There are no prerequisites.

Course Description

In smaller organizations, the bookkeeper is responsible for all accounting activities, including paying employees, billing customers, accounting for inventory, and issuing financial statements. This calls for a broad range of practical accounting knowledge. The Comprehensive Bookkeeping Guidebook fills this need by describing all aspects of the bookkeeper position.

The course is split into two parts, the first of which addresses the general system of accounting, how transactions are recorded, and how financial statements are constructed and interpreted. In the second part, we'll cover the mechanics of bookkeeping for specific functional areas, including billings, collections, cash receipts, accounts payable, inventory, fixed assets, and payroll. You'll also learn about the reports that must be made to the government that are related to payroll and income taxes.


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

  • Cite the responsibilities of the bookkeeper

 Chapter 2

  • Recognize terms and concepts associated with financial accounting, noting applicable accounting frameworks and underlying accounting principles
  • Recognize the nature and flow of the accounting cycle, identifying types of transactions cycles, source documents, and the purpose of journal entries

 Chapter 3

  • Recognize the structure of the chart of accounts, identifying the most common accounts used
  • Identify the situations in which different chart of account structures should be used, recognizing issues relating to the reduction of the chart of accounts

 Chapter 4

  • Identify types of ledgers and subsidiary ledgers, noting the characteristics of each
  • Recognize the format and information contained in the general ledger, citing the uses to which the trial balance can be put

 Chapter 5

  • Recognize the steps involved in closing the books and tolls used to review the financial statements, identifying the intent of a closing activity and key closing activities an organization is likely to need

 Chapter 6

  • Identify the different formats in which the financial statements can be presented, noting the purpose and accounts used on each statement, sources of information, formulas, and classification of line items

 Chapter 7

  • Identify ratios that can be used to interpret the information in the financial statements, noting the components of each type of analysis as well as the resulting financial impact applicable limitations

 Chapter 8

  • Identify controls used in the processing of billings, cash receipts, payables, expense reports, petty cash, and payroll, recognizing their purpose, benefits, and resulting impact

 Chapter 9

  • Identify the documents used in the processing of credit requests, billings, and communications with customers, noting their proper usage and intended purpose
  • Recognize the responsibilities of staff involved in the sales and collection process

 Chapter 10

  • Recognize the processing requirements for cash payments and credit cards
  • Cite the responsibilities of the parties involved in cash and credit card processing, identifying causes of errors and improvements that can be made
  • Note the mechanics and purpose of the bank reconciliation

 Chapter 11

  • Recognize the reconciliation process for procurement cards, identifying forms that can be used as a part of the reconciliation as well as situations in which procurement card billings can be called into question
  • Identify the types of reimbursements allowed on an expense report and the reimbursement rules related to expense reports
  • Identify the purpose and elements of a petty cash system

 Chapter 12

  • Identify types of inventory tracking systems, noting their characteristics, calculations, and proper accounting
  • Cite methods available for estimating the cost of ending inventory and determine the ending inventory given a set of circumstances

 Chapter 13

  • Recognize key concepts and terminology related to fixed assets, including classifications, accounting, capitalization limit, base unit, and measurement
  • Cite the purpose depreciation, identify key concepts and methods used in calculating depreciation, and determine the amount of depreciation of an item given a set of circumstances
  • Note the depreciation rules related to land and land improvements

 Chapter 14

  • Recognize the classification, accounting, and reconciliation for debt, identifying the underlying cause of a loan balance difference in the records of the borrower and lender

 Chapter 15

  • Identify government forms associated with payroll activities, noting their purpose and usage
  • Identify the different types of pay cycles, noting key differences between each
  • Recognize the methods for calculating gross pay and determining income tax withholdings
  • Recognize the accounting for payroll transactions such as benefits, charitable contributions, garnishments, and student loans

 Chapter 16

  • Recognize when payroll tax deposits should be made, how to remit the funds, related reporting requirements, and the rules associated with tax remittances including applicable penalties and interest
  • Note how the FUTA tax is calculated, when deposits should be made, the timing of payments, and reporting requirements

 Chapter 17

  • Recognize the forms used by the different types of businesses to report their income tax liabilities, identifying the characteristics and usage of each applicable form
  • Note the loss recognition by partners in a partnership

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – The Bookkeeper Position

Learning Objectives


The Bookkeeper Position

Bookkeeper Qualifications

The Full Charge Bookkeeper

Relations with the Company’s CPA

The Difference between Accounting and Bookkeeping


Chapter 1 – Review Questions

Chapter 2 – Bookkeeping Basics

Learning Objectives


Financial Accounting Basics

Accounting Frameworks

Accounting Principles

The Accounting Cycle

Accounting Transactions

Types of Transaction Cycles

Source Documents

Double Entry Accounting

The Accounting Equation

Journal Entries

Major Journal Entries

The Accruals Concept

The Realization Concept

Accrual Basis of Accounting

Cash Basis of Accounting

Converting Cash Basis to Accrual Basis Accounting


Chapter 2 – Review Questions

Chapter 3 – The Chart of Accounts

Learning Objectives


Overview of the Chart of Accounts

The Three-Digit Chart of Accounts

The Five-Digit Chart of Accounts

Chart of Accounts Reduction


Chapter 3 – Review Questions

Chapter 4 – The Ledger Concept

Learning Objectives


The Ledger Concept

Posting to the General Ledger

General Ledger Overview

The Accounts Receivable Ledger

The Purchase Ledger

Reconciling the General 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 4 – Review Questions

Chapter 5 – Closing the Books

Learning Objectives


Journal Entries

The Accruals Concept

Adjusting Entries

Reversing Entries

Common Adjusting Entries

Closing Entries

Prior Closing Steps: Update Reserves

Core Closing Steps: Create Customer Invoices

Core Closing Steps: Reconcile the Bank Statement

Core Closing Steps: Calculate Depreciation

Core Closing Steps: Accounts Payable

Core Closing Steps: Review Journal Entries

Core Closing Steps: Reconcile Accounts

Core Closing Steps: Close Subsidiary Ledgers

Core Closing Steps: Create Financial Statements

Core Closing Steps: Review Financial Statements

Core Closing Steps: Accrue Tax Liabilities

Core Closing Steps: Close the Month

Core Closing Steps: Add Disclosures

Core Steps: Issue Financial Statements

Delayed Closing Steps: Closing Metrics

Delayed Closing Steps: Document Future Closing Changes

Delayed Closing Steps: Update Closing Procedures


Chapter 5 – Review Questions

Chapter 6 – The Financial Statements

Learning Objectives


Income Statement Overview

The Single-Step Income Statement

The Multi-Step Income Statement

The Multi-Period Income Statement

How to Construct the Income Statement

Overview of the Balance Sheet

The Comparative Balance Sheet

How to Construct the Balance Sheet

Overview of the Statement of Cash Flows

The Direct Method

The Indirect Method

How to Prepare the Statement of Cash Flows


Chapter 6 – Review Questions

Chapter 7 – Interpretation of Financial Statements

Learning Objectives


Interpretation of Financial Statements

Horizontal Analysis

Vertical Analysis

Current Ratio

Quick Ratio

Liquidity Index

Accounts Payable Turnover Ratio

Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

Inventory Turnover Ratio

Fixed Asset Turnover Ratio

Sales to Working Capital Ratio

Debt to Equity Ratio

Fixed Charge Coverage

Breakeven Point

Gross Profit Ratio

Net Profit Ratio

Return on Net Assets

Limitations of Ratio Analysis


Chapter 7 – Review Questions

Chapter 8 – Bookkeeping Controls

Learning Objectives


Customer Billing Controls

Collection Controls

Cash Receipts Controls

Accounts Payable Controls

Expense Report Controls

Petty Cash Controls

Payroll Controls


Chapter 8 – Review Questions

Chapter 9 – Sales and Collection Activities

Learning Objectives


Offering Credit to Customers

The Billing Process

Additional Manual Billing Steps

The Invoice

Accounting for Sales Discounts

Credit Memo Processing

The Credit Memo

Cash Sales

Remitting Sales Taxes

The Accounts Receivable Aging Report

Reconciling Accounts Receivable

The Statement of Account

Collection Activities

Calculating and Recording Bad Debts

Direct Write-Off Method

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts


Chapter 9 – Review Questions

Chapter 10 – Cash Processing

Learning Objectives


Check Receipts

Check Receipt Improvements

The Bank Lockbox

Remote Deposit Capture

Cash Receipts

Credit Card Receipts

The Bank Reconciliation

The Not Sufficient Funds Concept

The Daily Bank Reconciliation

The Proof of Cash

Cash Overdrafts

Bank Reconciliation Problems


Chapter 10 – Review Questions

Chapter 11 – Payables Processing

Learning Objectives


The Payables System

Supplier Invoice Processing

The Check Request Form

Adjustment Letter

The Check Payment Issuance Process

Expense Report Processing

Expense Report Form

The Review of Expense Reports

Procurement Card Processing

The Procurement Card Reconciliation

Missing Receipts Form

Disputed Expenditure Form

The Petty Cash System

Petty Cash Transfer Form

Petty Cash Voucher

Petty Cash Book

Petty Cash Reconciliation

Petty Cash Disbursement Process

Petty Cash Funding Process

Early Payment Discounts

Accounts Payable Aging Report

The 1099 Vendor


Chapter 11 – Review Questions

Chapter 12 – Inventory Accounting

Learning Objectives


The Periodic Inventory System

The Perpetual Inventory System

Inventory Cost Layering Overview

The First in, First Out Method

The Last in, First Out Method

The Weighted Average Method

The Specific Identification Method

Estimating Ending Inventory

Gross Profit Method

Retail Inventory Method

The Lower of Cost or Market Rule


Chapter 12 – Review Questions

Chapter 13 – Fixed Assets and Depreciation

Learning Objectives


What are Fixed Assets?

Fixed Asset Classifications

Accounting for Fixed Assets

The Capitalization Limit

The Base Unit

The Initial Measurement of a Fixed Asset

The Purpose of Depreciation

Depreciation Concepts

Accelerated Depreciation

Sum-of-the-Years’ Digits Method

Double-Declining Balance Method

Straight-Line Method

Units of Production Method

Depletion Method

MACRS Depreciation

The Depreciation of Land

The Depreciation of Land Improvements

Depreciation Accounting Entries

Accumulated Depreciation

Asset Derecognition

Abandoned and Idle Assets

Asset Disposal Accounting


Chapter 13 – Review Questions

Chapter 14 – Debt Accounting

Learning Objectives


Basic Debt Accounting

The Amortization Schedule

Reconciling the Debt Account


Chapter 14 – Review Questions

Chapter 15 – Payroll Activities

Learning Objectives


Required Government Forms

Application for Employer Identification Number

Form W-4

Form I-9

Selecting a Payroll Cycle

Employee Time Tracking


Time Cards

Gross Pay Calculations

Work Week

Hourly Rate Plan



Salaries Paid for Partial Periods

Deductions from Gross Payroll

Social Security Tax

Medicare Tax

Income Tax Withholdings

Benefits and Other Deductions

The Benefits Deduction Arrangement

Deductions for Payments to Third Parties

Charitable Contributions

Garnishments Overview

Child Support Garnishment

Student Loan Garnishment

Tax Garnishment

Union Dues

Deductions for Financing Repayments

Net Pay

Special Payroll Items


Flexible Spending Accounts

Accounting for Payroll Transactions

Primary Payroll Journal Entry

Accrued Wages

Accrued Bonuses

Accrued Commissions

Manual Paycheck Entry

Employee Advances

Accrued Vacation Pay

Tax Deposits


Chapter 15 – Review Questions

Chapter 16 – Payroll Taxes

Learning Objectives


Types of Tax Deposit Schedules

Monthly Deposit Schedule

Semiweekly Deposit Schedule

Remittance Method

Accuracy of Deposits Rule

The Form 941 Quarterly Federal Tax Return

Federal Tax Deposit Penalties

State Tax Remittances

Local Tax Remittances

FUTA Tax Calculation

FUTA Tax Deposits

FUTA Tax Payment Timing

FUTA Tax Reporting

State Unemployment Taxes

Form W-2

Form W-3

Corrections to Forms W-2 and W-3

Workers’ Compensation Insurance


Chapter 16 – Review Questions

Chapter 17 – Income Tax Filings

Learning Objectives


Income Taxes for a Sole Proprietorship

Income Taxes for a Partnership

Income Taxes for a C Corporation

Income Taxes for an S Corporation

Tax Reduction Strategies for Small Businesses


Chapter 17 – Review Questions

Review Question Answers and Rationales




Qualified Assessment

Answer Sheet

Course Evaluation 

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