There are no prerequisites.

Course Description

The controller position has many responsibilities, which can seem overwhelming to someone new to the job. This course eases the transition into the controller role by describing each responsibility, noting which ones are the most critical, and showing you how to manage them properly.

Instructor Steven Bragg addresses the key management aspects of the job, including the management of cash, billings, collections, inventory, fixed assets, accounts payable, payroll, and management of the accounting department as a whole. All aspects of reporting, such as closing the books, financial statements formats, extra reports to be issued by a publicly-held company, and a variety of management reports are covered in depth. Planning considerations, with discussions of the entire system of budgets and capital budgeting, are discussed, along with how to select and install an accounting computer system.


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

Oct 2, 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

  • Note the roles of the controller and the chief financial officer
  • Identify activities to address during the controller’s first days on the job

Chapter 2

  • Identify key elements involved in the accounting for cash, including how to reconcile, administer petty cash, forecast and invest, and set up a system of cash controls

Chapter 3

  • Note the measurements that can be applied to the credit and collection processes
  • Identify techniques and accounting used for credit and collections

Chapter 4

  • Recognize the methods for creating and issuing customer invoices, as well as how to account for them

Chapter 5

  • Identify the types of inventory tracking and costing systems available, noting their characteristics and use as well as how to manage the systems

Chapter 6

  • Identify ways to track fixed assets, noting the characteristics and usage of each method
  • Recognize the accounting for fixed assets, noting fixed assets controls, record keeping, and audit requirements

Chapter 7

  • Identify major accounts payable processes, noting how to manage the accounts payable function and set up a proper system of controls for it

Chapter 8

  • Recognize the key elements in accounting for equity, noting terminology and how to account for basic equity-related transactions such as stock and dividends

Chapter 9

  • Identify techniques used in the processing of payroll, noting key characteristics for payroll cycle durations and timekeeping
  • Specify ways to improve the processing of payroll, including the key characteristics and usage for each method
  • Note the proper way to account for common payroll transactions
  • Identify various payroll controls, noting the characteristics of each type of control

Chapter 10

  • Identify the methods and techniques available for establishing a system of management over the accounting department, noting benefits and drawbacks associated with each

Chapter 11

  • Identify the various steps needed to close the books and issue financial statements, noting key characteristics of each step as well as important issues to consider

Chapter 12

  • Identify the different types of available financial reporting formats, noting key characteristics and usage, account classifications, and preparation requirements for each

Chapter 13

  • Recognize the additional financial reporting requirements and subsequent tests for publicly-held companies related to interim reporting, segment reporting, and earnings per share
  • Identify the role and responsibilities of the controller and chief operating decision makers
  • Note the key elements in the public company closing process, including the additional steps needed to close the books, required forms, and disclosures for non-GAAP information 

Chapter 14

  • Identify the types of management reports to issue, noting common line items and reporting concerns
  • Calculate the selling price variance given a set of circumstances

Chapter 15

  • Identify the ratios that can be used by the controller, noting the characteristics of each type of ratio as well as applicable differences

Chapter 16

  • Recognize the components that comprise a company’s budget, noting how the various components are assembled to create a complete budget package

Chapter 17

  • Identify the main methods used to investigate requests for capital spending, noting the characteristics, focus, and usage of each
  • Note the intent and usage of a post installation review

Chapter 18

  • Recognize the steps required to select and install an accounting computer system, noting important topics to consider
  • Note the nature of a bidders conference

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – The Controller Job Description

Learning Objectives


The Controller Job Description

The Chief Financial Officer Job Description

The New Controller Checklist


Chapter 1 Review Questions

Chapter 2 – Cash Management

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Overview of the Bank Reconciliation

The Bank Reconciliation Procedure

Bank Reconciliation Problems

The Bank Reconciliation Statement

Accounting for Petty Cash

The Cash Forecast

Cash Investments

Negative Cash on the Balance Sheet

Cash Controls

Cash Record Keeping


Chapter 2 Review Questions

Chapter 3 – Credit and Collections Management

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Receivables Measurement

Credit Management

Credit Terms and the Cost of Credit

Collections Management

Other Cash Acceleration Techniques

The Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

The Direct Write-off Method

Credit and Collection Controls


Chapter 3 Review Questions

Chapter 4 – Billing Management

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Billing Management

Structure of the Invoice

Accounting for Billings

Accrued Revenue

Accounting for Sales Taxes

Billing Controls


Chapter 4 Review Questions

Chapter 5 – Inventory Management

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

The Periodic Inventory System

The Perpetual Inventory System

How to Set Up Inventory Record Keeping

Cycle Counting

Inventory Reconciliation

The Physical Inventory Count

Inventory Costing

The First In, First Out Method

The Last In, First Out Method

The Weighted Average Method

Standard Costing

The Retail Inventory Method

Accounting for Obsolete Inventory


Chapter 5 Review Questions

Chapter 6 – Fixed Assets Management

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Fixed Asset Tracking

Tag Tracking

Bar Code Tracking

RFID Tracking – Active Transmission

RFID Tracking –Passive Transmission

Accounting for Fixed Assets

Fixed Asset Controls

Controls for Fixed Asset Acquisition

Controls for Fixed Asset Theft

Controls for Fixed Asset Disposal

Fixed Asset Record Keeping

Audit Requirements


Chapter 6 Review Questions

Chapter 7 – Accounts Payable Management

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Accounts Payable Management

Three-Way Matching

Use Taxes

Accounting for Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable Controls

Accounts Payable Record Keeping


Chapter 7 Review Questions

Chapter 8 – Equity Management

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Accounting for Stock

The Sale of Stock for Cash

Stock Issued in Exchange for Non-Cash Assets or Services

The Repurchase of Stock (Treasury Stock)

Accounting for Dividends


Chapter 8 Review Questions

Chapter 9 – Payroll Management

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Payroll Cycle Duration

Streamlined Timekeeping

Timekeeping Systems

Computerized Time Clocks

Internet-Based Time Tracking

Electronic Payments

Payments by Direct Deposit

Payments by Pay Card

Employee Self-Service

Manager Self-Service

Transaction Error Analysis

Staff Training Program

The Payroll Calendar

Information Confidentiality

Accounting for Payroll

Primary Payroll Journal Entry

Accrued Wages

Accrued Bonuses

Accrued Commissions

Manual Paycheck Entry

Employee Advances

Accrued Vacation Pay

Payroll Controls

General Controls

Payroll Calculation Controls

Check Payment Controls

Direct Deposit Controls

Self-Service Controls

Garnishment Controls

Employee Advances Controls


Chapter 9 Review Questions

Chapter 10 – Department Management

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Schedule of Activities

Error Tracking System

Process Reviews

Queue Management

Department Layout

Skills Review and Training

Consolidate Accounting


Chapter 10 Review Questions

Chapter 11 – Closing the Books

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

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

The Soft Close


Chapter 11 Review Questions

Chapter 12 – The Financial Statements

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

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

The Statement of Activities


Chapter 12 Review Questions

Chapter 13 – Public Company Financial Reporting

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

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

The Form 8-K

The Disclosure of Non-GAAP Information


Chapter 13 Review Questions

Chapter 14 – Management Reports

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

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 14 Review Questions

Chapter 15 – Ratio Analysis

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Core Earnings Ratio

Margin of Safety

Interest Coverage Ratio

Return on Equity

Days Sales Outstanding

Best Possible DSO

Inventory Turnover

Sales Productivity

Sales Backlog Ratio

Measurement Consistency

Measurements and the Soft Close


Chapter 15 Review Questions

Chapter 16 – Budgeting

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

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


Accounts Payable

Additional Estimation Elements

The Cash Line Item

The Financing Budget

The Compiled Balance Sheet


Chapter 16 Review Questions

Chapter 17 – Capital Budgeting

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Overview of Capital Budgeting

Constraint 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 17 Review Questions

Chapter 18 – Computer System Selection and Installation

Learning Objectives


Controller Responsibilities

Computer System Selection

Requirements Development

The Request for Proposals

Bidders Conference

Proposal Evaluation

Demonstrations and Reference Checks

Computer System Installation


Chapter 18 Review Questions

Review Question Answers and Rationales



Qualified Assessment

Answer Sheet

Course Evaluation


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

Back to top