grrrrr accounting!
June 17, 2011 1:46 PM   Subscribe

(Asking for a dear friend) - Principles of accounting, software. But of course...

Can anyone recommend an accounting tutoring software to learn the principles of accounting?(not quickbooks please) The book I have is "Principles of Accounting" by Libby. The authors only provide supplementary software (Quantum Tutora) for chapters 1-4 & I need help understanding theory.

Please hope me metafilter. Thank you!
posted by handbanana to Education (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Accounting is a big field, and general introductory textbooks often only attempt to give an overview of its various components, like double entry bookkeeping, liabilities and assets, cost accounting, cash vs. accrual, financial reporting, auditing, tax accounting, etc. Accordingly, a general textbook and its included demo software may only be intended to deliver a superficial introduction to the topics discussed.

If you're trying to set up a working set of books for a new business, you might best look into chart of accounts templates for similar businesses. That can save you a lot of effort in understanding concepts and processes not applicable to the kind of accounting you'll be doing. For example, in a service business, like a software consultancy or a law firm, you'll never need to establish the detailed variance account structures needed by an inventory based business like machinery manufacturing, that is operated on a standard cost basis, and that maintains and controls physical parts and material inventory.

If this is a real world exercise, it would really be worth hiring an accounting firm to help with set up of the books, to be sure that the chart of accounts is appropriately created, and that software is set up with any automatic processes and accounting instructions needed to properly accomplish posting, balance and reporting activities. It's 10x easier to avoid problems during setup, than to "fix" them later, and professional help is often better than personal understanding of theory by owners or accounting principals in the business, in the early stages of a venture.
posted by paulsc at 2:19 PM on June 17, 2011

[Sorry, I hit "Enter" prematurely.]

I say this because if your friend is having trouble with Quickbooks, which has something like a 94% share of small business accounting software sold in North America as of 2008, and isn't getting answers from standard accounting textbooks, it may be a case where an accounting professional can steer them straight, by augmenting theory with actual best practice information. That's not at all unusual, and is the reason that continuing independent accounting firms continue to exist, and bill essentially every business on the planet, sooner or later.
posted by paulsc at 2:27 PM on June 17, 2011

If you need to practice journal entries, debits and credits, preparing different financial statements, etc ALEKS might work for you. It is an online tutoring program which costs $19.95/month. The Principles of Accounting (Corporation) product more or less covers what you would expect to be taught in a Principles I course. ALEKS offers a 3 hour free trial so you can test it out first.

I used ALEKS to brush up on my accounting basics before taking Intermediate I. It is a great product.

May I also recommend watching Susan Crosson's accounting tutorials on YouTube in conjunction with reading the textbook. She has a knack for breaking down confusing accounting concepts and explaining them very simply.

posted by madforplaid at 3:21 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry, my links didn't work. That's ALEKS and Susan Crosson on YouTube.
posted by madforplaid at 3:22 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I recommend these two software packages, which are used at my college for the first two entry-level accounting classes. They include lectures, practice problems, and an encyclopedia written by the professor who made them. I only did the first class, but it's a very good course.
posted by dubadubowbow at 3:45 PM on June 17, 2011

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