Our Curriculum

Information on the curriculum for the Penn State Smeal College of Business online corporate accounting foundations certificate. Coursework for the graduate certificate of accounting includes financial accounting, taxation, auditing, and managerial accounting.

The Penn State Smeal Graduate Certificate in Accounting Foundations is a 12-credit program for those seeking a strong foundation in the discipline. Cultivate the skills to develop and interpret accounting systems designed to collect and organize data about business transactions and activities, measure performance, communicate business plans and outcomes, and support decision-making.

Topics covered in the program include structure and content of financial reports, tax returns, and regulatory filings; use of internal systems to protect an organization's resources and the integrity of its records; purposes and procedures of auditing; and assembly and use of accounting information to plan and coordinate operations and make decisions.

Why Penn State Smeal? For more than 60 years, we have been preparing accounting students for career success. The college's Department of Accounting has longstanding connections with each of the Big Four accountancy firms as well as leading companies across the corporate spectrum. Along with the Graduate Certificate in Accounting Foundations, the department offers top-ranked undergraduate, professional masters, and doctoral programs. More than 1,000 students are enrolled in the department's undergraduate major, graduate degree, and certificate programs. 

Program Courses

MBADM 811—Financial Accounting

Provides students with a foundation in the principles, procedures, and objectives of financial accounting that govern the reporting of information about a business to the public. With a focus on for-profit corporations, the course covers (1) the framework and conventions that define accounting rules and practice under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP); (2) the recording of business transactions in the company’s accounting system; (3) the content and presentation of corporate financial statements and annual reports; and (4) basic ratio analysis of the financial statements.

ACCTG 812—Taxation

Introduces students to the U.S. federal income tax system. It discusses the pervasive nature of taxation in the U.S. economy, and teaches students how to recognize major tax issues, with an emphasis on understanding how they impact economic decision-making. Course content focuses on (1) developing familiarity with the tax research process and the basic principles of tax planning, (2) the taxation of individuals, and (3) the taxation of business entities, including corporations and partnerships. Prerequisite: MBADM 811

ACCTG 813—Auditing

Introduces students to the auditing principles and procedures used to judge the fairness of financial statement presentation. The course employs a risk-based approach to the audit, and emphasizes the development of professional judgement and critical thinking. Course content includes (1) professional standards and ethical decision-making; (2) audit procedures appropriate for various transaction cycles; (3) basic sampling techniques; (4) documentation; and (5) emerging technological issues in auditing. Prerequisite: MBADM 811

ACCTG 814—Managerial Accounting:

Introduces students to both conventional and emerging techniques used in corporate managerial accounting and control systems, with a focus on management accountability for organizational resources.  Course content includes (1) cost measurement and analysis; (2) budgeting; (3) operational decision-making; and (4) management performance measurement.