There are no prerequisites.

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Course Description

Designed to give new controllers a firm foundation in the concepts of managing the accounting department, locating GAAP information, and knowing what to do with key accounting information, The Essential Controller is an invaluable resource you can turn to for guidance. Whether your business is large, small, or medium-sized, the materials provide a complete overview of the controller's responsibilities and the role that today's controllers should be playing. This course offers new coverage of finance strategy, updates taxation strategy, and includes a new controller checklist you can use to stay on track.


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 12, 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 tasks and role of the accounting function
  • Recognize the role of the controller, citing differences between a traditional controller and the controller of the present
  • Recognize the importance that ethics play in the role of an accountant, noting the impact of ethics on the accounting role
  • Identify the proper steps to take when confronted with ethical issues

Chapter 2

  • Recognize the different functions that a controller is responsible for
  • Identify the key tasks in the controller’s job description
  • Specify the key elements in managing rapid growth

Chapter 3

  • Recognize the new role the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) needs to take on in today's business climate
  • Identify the major tasks the CFO is responsible for
  • Specify the key elements in communicating change within the finance department and the organization as a whole
  • Identify important characteristics that help executive teams drive change

Chapter 4

  • Associate the tasks of the accounting department to a specific job title
  • Note the average time consumed to find and fix errors, identifying locations to spot errors as well as ways to correct those errors
  • Recognize the tools used to determine if implementing a new best practice will be beneficial
  • Identify the most common functions in the accounting department that get outsourced, citing the main concerns in creating contracts for each

Chapter 5

  • Cite the purpose of cost accounting
  • Identify different tools used to collect data
  • Recognize the major differences between the main costing methodologies
  • Recognize the three main cost variance categories, identifying the main causes of each of the major variances

Chapter 6

  • Specify the importance of ratios used to analyze business functions
  • Identify ratios used to analyze business functions, noting their characteristics
  • Compute return on assets, cash flow return on assets, and return on shareholder equity given a set of circumstances
  • Cite the factors that a controller should consider when analyzing ratios

Chapter 7

  • Specify the uses and objectives of internal controls
  • Identify members of a company with oversight of internal controls, including their order of responsibility
  • Identify the common controls that are used based on financial statement groupings
  • Recognize the general types of fraud and their identifying characteristics
  • Identify the low/high level indicators a controller can use to uncover fraud
  • Specify the actions that can be taken when fraud is discovered
  • Recognize the components and requirements of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, identifying attributes a company’s controls must contain

Chapter 8

  • Identify the different types of fast closes, noting the main differences between each type
  • Specify the activities that can be done before the closing period ends as well as the activities that should wait until after the closing period ends
  • Recognize ways to improve the speed of the closing process

Chapter 9

  • Cite the rationale behind the different reporting relationships the internal audit function can have within a company
  • Recognize the different characteristics a successful audit committee has
  • Specify the different roles the audit committee is usually granted
  • Identify eight internal audit objectives as well as the activities associated with accomplishing each objective

Chapter 10

  • Note the components of the recruiting process, identifying the different sources to find new hires and the factors that lead to a successful hire
  • Recognize the differences between horizontal and vertical promotion
  • Cite the importance of low turnover, identifying ways a controller can reduce their turnover rate
  • Identify the three different types of communication a controller should use in their day-to-day activities, noting the characteristics of each type
  • Recognize the importance of motivating employees, citing the motivational factors in a multi-layered motivational system

Chapter 11

  • Recognize the typical audience the investor relation function serves
  • Identify the benefits and risks associated with disclosing company information to investors
  • Specify financial market objectives

Chapter 12

  • Recognize the five main tax saving strategies, identifying when each strategy would be the most beneficial

Choose Your Preferred Format

Online Access

Get immediate access to a robust collection of learning and reference materials, allowing you to dive deep into the information you need. Our self-study materials are authored by top-quality, industry experts who focus on helping you grasp concepts quickly using real-life examples. Download your CPE to any device, and take it with you so you can learn when and wherever you want. Complete your CPE with an online exam, and enjoy instant grading with the option to print your certificate immediately upon passing.

online access
Hard Copy

Our self-study materials are authored by top-quality, industry experts. You’ll receive a bound notebook of all the course materials, shipped to you within one business day. In addition, you’ll also have full online access. Each self-study package includes a robust collection of learning and reference materials to help you cover the information efficiently and put it into practice immediately.

hard copy
Self-Study Video

Experience high-quality instruction with our Self-Study Videos, available to you 24/7. With more than 80+ videos currently in the Western CPE Self-Study Video library, you can see and hear our expert instructors deliver the information you need in a dynamic way that allows you to immediately apply your learning. Unlike a live course or webcast, you can complete the course on your own time, playing and pausing as needed. Self-Study Videos allow you to complete your CPE requirements on your own time.

hard copy

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