GAAP Guidebook

29 Credits: Accounting


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GAAP Guidebook

Course Level
CPE Credits

29 Credits: Accounting

Course Description

For many accounting professionals, the challenge of navigating through the voluminous and complex Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) documents is a significant hurdle. The extensive nature of these documents makes researching specific GAAP topics time-consuming and often overwhelming, leading to frustration and potential inaccuracies in financial reporting. Keeping up-to-date with the latest principles and practices can be daunting, particularly when handling complex financial situations.

The GAAP Guidebook course addresses these challenges by condensing the essence of GAAP into an easily navigable, single-volume course. This course simplifies GAAP, highlighting key elements of various topics and how accounting information should be disclosed. It provides a clear path through the FASB Codification source documents for additional information. The course is enriched with hundreds of practical examples, showing real-world applications of GAAP, along with sample journal entries and usage tips. As a handy reference for accountants facing tough problems, this course transforms the daunting task of understanding GAAP into a more manageable and efficient process, ensuring accurate and up-to-date financial reporting.

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Learning Objectives

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

Chapter 1

  • Cite the accounting principles that underlie Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

Chapter 2

  • Specify the transactions related to discontinued operations, as well as the disclosures required for certain accounting transactions.

Chapter 3

  • Identify the account classifications used in the balance sheet, as well as the structure of the balance sheet.

Chapter 4

  • State the transactions included in and excluded from other comprehensive income.

Chapter 5

  • Specify the different formats in which the income statement can be presented.

Chapter 6

  • Cite the contents of the sections of the statement of cash flows, and the differences in presentation for the different types of statements of cash flows.

Chapter 7

  • Recognize the disclosures required by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Chapter 8

  • Identify the situations in which accounting changes are allowed, and note the mechanics of retrospective application of changes.

Chapter 9

  • State the methods used to derive current cost.

Chapter 10

  • Specify the calculations for basic earnings per share and diluted earnings per share.

Chapter 11

  • Identify the assumptions that underlie the integral view and discrete view of interim reporting.

Chapter 12

  • Recognize the situations that can cause reportable risks and uncertainties.

Chapter 13

  • State the segment test rules used to determine reportable segments.

Chapter 14

  • Specify the accounting treatment for lending arrangements and loan origination fees.

Chapter 15

  • Identify the accounting for impairment losses on equity and debt securities, as well as the accounting for these investments in the different investment classifications.

Chapter 16

  • Recognize how the equity method is formulated and updated.

Chapter 17

  • Cite how the periodic and perpetual inventory methods are used to derive the cost of goods sold, and how the gross profit method and retail method are used to estimate ending inventory.

Chapter 18

  • Recognize the rules for recognizing and disclosing deferred advertising costs, as well as the accounting for insurance contracts.

Chapter 19

  • Identify the situations in which goodwill is associated with reporting units, and note the rules for conducting impairment testing.

Chapter 20

  • Specify the valuation method used for acquired fixed assets, as well as the calculations for the various depreciation methods.

Chapter 21

  • Identify the assessments and surcharges associated with insurance activities.

Chapter 22

  • State the accounting rules for deferring3 and recognizing asset retirement obligations.

Chapter 23

  • Specify the circumstances under which the cost of employee and other contractual terminations can be recognized.

Chapter 24

  • Cite the characteristics of and reporting obligations associated with commitments.

Chapter 25

  • State the circumstances under which loss contingencies are recognized, and when they are only disclosed.

Chapter 26

  • Identify the methods used to place valuations on guarantees.

Chapter 27

  • State the components of debt, as well as the circumstances under which a debt arrangement is considered to be a troubled debt restructuring.

Chapter 28

  • Specify the circumstances under which a spinoff occurs, and when a dividend is in arrears.

Chapter 29

  • 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 30

  • Recognize the circumstances under which the costs of compensated absences are recognized and disclosed.

Chapter 31

  • State the key elements of net periodic pension cost, and the accounting for defined benefit and defined contribution plans.

Chapter 32

  • Specify how costs are derived for exercised and unexercised stock options.

Chapter 33

  • Identify the proper expense recognition for insurance contracts and business process reengineering.

Chapter 34

  • State the types of activities classified as research and development, and how research and development costs are to be recognized.

Chapter 35

  • Recognize which tax rate to apply to a reporting period.

Chapter 36

  • Identify the types of acquisitions, and the types of intangible assets that can be recognized as part of an acquisition.

Chapter 37

  • Identify the situations in which a controlling financial interest cannot be determined, as well as the types of eliminations used when conducting a consolidation.

Chapter 38

  • Specify the accounting for derivative speculation, and the classifications for hedges and investments. Recognize the methods used to measure hedge effectiveness.

Chapter 39

  • State the concepts upon which fair value measurements are derived.

Chapter 40

  • Cite the circumstances in which the fair value option can be applied, and the disclosures related to financial instruments.

Chapter 41

  • Specify the accounting for payments to suppliers in foreign currencies, as well as how to identify a functional currency.

Chapter 42

  • Identify the situations in which interest capitalization can be used, and when an interest rate should be imputed.

Chapter 43

  • Specify the leasing rules related to asset substitution.
  • Recall the circumstances under which a separate lease component is considered to exist.
  • Specify the different types of lease payments.
  • Recall how the 12-month lease exception works.
  • Identify the unique characteristics of sales-type and direct financing leases.
  • Specify the restrictions on the use of the risk-free discount rate when deriving a lease present value.

Chapter 44

  • Specify the valuation alternatives in a nonmonetary exchange, and the usage rules for boot.

Chapter 45

  • Cite the types of entities considered to be related parties, and what information should be disclosed about them.

Chapter 46

  • State the types of events classified as subsequent events, and note which of these events can alter the financial statements.
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Course Specifics

Course ID
Revision Date
January 3, 2024

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 …