Governmental Accounting

13 Credits: Accounting (Governmental)


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Governmental Accounting

Course Level
CPE Credits

13 Credits: Accounting (Governmental)

Course Description

Navigating the world of governmental accounting can be daunting for professionals accustomed to the practices of for-profit accounting. Government entities operate under a distinct set of accounting standards that differ significantly from the private sector, encompassing unique elements like fund accounting, the modified accrual basis, and specialized financial statement formats and disclosures. Without a firm grasp of these principles, accountants may struggle to accurately manage and report government financial transactions, potentially leading to compliance issues and financial misinterpretation. The complexity of accounting for various government activities, including budgetary reporting and non-exchange transactions, adds another layer of challenge.

This self-study CPE course offers a comprehensive exploration of governmental accounting, tailored to address the unique needs and challenges faced by accountants in this field. It covers the fundamental aspects of governmental accounting standards, the organizational structures involved, and the specific types of funds utilized in government accounting. Participants will gain insight into the accounting structures of funds, different bases of accounting, and the varied treatment of revenues and liabilities. The course also dives into the intricacies of infrastructure assets, capital asset costs, and long-term debt management. By the end of this course, participants will have a solid understanding of governmental accounting, equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage government financial affairs with accuracy and compliance, making it an essential resource for professionals transitioning into or working within the governmental accounting sector.

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Learning Objectives

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

  • Recognize the entities responsible for formulating accounting standards.
  • Cite the organizational structure used by governmental accounting standards.
  • Specify the different types of funds and how they are used.
  • Describe the accounting structure of a fund.
  • Identify the characteristics of the different bases of accounting.
  • Specify how the accounting treatment for revenue varies, based on when it is received.
  • Recognize the accounting for incurred but unmatured liabilities.
  • Recognize the different types of infrastructure assets.
  • Identify the types of costs that can be included in the cost of a capital asset.
  • Specify when interest costs should and should not be capitalized.
  • Describe the stages of completion associated with the recognition of computer software.
  • Recognize the various indicators of asset impairment.
  • Specify the different types of long-term debt.
  • Recognize the different types of current liabilities.
  • Identify the funds that are more likely to have budgets associated with them.
  • Describe how an encumbrance is used.
  • Cite the different types of interfund activities.
  • Specify the classifications used to track expenditures.
  • Identify the components of net position.
  • Describe the nature of a financial reporting entity.
  • Specify the indicators of control over another entity.
  • Describe the contents of the various components of the annual comprehensive financial report.
  • Describe how the order of liquidity is applied in the statement of net position.
  • Recognize the proper accounting treatment for issued debt.
  • Describe how a negative balance is treated in the restricted net position line item.
  • Identify the different categories used for program revenues.
  • Specify the formula underlying a balance sheet.
  • Specify the disclosures used when there is a related party transaction.
  • Describe the proper accounting for the correction of an error.
  • Define a change in estimate, principle, and entity.
  • Specify the topics that should be covered in the notes to the financial statements.
  • Recognize the circumstances under which an accounting policy should be disclosed.
  • Cite the disclosures needed when future revenues are sold.
  • Identify the circumstances under which a budgetary comparison should be presented.
  • Describe the nature of budgetary control.
  • Recognize the types of funds that must present a statement of cash flows.
  • Specify how a statement of cash flows is constructed.
  • Identify the transactions that are associated with each of the classifications in a statement of cash flows.
  • Recognize the circumstances under which discrete presentation is used in the financial statements.
  • Recognize the factors involved in designating a component unit as major.
  • Cite the circumstances under which a statistical section is included in a set of financial statements.
  • Describe the formulation of fair value for real and personal property.
  • Specify which governments must include overlapping rates information in their financial statements.
  • Recognize the different types of demographic and economic indicators.
  • Specify the types of costs that can be associated with a purchase.
  • Describe the different levels of the fair value hierarchy.
  • Cite the criteria for determining whether risk has been transferred.
  • Specify the accounting to use when a loss has been incurred.
  • Identify the characteristics of a conduit debt obligation.
  • Specify the proper accounting for escheat property.
  • Specify the characteristics of the different inventory costing methods.
  • Recognize the types of costs associated with landfill closure and postclosure activities.
  • Specify the proper accounting for a change in the estimated total current cost of landfill closure and postclosure care.
  • Identify the circumstances under which a lease liability should be revised.
  • Describe the components of the lease receivable asset.
  • Specify the circumstances under which a government does not recognize a nonexchange transaction.
  • Cite the different types of restrictions associated with a grant.
  • Specify the accounting for a pass-through grant.
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Course Specifics

Course ID
Revision Date
February 28, 2024

Basic Accounting

Advanced Preparation


Number of Pages

Compliance Information

NASBA Provider Number: 103220

Yellow Book Notice: Auditors must use professional judgment when determining and documenting if a course qualifies for Yellow Book in accordance with the Government Accountability Office, Government Auditing Standards, December 2018 Revision and Guidance on GAGAS Requirements for Continuing Professional Education.

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 …