 Review Questions

Chapter 2 – The Chart of Accounts

Learning Objectives


Overview of the Chart of Accounts



Stockholders’ Equity



The Three-Digit Chart of Accounts

The Five-Digit Chart of Accounts

The Seven-Digit Chart of Accounts

Chart of Accounts Reduction

Alphanumeric Account Coding


Chapter 2 Review Questions

Chapter 3 – The General Ledger and Trial Balance

Learning Objectives


The Ledger Concept

General Ledger Overview

The Accounts Receivable Ledger

The Purchase Ledger

Overview of the Trial Balance

The Trial Balance Format

The Extended Trial Balance

Trial Balance Error Correction

The Post-Closing Trial Balance

Evaluation of the Trial Balance


Chapter 3 Review Questions

Chapter 4 – Accounting Procedures

Learning Objectives


The Nature of a Procedure

The Need for Procedures

The Number of Procedures to Develop

The Mechanics of Procedure Production

Procedure Production Steps

Formatting Steps

Procedure Design Tips

Dissemination of Procedures

Procedural Updates

Enforcement of Procedures

“Carrot” Activities

“Stick” Activities

Deviations from Procedures

Presented Procedures

The Credit Examination Procedure (Manual System)

The Shipping Procedure (Manual System)

The Billing Procedure

The Check Receipts Processing Procedure

The Purchasing Procedure

The Supplier Invoice Processing Procedure (Manual System)

The Check Payment Issuance Procedure


Chapter 4 Review Questions

Chapter 5 – Accounting for Receivables

Learning Objectives


Accounting for Billings

Accounting for Sales Taxes

The Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

Notes Receivable

Acquisition, Development, and Construction Arrangements

Nonrefundable Fees and Other Costs

Loans and Debt Securities Acquired with Deteriorated Credit Quality

Troubled Debt Restructurings by Creditors

Receivables Presentation

Receivables Disclosures


Chapter 5 Review Questions

Chapter 6 – Accounting for Investments

Learning Objectives


Overview of Investments – Debt and Equity Securities

Accounting for Investments

Impairment of Investments

Restricted Stock

Dividend and Interest Income

The Equity Method

Investment Disclosures


Chapter 6 Review Questions

Chapter 7 – Accounting for Inventory

Learning Objectives


Overview of Inventory

The Periodic Inventory System

The Perpetual Inventory System

Inventory Costing

The First In, First Out Method

The Last In, First Out Method

The Weighted Average Method

Standard Costing

The Retail Inventory Method

The Gross Profit Method

Overhead Allocation

The Lower of Cost or Market Rule

Work in Process Accounting

Accounting for Obsolete Inventory

Consignment Accounting

Goods in Transit

Inventory Disclosures


Chapter 7 Review Questions

Chapter 8 – Accounting for Property, Plant, and Equipment

Learning Objectives


Overview of Fixed Assets

Initial Fixed Asset Recognition

Fixed Assets Acquired through a Business Combination

Nonmonetary Exchanges

Depreciation and Amortization

Straight-Line Method

Sum-of-the-Years’ Digits Method

Double-Declining Balance Method

Depletion Method

Units of Production Method

Land Depreciation

Land Improvement Depreciation

Depreciation Accounting Entries

Fixed Asset Impairment

Fixed Asset Disposal

Assets Held for Sale

Abandoned Assets

Idle Assets

Fixed Asset Disposal Accounting

Fixed Asset Disclosures

General Fixed Asset Disclosures

Change in Estimate Disclosures

Intangible Asset Disclosures


Chapter 8 Review Questions

Chapter 9 – Accounting for Intangibles

Learning Objectives



General Intangibles Other than Goodwill

Internal-Use Software

Website Development Costs

Intangibles Disclosures


Chapter 9 Review Questions

Chapter 10 – Accounting for Equity

Learning Objectives


Overview of Equity

Stock Dividends and Stock Splits

Stock Dividend

Stock Split

Treasury Stock

Purchase of Treasury Stock

Resale of Treasury Stock

Cost Method

Constructive Retirement Method

Equity-Based Payments to Non-Employees

Initial Recognition

Spinoffs and Reverse Spinoffs

Equity Disclosures

Rights and Privileges

Preferred Stock

Contingently Convertible Securities

Redeemable Securities

Treasury Stock

Changes in Shareholders’ Equity

Equity-Based Payments to Non-Employees


Chapter 10 Review Questions

Chapter 11 – Revenue Recognition

Learning Objectives


Overview of Revenue Recognition

Public Company Revenue Recognition

The Installment Method

The Cost Recovery Method

The Right of Return

Extended Warranty Revenue

Advertising Barter Transactions

Management Fees

Revenue Recognition for Multiple-Element Arrangements

The Milestone Method

Construction-Type and Production-Type Contracts

Elements of Revenue

Elements of Cost

Back Charges

Provisions for Losses

Percentage of Completion Method

Completed Contract Method


Gains and Losses

Principal Agent Considerations

Gross or Net Considerations

Shipping and Handling Charges

Expense Reimbursements

Customer Payments and Incentives

Accounting by the Supplier

Accounting by the Customer

Accounting by Service Providers for Payments to Equipment Producers or Resellers

Presentation of Consideration Paid by Suppliers (Supplier Viewpoint)

Presentation of Consideration Paid by Suppliers (Customer Viewpoint)

Layaway Sales Arrangements

Nonrefundable Up-Front Fee Arrangements

Consignment Arrangements

Contingent Rental Income

Revenue Recognition Disclosures

Private Company Disclosures

Public Company Disclosures


Chapter 11 Review Questions

Chapter 12 – Accounting for Payroll

Learning Objectives


The Chart of Accounts

Types of Payroll Journal Entries

Primary Payroll Journal Entry

Accrued Wages

Accrued Bonuses

Accrued Commissions

Benefit Payments

Accrued Benefits

Stock Subscriptions

Manual Paycheck Entry

Employee Advances

Accrued Vacation Pay

Tax Deposits

Payroll Information in the Financial Statements - Wages

Payroll Information in the Financial Statements – Payroll Taxes


Chapter 12 Review Questions

Chapter 13 – Accounting for Stock-Based Compensation

Learning Objectives


Overview of Stock Compensation

The Volatility Concept

Fair Value Calculation Alternatives

Awards Classified as Equity

Award Measurement Problems

Contingent Features

Award Modifications

Income Tax Effects

Awards Classified as Liabilities

Employee Share Purchase Plans

Stock-Based Compensation Disclosures


Chapter 13 Review Questions

Chapter 14 – Accounting for Income Taxes

Learning Objectives


Overview of Income Taxes

Accounting for Income Taxes

Tax Positions

Deferred Tax Expense

Applicable Tax Rate

Interest and Penalties

Intraperiod Tax Allocation

Taxes Related to Undistributed Earnings

Interim Reporting

Income Taxes Presentation

Income Taxes Disclosure

Balance Sheet

Income Statement



Chapter 14 Review Questions

Chapter 15 – Accounting for Business Combinations

Learning Objectives


Overview of Business Combinations

Identifiable Assets and Liabilities, and Noncontrolling Interests

Goodwill or Gain from Bargain Purchase

Goodwill Calculation

Bargain Purchase

Reverse Acquisitions

Related Issues

Acquisition of Assets

Transactions between Entities under Control of Same Parent

Pushdown Accounting

Income Taxes

Business Combination Disclosures

General Disclosures

Identifiable Assets and Liabilities, and any Noncontrolling Interest

Goodwill or Gain from Bargain Purchase

Reverse Acquisitions

Transactions between Entities under Control of Same Parent

Income Taxes


Chapter 15 Review Questions

Chapter 16 – Foreign Currency Matters

Learning Objectives


Foreign Currency Transactions

Financial Statement Translation

Determination of Functional Currency

Translation of Financial Statements

Use of Average Exchange Rates

Hyperinflationary Effects

Derecognition of a Foreign Entity Investment

Foreign Currency Disclosures


Chapter 16 Review Questions

Chapter 17 – Accounting for Leases

Learning Objectives


Overview of Leases

Capital Lease Criteria

Lease Classification by Lessor

Accounting for Leasehold Improvements

Special Lease Terms

Operating Leases

Operating Lease Treatment by Lessee

Operating Lease Treatment by Lessor

Capital Leases

Capital Lease Treatment by Lessee

Capital Lease Treatment of Sublease by Lessee

Capital Lease Treatment by Lessor (Sales-Type Lease)

Capital Lease Treatment by Lessor (Direct Financing Lease)

Capital Lease Treatment by Lessor (Leveraged Lease)

Capital Lease Treatment by Lessor (Broadly Applicable)

Sale-Leaseback Transactions

Sale-Leaseback Treatment by Lessee

Sale-Leaseback Treatment by Lessor

Lease Disclosures

Lessee Disclosures

Lessor Disclosures


Chapter 17 Review Questions

Chapter 18 – Accounting Changes and Error Corrections

Learning Objectives


Changes in Accounting Principle

Changes in Accounting Estimate

Changes in Reporting Entity

Correction of an Error in Previously Issued Financial Statements

Corrections Related to Prior Interim Periods

The Materiality of an Error

Accounting Changes and Error Corrections Disclosures

Change in Accounting Principle

Change in Accounting Estimate

Change in Reporting Entity

Error Corrections

Historical Summaries


Chapter 18 Review Questions

Chapter 19 – Closing the Books

Learning Objectives


Prior Steps: Update Reserves

Core Steps: Issue Customer Invoices

Core Steps: Value Inventory

Core Steps: Calculate Depreciation

Core Steps: Create Accruals

Core Steps: Consolidate Division Results

Core Steps: Eliminate Intercompany Transactions

Core Steps: Review Journal Entries

Core Steps: Reconcile Accounts

Core Steps: Close Subsidiary Ledgers

Core Steps: Create Financial Statements

Core Steps: Review Financial Statements

Core Steps: Accrue Tax Liabilities

Core Steps: Close the Month

Core Steps: Add Disclosures

Core Steps: Write Cover Letter

Core Steps: Issue Financial Statements

Delayed Steps: Issue Customer Invoices

Delayed Steps: Closing Metrics

Delayed Steps: Document Future Closing Changes

Delayed Steps: Update Closing Procedures


Chapter 19 Review Questions

Chapter 20 – The Financial Statements

Learning Objectives


The Income Statement

Income Statement Overview

The Single-Step Income Statement

The Multi-Step Income Statement

The Condensed Income Statement

The Contribution Margin Income Statement

The Multi-Period Income Statement

How to Construct the Income Statement

The Balance Sheet

Overview of the Balance Sheet

The Common Size Balance Sheet

The Comparative Balance Sheet

How to Construct the Balance Sheet

The Statement of Cash Flows

Overview of the Statement of Cash Flows

The Direct Method

The Indirect Method

How to Prepare the Statement of Cash Flows

The Statement of Retained Earnings

Overview of the Statement of Retained Earnings

How to Prepare the Statement of Retained Earnings


Chapter 20 Review Questions

Chapter 21 – Public Company Financial Reporting

Learning Objectives


Interim Reporting

The Integral View

The Discrete View

Comparison of the Integral and Discrete Views

Interim Reporting Issues

Segment Reporting

Primary Segment Reporting Issues

The Segment Report

Earnings per Share

Basic Earnings per Share

Diluted Earnings per Share

Presentation of Earnings per Share

The Public Company Closing Process

The Form 10-Q

The Form 10-K


Chapter 21 Review Questions

Chapter 22 – Management Reports

Learning Objectives


The Duration of a Report

Responsibility Reporting

The Flash Report

Expense Reporting

Margin Reporting

Variance Reporting

The Purchase Price Variance

Material Yield Variance

Labor Rate Variance

Labor Efficiency Variance

Variable Overhead Spending Variance

Variable Overhead Efficiency Variance

Fixed Overhead Spending Variance

Selling Price Variance

Sales Volume Variance

Problems with Variance Analysis

Which Variances to Report

How to Report Variances


Chapter 22 Review Questions

Chapter 23 – Cash Receipts Management

Learning Objectives


Check Receipts

Check Receipt Improvements

The Bank Lockbox

Automatic Cash Application

Mailstop Number

Remote Deposit Capture

Cash Receipts

Cash Receipts Improvements

Credit Card Receipts

Credit Card Receipt Improvements

Enter Information in Online Form Immediately

Online Payment Apps

Debit Cards


Chapter 23 Review Questions

Chapter 24 – Collection Tactics

Learning Objectives


Overview of Collection Tactics

Collection Tactics

Courtesy Calls

Grace Period Reduction

Dunning Letters

Check Payment by Fax or email

Pay Undisputed Line Items

Confirm Payment Date

Take Back Merchandise

Hold Orders

ACH Debits

Split Payments

Interest and Penalties

Promissory Note

Salesperson Assistance

COD Roll



Attorney Letters

Final Demand Letter

Issue Small Claims Court Complaint

The Collection Reputation

Credit Repayments

The Collection Call



Phone Skills



Collect in Person


Chapter 24 Review Questions

Chapter 25 – Payroll Management

Learning Objectives


Payroll Cycle Duration

Streamlined Timekeeping

Electronic Payments

Employee Self-Service

Manager Self-Service

Transaction Error Analysis

Staff Training Program

The Payroll Calendar

Information Confidentiality


Chapter 25 Review Questions

Chapter 26 – Budgeting

Learning Objectives


The System of Budgets

The Reasons for Budget Iterations

Overview of the Revenue Budget

The Ending Finished Goods Inventory Budget

The Production Budget

Production Budgeting for Multiple Products

The Direct Materials Budget (Roll-Up Method)

The Direct Materials Budget (Historical Method)

The Direct Labor Budget

The Manufacturing Overhead Budget

The Sales and Marketing Budget

Diminishing Returns Analysis

The Research and Development Budget

The Administration Budget

The Compensation Budget

The Budgeted Income Statement

The Budgeted Balance Sheet

Accounts Receivable


Fixed Assets

Accounts Payable

Additional Estimation Elements

The Cash Line Item

The Financing Budget

The Compiled Balance Sheet


Chapter 26 Review Questions

Chapter 27 – Capital Budgeting

Learning Objectives


Overview of Capital Budgeting

Bottleneck Analysis

Net Present Value Analysis

The Payback Method

Capital Budget Proposal Analysis

The Outsourcing Decision

The Capital Budgeting Application Form

The Post Installation Review

The Lease versus Buy Decision


Chapter 27 Review Questions

Chapter 28 – Business Ratios

Learning Objectives


What to Measure

Measurement Consistency

Measurement Timing

Deflated Sales Growth

Sales per Person

Deflated Profit Growth

Profit per Person

Core Earnings Ratio

Breakeven Point

Margin of Safety

Current Ratio

Quick Ratio

Working Capital Productivity

Debt to Equity Ratio

Interest Coverage Ratio

Cost per Square Foot

Occupancy Cost Ratio

Return on Equity

Days Sales Outstanding

Best Possible DSO

Collection Effectiveness Index

Inventory Turnover

Sales Productivity

Sales Backlog Ratio

Customer Turnover


Chapter 28 Review Questions

Chapter 29 – Cost Object Analysis

Learning Objectives


Factors in Cost Object Analysis

The Assignability of Costs

The Customer Cost Object

Customer Acquisition Costs

Customer Lifetime Value

The Employee Cost Object

The Product Cost Object

The Product Line Cost Object

The Sales Channel Cost Object

Cost Object Termination Issues

Which Cost Objects to Track


Chapter 29 Review Questions

Review Question Answers and Rationales



Final Examination

Answer Sheet

Course Evaluation



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