Closing the Books: An Accountant’s Guide

13 Credits: Accounting


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Closing the Books: An Accountant’s Guide

Course Level
CPE Credits

13 Credits: Accounting

Course Description

This comprehensive course is designed for practicing accountants facing the rigorous demands of closing the books and preparing financial statements each month. It features an in-depth walkthrough of every step in the closing process, from managing subsidiary ledgers to consolidating divisional results. The course benefits participants by providing detailed guidance on constructing a robust financial statement package and implementing effective controls and record-keeping systems. Additionally, you will learn how to perform early bank reconciliations, utilize workflow management systems, and handle various accounting scenarios, such as inventory record accuracy and petty cash closure. This course not only imparts critical knowledge but also equips you with practical techniques to streamline your closing process, enhance accuracy, and deliver timely financial statements, ultimately elevating your professional expertise in accounting.

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Learning Objectives

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

Chapter 1

  • Cite an example of a common subsidiary ledger
  • Identify what is recorded in the purchase ledger

Chapter 2

  • Identify the purpose of an adjusted trial balance or extended trial balance
  • Specify where line items in a trial balance originate

Chapter 3

  • State the offset account of accrued revenue
  • List the purpose of a reversing entry and income summary account
  • Identify why accountants are assigned to make journal entries

Chapter 4

  • Identify a key issue when consolidating results from divisions
  • Cite the importance of closing subsidiary ledgers

Chapter 5

  • List an advantage of performing an early bank reconciliation
  • Specify the purpose of workflow management systems

Chapter 6

  • Define not sufficient funds and lifting fee
  • Identify how the closing of petty cash affects the overall close

Chapter 7

  • Cite when it is not necessary to record revenue
  • List an inefficient way for handling rebillable expenses

Chapter 8

  • Identify a way to improve inventory record accuracy
  • Define the first in, first out method
  • Cite the basis for the retail inventory method
  • Specify when overhead may be overabsorbed

Chapter 9

  • Cite when interest should be capitalized
  • Define carrying amount
  • State what should be done when an asset group is impaired

Chapter 10

  • Define negative approval
  • Cite an example of a situation where accounts payable would suspend payment
  • Identify an advantage of accruing an expense based on the purchase order

Chapter 11

  • Specify where a commission expense may be classified
  • Identify an item for which payroll tax accrual is inappropriate
  • Cite how an employee pay raise affects vacation accrual

Chapter 12

  • Name a type of income statement that has multiple subtotals
  • Identify the purpose of the contribution margin income statement
  • Cite a good source document for use when compiling by hand

Chapter 13

  • Identify how specific items should be classified on a balance sheet
  • List steps used to construct a balance sheet

Chapter 14

  • Identify an item included in the investing activities section of a statement of cash flows
  • Specify where an increase in trade receivables would be accounted for

Chapter 15

  • List an item that could be separately identified on the statement of retained earnings

Chapter 16

  • List what should be included when disclosing bad debts, contingencies and commitments, fixed assets, or revenue issues

Chapter 17

  • Define segment test and identify how to proceed when cutoffs are not met
  • Cite procedure for reporting segment information

Chapter 18

  • Identify assumptions and applications of the integral view
  • State effects of the discrete view on interim reporting
  • Specify when a change in accounting estimate occurs

Chapter 19

  • Cite when adjustments should be made to basic earnings per share
  • Specify when to subtract interest expense from and items that may reduce diluted earnings per share

Chapter 20

  • List a possible consequence of third-party Form 10-Q preparation
  • Name a document that may only be issued with board of directors’ approval
  • Cite a step in the EDGARizing process

Chapter 21

  • Identify when an analytical review is helpful

Chapter 22

  • List items to be included in the month-end binder
  • Identify what should be part of recordkeeping for public companies

Chapter 23

  • Identify good recipients for soft close financial statements
  • Cite the date when calendar-year companies would use a soft close
  • List situations when a soft close may produce financial statement errors
  • Define a virtual close and specify how it differs from a soft close
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Course Specifics

Course ID
Revision Date
May 24, 2023

There are no prerequisites.

Advanced Preparation


Number of Pages

Compliance Information

NASBA Provider Number: 103220

CMA Notice: Western CPE makes every attempt to maintain our CMA CPE library, to ensure a course meets your continuing education requirements please visit Insitute of Management Accountants (IMA)

CFP Notice: Not all courses that qualify for CFP® credit are registered by Western CPE. If a course does not have a CFP registration number in the compliance section, the continuing education will need to be individually reported with the CFP Board. For more information on the reporting process, required documentation, processing fee, etc., contact the CFP Board. CFP Professionals must take each course in it’s entirety, the CFP Board DOES NOT accept partial credits for courses.

Meet The Experts

Steven M. Bragg, CPA, is a full-time book and course author who has written more than 300 business books and courses. 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 …