ACCOUNTG 590 - Financial Accounting

Course Description

This course addresses the construction and interpretation of corporate financial reports. Our goal is not to train you to become an accountant. Rather, we want you to become an informed user of financial statement information. Because annual reports are somewhat formidable, we will spend time discussing how firms present the information for various accounts in the statements, including the footnotes. Specifically, we will focus on accounting for specific assets (e.g., Accounts Receivable, Inventories, Property, Plant and Equipment, Intangible Assets), liabilities (e.g., Bonds, Deferred Taxes) and owners' equity on a firm’s balance sheet. We will also focus on how a firm’s performance is presented in the income statement through Net Income, and in particular, discuss how different revenue and expense recognition practices affect this performance measure. By the end of the course, you should have a basic understanding of financial statements and the ability to use them for decision making.

Fulfillment of these objectives involves acquiring several skills. We will emphasize i) gaining familiarity with the transactions firms engage in, ii) the mapping of transactions into accounting numbers, iii) understanding the choices that managers have in accounting for transactions and the rational behind the various methods, iv) developing fluency in accounting terminology, and v) appreciating the complexity of accounting due to discretion and judgment involved in choosing among alternative methods.

Course Textbook

Stickney, Weil, Schipper and Francis, Financial Accounting: An Introduction to Concepts, Methods and Uses, Thirteenth Edition, South-Western