PRDV201: Accounting Principles I

Course Syllabus for "PRDV201: Accounting Principles I"

Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site.

Though accounting may seem like a dense and complex subject, this course is designed to present the accounting cycle in an accessible and logical manner.  This course will provide you with a solid understanding of basic accounting principles and will introduce you to financial statement analysis.  Please note that this course is the first of two courses on the principles of accounting and that each of these two courses is divided into 10 units.  Each unit should take approximately three hours to complete and should be completed sequentially for the most logical progression of information.  As you work through these units, you will encounter a range of examples and problem sets geared towards providing you with practical applications of the lessons you learn.  By the end of this course, you will able to create accurate and appropriate financial statements to convey a company’s financial health. This course begins with an introduction to financial accounting and the various ways in which financial statements allow companies to make intelligent economic decisions.  All companies, large and small, prepare financial statements in accordance with specific accounting rules that investors use to determine which stocks are attractive to buy.  Accounting principles and financial statements are equally important for companies that do not have public stock available for investors to buy.  You will learn all about these statements, the accounting rules that govern them, and the governing bodies that are responsible for accounting oversight. Later in the course, you will be immersed in the details of accounts receivables, inventory, and liabilities.  Understanding the link among these components is vital to drawing accurate conclusions about financial statements and making reliable recommendations for improving profitability. This course concludes with two units focused on the analyses of financial statements, which will also introduce several mathematical ratios.  The accurate use of these ratios is vital to drawing intelligent conclusions about a company’s operation practices and profitability.  Even billionaire stock investor Warren Buffet uses financial-statement analysis to determine his next $100 million stock purchase. The goal of this course is to provide you with a solid foundation of accounting principles so that you can apply this knowledge to real-world accounting examples and be able to comfortably decipher a company’s financial statements and viability.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Explain the functions and importance of accounting standards and accounting data in making economic decisions for companies.
  • Explain how to prepare accurate journal entries from selected transaction information, and perform this task.
  • Identify different types of financial statements and analysis, and discuss the functions of each type.
  • Identify the appropriate information used for each type of financial statement and distinguish reporting standards used for different types of business structures.
  • Define and identify steps in the accounting cycle, accounts receivables, expenses, inventory, long-term assets, goodwill, and liabilities as well as describe the recording methods for each.
  • Identify the accounting equation and calculate depreciation, bond prices,  various financial ratios when provided with accounting data and/or a company’s financial statements.
  • Determine financial viability based on financial ratios and identify the purpose for financial forecasting.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Course Information

Welcome to PRDV 201: Accounting Principles I.  General information on this course and its requirements can be found below.

Course Designer: Llacey Simmons, M.B.A.

Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Please pay special attention to Units 1 and 2, as these lay the groundwork for understanding the more advanced, exploratory material presented in the later units.  You will also need to complete the Final Exam.

Please note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the resources presented throughout the units.

In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 30 hours to complete.  There are 10 units in this course.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  These should help you plan your time accordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.  Each unit is designed to take approximately three hours per week to complete.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.