Online CPA Accounting Certificate Program

The Online CPA Accounting Certificate program consists of a maximum of 12 units (equivalent to 30 semester hours) and is designed for post-baccalaureate students who need to complete the accounting course requirements included in the educational requirements for the Illinois CPA Exam. Students planning to take the CPA Exam in a jurisdiction other than Illinois should refer to the related educational requirements for that jurisdiction.

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About the Online CPA Accounting Certificate Program

Online CPA Accounting Certificate Program Goals and Courses

Transfer Credit for the CPA Accounting Certificate Program

Students in the CPA Accounting Certificate program may transfer up to three comparable credit courses that have been completed at other schools prior to admission to SPS. The courses must have been completed at a regionally accredited institution and must have carried academic credit. The courses should be introductory in nature, such as Introduction to Financial Accounting, Introduction to Managerial Accounting, or Income Tax. Transferring courses should be considered only if the courses were completed recently and the student feels adequately prepared for advanced courses. SPS recommends that students admitted to the CPA Accounting Certificate program consult with their SPS academic adviser before transferring previous courses.

Please note that SPS requires an official transcript showing the grade for the course in order to transfer the credit. If the course was not taken at the institution where the student earned an undergraduate degree, those transcripts should be sent to the SPS Registrar. If the course appears on a transcript submitted as part of the application for admission, no additional transcripts are needed. Courses previously applied toward a Northwestern University bachelor’s degree may not be transferred into the certificate program.

CPA Accounting Certificate Program Tuition

Post-baccalaureate students at Northwestern's School of Professional Studies pay per course. For more information about financial obligations and tuition, visit the Tuition page.

Admission for the CPA Accounting Certificate Program

In addition to completing an online application, you'll also need to submit a few supplemental materials. A list of requirements for admission including application deadlines and tips on how to apply can be found at the Admission page.

CPA Accounting Certificate Program Registration Information

Whether you're a first-time registrant or current and returning student, all students register using our online student registration and records systems. Important information about registering for courses at SPS, including registration timelines and adding or dropping courses in which you are already enrolled, can be found at the Registration Information page.

CPA Accounting Certificate Program Career Options

Read more on the CPA Accounting Certificate Program Career Options page.

Find out more about the CPA Accounting Certificate Program


Program Courses:Course Detail
Introduction to Financial Accounting <> ACCOUNT 201-DL

Introduction to Financial Accounting covers the foundational concepts of accounting and the fundamental basics of financial statements, allowing students to identify, measure, and record accounting information, as well as communicate that information to external users. Specific topics will include the accounting cycle, accrual accounting, receivables, inventory and cost of goods sold, depreciation, debt vs. equity financing, and stockholders' equity. By the end of this course, students will be proficient in preparing financial statements and applying key ratios to analyze specific financial information. Students will join group discussions, complete online homework assignments and individual projects, and complete online examinations.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 201-DL Sections
Introduction to Managerial Accounting <> ACCOUNT 202-DL

A continuation of the introduction to accounting, with emphasis on providing relevant and timely accounting information and analysis to managers for use in planning, decision making, and controlling strategic operational objectives. Topics include the classifications of costs and different ways of reporting and analyzing those costs; the operating budgeting process; capital budgeting; and job-order, standard, process, and activity-based costing systems. To enhance the overall understanding of the textbook material, practical business references will be made through the use of videos and selected article reading.

Prerequisite: ACCOUNT 201 Introduction to Financial Accounting or similar knowledge is expected.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


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Income Tax I <> ACCOUNT 208-DL

Introduction to the field of taxation, with attention to individual income taxation. Gross income, capital gains, deductions, and alternate tax methods. IRS forms used. Prerequisite: ACCOUNT 202.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 208-DL Sections
Intermediate Accounting I <> ACCOUNT 210-DL

Accounting theory and concepts; analysis of special problems that arise in applying these underlying concepts to financial accounting. Accounting information as a basis for decisions by management, stockholders, creditors, and other users of financial and accounting reports. Prerequisite: ACCOUNT 202.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 210-DL Sections
Intermediate Accounting II <> ACCOUNT 211-DL

This course covers the accounting problems of a corporation's valuation, cost allocation, stockholder equity, and long-term debt; leases, pension plans, and income tax allocations; financial statement construction, effect of errors, cash and other funds, and issues relating to the analysis of financial statements; the present-value concept. Prerequisite: ACCOUNT 210.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 211-DL Sections
Income Tax II <> ACCOUNT 308-DL

This course is a continuation in the field of taxation with particular attention to the field of corporate and business taxation at the Federal level. Corporate formation and capital structure, corporate income tax, other corporate levies, consolidated tax returns, partnerships, and S-corporations are among the topics covered. Some IRS forms will be used, but the emphasis will be upon a deeper understanding of federal tax law. Prerequisite: ACCOUNT 208 (Income Tax I).

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


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Managerial Cost Accounting <> ACCOUNT 310-DL

Managerial uses of cost data in planning, controlling, and evaluating organizational activities and in making business decisions. Topics include discussion of activity-based costing, standard costs, inventory costing, and review of cost allocation techniques. In addition, contemporary topics, including pricing decisions, balanced scorecard, and capital budgeting techniques will be discussed, along with ethical and behavioral issues addressing both manufacturing and service sectors. Prerequisite: ACCOUNT 202.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 310-DL Sections
Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting <> ACCOUNT 340-DL

This course introduces the fundamentals of accounting for government and nonprofit organizations. Topics include fund accounting, financial transactions and recording, budgeting, and concepts and principles underlying the financial reports of government and nonprofit organizations. In addition to preparing students for experience in the field, this course is designed to prepare students to complete requirements for the Illinois CPA examination or other state CPA exams.

 

NOTE: This course is a required component of two different certificate programs: the Online CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Preparation Certificate Program and the Online Advanced Accounting Certificate Program. Students who have already completed significant coursework in accounting may also take this course to complete requirements for the Illinois CPA examination or CPA exams in other states.

 

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 340-DL Sections
Auditing I <> ACCOUNT 350-DL

Auditing Principles and Procedures provides the foundational concepts of balance sheet audits, allowing students to exercise the role of an external auditor, identifying audit risks, determining appropriate audit techniques and evidencing, and executing audits of primary financial areas present at most companies. Students will be confronted with common ethical issues faced by auditors, issues of auditor independence, fraud risks, and audits of key accounting cycles such as cash, accounts receivable, inventories, accounts payable, debt and capital. By the end of this course, students will be proficient in recognizing audit risks at both, the client and financial statement line level, writing engagement letters, and communicating results to auditees. Students will join group discussions, complete online homework assignments, research and write papers on various topics, and complete online quizzes and examinations. Students are highly encouraged to share articles and their own experiences related to auditing and auditors as part of their assignments.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 350-DL Sections
Auditing II <> ACCOUNT 360-DL

Auditing II builds on foundational audit concepts and applies them to real-life situations including the understanding and analysis of company financial statements. The course also introduces a number of internal control frameworks and standards, explores alternatives to the traditional financial statement audit, compares and contrasts the roles of the external and internal auditor, and considers whether auditors can be truly independent. By the end of this course, students will be proficient in analyzing financial statements, including understanding a company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as whether a company presents a good investment opportunity. Students will also be able to design audit procedures to prevent or detect fraud and will have an understanding of the differences between IT controls and manual controls. Students will join group discussions, complete online homework assignments, research and write papers on various topics, participate in group projects and complete online quizzes and examinations. Students are highly encouraged to share articles and their own experiences related to auditing and auditors as part of their assignments.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


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Topics: International Accounting <> ACCOUNT 390-DL

This course covers accounting issues uniquely confronted by companies involved in international business. The primary focus of the course is to provide an overview of international accounting by drawing on real business problems, economies, and finance in order to understand what is contained in and how to develop and interpret financial reports. The course includes fundamental financial accounting concepts and methods across countries.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


There is no available section.
Topics: Data Analytics for Accounting <> ACCOUNT 390-DL

This course is designed for post-baccalaureate students who will be taking the CPA Exam which will include testing for data analytics skills or students who are interested in a digital and data-driven mindset and the use of data analytics.

 

In today’s business world, every company is a data company. Every day, terabytes of data affecting business activities and financial results are collected and stored. To be effective, accountants must understand how to identify the relevant portion of this data and analyze it to drive better business decisions.

 

This course has two main parts. Students explore how data analytics works and be able to explain data analytics and its impact on business and accounting in Part One. They learn how to effectively engage with data scientists to define business problems, analyze data, answer questions, and address business problems.

 

Part Two of the course has students applying data analytics methods and models to real-life use cases in the fields of managerial accounting, financial accounting and reporting, audit, and tax. Through these use cases, students learn to effectively use data analytics tools and techniques to communicate the results of their analysis through data visualization and written reports.

 

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 390-DL Sections
Topics: Forensic Accounting ACCOUNT 390-DL

This course is designed for students who wish to explore the forensic accounting profession. Since most students have been or will be affected by fraud on a personal and/or professional level, this course is also designed for students who simply wish to know more about forensic accounting so that they are in a much better position to recognize fraud and know how to respond. Students completing this course will have a basic understanding of forensic accounting opportunities and career possibilities in this field. Students will apply accounting, research, and investigative skills and become knowledgeable about areas of the law relating to fraud examination and litigation services. These skills, when combined with this knowledge, will enable students to collect, analyze, and evaluate evidential matter and to interpret and communicate their findings.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 390-DL Sections