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Accounting Frequently Asked Questions

Accounting Frequently Asked Questions

Accounting FAQ

Will Oakton's A.A. degree transfer to four year schools?
There are two kinds of associate's degrees. The first is the transfer degree. This is the AA degree. All the courses will transfer to the 4 year institutions, and you can seamlessly move on to a university without losing any hours. In accounting, you would only be able to take two accounting courses (ACC 153 and 154) as these are the only courses that are guaranteed to be accepted by the 4-year schools.

In the AA degree, you would take all of the general education core and the business core. These are the same courses that any freshman and sophomore would take at any business school. Colleges don't offer the upper level courses for the major until junior or senior year. If you want to see the AA for business transfer description, open the college catalog and go to page 80.

The other kind of associate's degree is the career degree (AAS). This is for students who are not planning to transfer. Some people already have a bachelor's degrees in another field. Some students just want job skills. Some students do not feel that their lives will allow them the time to get a 4-year degree so they go for the 2-year degree. Some students need any degree in order to move up with their jobs.

The AAS in accounting is a career degree program. We cut back on some of the general education and business core classes and focus very heavily on the accounting major. If you get this degree, you will have taken all the accounting courses that that are part of the bachelors in accounting. You will not, however, have taken many of the general education or business core classes. The good part of the AAS is that you develop very strong accounting skills, and you can perform the staff accountant duties that most bachelor's candidates can perform.

There are two problems with the AAS. First, the upper level accounting courses do not transfer to the four year schools. The universities want you to take the accounting major courses locally at their institutions. Second, many employers require a bachelor's degree as the minimum job requirement.

If you looking for some job skills, it is much faster to pursue one of our certificate programs than the AAS degree.

How do the accounting certificates differ in purpose?
Accounting Associate Certificate (42 cr.)
This is OCC’s broadest accounting certificate. It includes most areas of accounting, including financial accounting, managerial accounting, and income taxes. It also includes some general business courses. It prepares students for entry into most areas of accounting, but does not include all CPA-track courses.  Students who are planning to pursue the CPA should follow the CPA Preparation Certificate.

Bookkeeping Certificate (16 cr.)
This certificate is a good base for someone entering the field. It covers financial accounting, managerial accounting, QuickBooks, Excel, Peachtree, and payroll.  Coursework includes a great deal of hands on skills traning to help students become ready for jobs in the accounting field.

Income Tax Preparation Certificate (19 cr.)
This certificate will prepare students to become tax preparers.  It includes many hands on bookkeeping skills such as QuickBooks and Excel, and also covers the tax content of the CPA exam.  Students who complete this certificate might consider becoming IRS Enrolled Agents.  This exam is given by the government and tests tax law knowledge.  If a tax preparer passes this Exam, it allows him/her to represent a client before the IRS.  This is a privilege that is usually restricted to CPA's and attorneys.

Professional Accounting/CPA Preparation Certificate (36 cr.)
This certificate is designed to help candidates prepare for the CPA exam and meet the minimum number of accounting hours required to sit for the CPA exam.  See our CPA Exam page for more information about the education requirements from the Illinois Board of Examiners.

Do all Oakton accounting courses count toward the CPA exam education requirements?
The following courses will count toward as accounting hours as part of the education requirement for the CPA exam:

ACC 153 Financial Accounting
ACC 154 Managerial Accounting
ACC 170 Payroll Tax Accounting
ACC 241 Intermediate I
ACC 242 Intermediate II
ACC 243 Accounting Research
ACC 244 Taxation I
ACC 245 Cost Accounting
ACC 250 Accounting Systems and Procedures
ACC 253 Accounting Practicum
ACC 260 Auditing
ACC 261 Advanced Auditing
ACC 266 Advanced Accounting
ACC 274 Advanced Taxation
ACC 275 IRS Enrolled Agent Preparation

The following courses will not count toward the accounting hours, but they do count in the total hours needed to reach the 150-hour requirement.

ACC 164 Microsoft Excel for Accountants
ACC 173 QuickBooks I
ACC 174 QuickBooks II
ACC 175 Peachtree I
ACC 176 Peachtree II
ACC 251 QuickBooks Consulting
ACC 255 Careers in Accounting

How do students prepare for the CPA exam?
Students who follow our CPA Preparation Certificate will have learned all the accounting knowledge that they need for the CPA exam.  After completing these courses, students are encouraged to take a CPA Review course which will review all of this content as well as provide many practice questions.  There are live CPA Review courses, online courses, and study books that can be purchased.  Oakton does not offer this program, but we can refer to the various providers.

Which business courses should I take to fulfill the 24-hour requirement for the CPA exam?
Aside from the 30 credit hours of accounting that are required to sit for the CPA exam, candidates must take 24 hours of business courses other than accounting.  Within these 24 hours, there must be at least 2 hours of business communications and 3 hours of business ethics.  At Oakton, the business communcations can be fulfilled by MGT 118 Effective Management Communications.  The business ethics requirement can be fulfilled by taking either BUS 107 Business Ethics or MGT 276 Corporate Social Responsibility. 

If students still need to take other business courses at Oakton, it is highly recommended that they take BUS 221 and BUS 222, the two business law courses.  These include many topics that are tested on the Regulation section of the CPA exam.  It is also recommended that they take ECO 201 and ECO 202, the two economics classes.  These include some topics that are tested on the Business Environment section of the CPA exam.  Other than that, students can take anything from the following disciplines: Business, Economics, Global Business, Management, or Marketing.

Please show sample schedules to complete the CPA Preparation Certificate.
See Sample Schedules for CPA Preparation Certificate.

What about students with foreign credentials?
The Illinois Board of Examiners does accept credit from foreign colleges. Please visit www.ilboa.org for further information.

The cost of the transcript evaluation is $250 and as long as you sit for the CPA Exam within three years, you won't need to pay the evaluation fee again. It is highly recommended to have your transcripts evaluated immediately as it will guide your choices of which courses to take when preparing for the CPA Exam. Once you have completed the evaluation, you will be able to contact the Board of Examiners to make sure you do not take any duplicate courses.

What is the IRS Enrolled Agent Exam?
In order to represent clients before the IRS, a tax preparer must be an attorney, a CPA, or an IRS Enrolled Agent. The Enrolled Agent designation is made by the IRS for candidates who pass a comprehensive exam offered by the IRS. There is no official education requirement, but it is recommended that students take at least 2 tax courses and an  exam review course in order to prepare for the exam.

At Oakton, we offer ACC 244 and ACC 274 as the two tax courses. After completing these two courses, it is recommended that you complete a test preparation course. This is offered at Oakton as ACC 275.

For more information about the IRS Enrolled Agent exam, please visit www.irs.gov and search Enrolled Agent exam.

What is the Professional Bookkeeper Exam?
The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers offers the Professional Bookkeeper examination. This designation is growing in popularity among employers who are looking for qualified staff accounting positions. The topics covered on this exam are adjusting entries, depreciation, inventory, payroll, error correction, and internal control.

The Bookkeeping Certificate at Oakton helps prepare the student for most of these topics, and students can purchase the review books to help prepare for the exam. For more information, please visit www.aipb.org.

When and where is each course offered?
See table below for course offerings planned for the 2014-2015 school year. Please note that "Every Term" indicates that the course will be offered in Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and Summer 2015.

Course

Des Plaines

Skokie

Online

ACC 153 Financial Accounting

Every term

Every term

Every term

ACC 154 Managerial Accounting

Every term

Every term

Every term

ACC 164 Microsoft Excel

Every term

Fall, Spring

n/a

ACC 170 Payroll Tax Accounting

Every term

n/a

n/a

ACC 173 QuickBooks I

Every term

Fall, Spring

n/a

ACC 174 QuickBooks II

Fall, Spring

n/a

n/a

ACC 175 Sage 50 Part I

n/a

n/a

Every term

ACC 176 Sage 50 Part II

n/a

n/a

Fall, Spring

ACC 241 Intermediate I

Every term

n/a

Fall, Spring

ACC 242 Intermediate II

n/a

Fall, Spring

Fall, Spring

ACC 243 Accounting Research

n/a

n/a

Every term

ACC 244 Income Taxes

Every term

n/a

Fall, Spring

ACC 245 Cost Accounting

Fall

n/a

Spring

ACC 250 Systems and Procedures

Fall, Spring

n/a

n/a

ACC 251 QuickBooks Consulting

n/a

Fall, Spring

n/a

ACC 253 Practicum

Fall, Spring

n/a

n/a

ACC 255 Accounting Careers

Fall, Spring

n/a

n/a

ACC 260 Auditing

Fall, Spring

n/a

Every term

ACC 261 Advanced Auditing

n/a

Fall

n/a

ACC 266 Advanced Accounting

n/a

n/a

Fall, Spring

ACC 274 Advanced Taxes

Fall, Spring

n/a

Fall, Spring

ACC 275 Enrolled IRS Agent Prep

Fall

n/a

n/a

 

Please note that "Every Term" indicates that the course is offered in Fall, Spring and Summer.

Do any of the certificate courses transfer to four year programs?
ACC 153 & 154 are required by all business programs, and are transferable to almost every four year institution. ACC 241 transfers to a few institutions. Students should contact the individual institution if they are concerned about transferability of coursework.

Can Oakton help me find a job or internship?
For students who are looking for an accounting job or an internship, there are a couple of options:

1. Visit www.collegecentral.com/oakton to find local employers who have posted jobs for community college students. All you need is an e-mail address to enroll. Keep checking every week. There are some weeks with 5 posted jobs and other weeks with 40 posted jobs.

2. Students who are at least in their third accounting course are eligible for Oakton's internship program. See our internship page for more information.

The ACC 253 Practicum course requires that students have employment in the accounting field. Students who already have accounting jobs can use their current employment to meet this requirement.

How is the current job market?
Job opportunities are increasing. Due to changes in the law companies have more reporting requirements and a need for more accountants.

CPA's are particularly in demand, and "accounting clerk" is among the 50 occupations expected to have the largest number of job openings each year in Illinois.

Accounting work experience is very important, so students are advised to start working an entry-level job as soon as possible. Some students can find work after completion of only ACC 153. Oakton has an internship program for accounting students who are in their third accounting course or later.

The small and mid-sized companies are largely looking for experience and skills, but will hire students with knowledge if they don’t have experience. Employers look for students with good language skills (especially important to be able to talk to clients on the phone), motivation, people skills, and quick learning ability. Candidates looking for an entry level job will find some or all of the following courses very helpful: ACC 153, 164, 170, 173, 175 and 244.

There is also a large demand for tax preparers. Any high school graduate can sit for the IRS Enrolled Agent Exam. Oakton’s Income Tax Preparation Certificate includes ACC 153, 244 and 274, which are good preparatory classes for the exam.

What salary can an entry level employee expect?
Accounting clerks, assistant accountants, and bookkeepers usually start at $12-$15/hr. for part-time positions, and $28-33,000 with a little experience. With 3-4 years of experience, these same positions may pay from $35-40,000/yr.

CPAs can expect to start at $40,000-45,000/yr in small firms. Larger firms pay $45,000-65,000+/yr. as starting salaries.

Are courses offered days, evenings, and weekends?
ACC 153 & 154 are the only accounting classes that are offered during the day. All others are offered evenings or weekends. ACC 153, 154, 164 and 173 are offered at both Skokie and Des Plaines. The other accounting courses are usually only offered at Des Plaines.

Which courses are offered online?
ACC 153 Principles of Financial Accounting
ACC 154 Principles of Managerial Accounting
ACC 175 Accounting with Peachtree I
ACC 176 Accounting with Peachtree II
ACC 241 Intermediate Accounting I
ACC 242 Intermediate Accounting II
ACC 243 Accounting Research
ACC 244 Income Tax Accounting
ACC 260 Auditing
ACC 266 Advanced Accounting
ACC 274 Advanced Tax Accounting


For more information visit accounting online courses, or see the college's distance learning page.

Can an experienced adult student proficiency out of some of the major courses?
There is a departmental proficiency test available for ACC 153. This is a 100 multiple choice question exam that covers all of the topics in ACC 153. In order to receive credit for this class, students need to score 75% or higher on this exam, receive at least 3 hours of credit by taking any course at Oakton, and then complete the paperwork to receive the proficiency credit.

This credit will count toward any degree at Oakton, and many four-year institutions will accept the proficiency credit at their schools. There are some four-year schools who will not accept this type of  credit. Students who are planning to transfer should check with their transfer institution about transferring proficiency credit before beginning this process.

To begin the process, please contact Jay Cohen, accounting department chair, at jcohen@oakton.edu.

Can you tell me more about the ACC 253 Practicum Course?
See ACC 253 Practicum

Describe some of your most popular courses.
ACC 153- Principles of Financial Accounting & ACC 154 - Principles of Managerial Accounting are required by all business schools toward the bachelor's degree in a business-related specialty. These courses will transfer to the 4-year institutions.

ACC 164 - Microsoft Excel for Accountants:
Utilizes Excel software.

ACC 173 - Accounting with QuickBooks I or ACC 175 Accounting with Peachtree I:
Trains the students in the use of the most popular bookkeeping software packages, QuickBooks or Peachtree. Best taken by students with some basic accounting knowledge, or after ACC 153.

ACC 170 - Payroll Tax Accounting:
This course teaches a skill critical to every accountant.

ACC 244 - Income Tax Accounting:
With only ACC 153, ACC 244 and some business experience, a person could try for an entry-level tax preparation position.

How can CPA's get earn continuing education credits (CPE's) from Oakton courses?
Oakton is a quaified provider of CPE credits for CPA's. Accountants may receive 15 hours of CPE credit for every credit hour of class. The most popular classes to be taken for CPE credit are ACC 164 Excel, ACC 170 Payroll, ACC 173 QuickBooks I, ACC 174 QuickBooks II, ACC 175 Peachtree I, and ACC 176 Peachtree II. These are each 1 credit hour classes and students may receive 15 hours of CPE credit for each course. The two Peachtree courses may be taken online.

In order to obtain the credit, students need to submit their grade reports to Susan Kruczinski at Oakton's Alliance for Lifelong Learning. Susan can be reached at 847-635-2604 or skruczin@oakton.edu.


Alumni Profile

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Paul Johnson developed a passion for psychology at Oakton. Now he wears two hats - Professor of student development and Professor of psychology.

 

IMPORTANT DATES


October 5
Incomplete (I) grades from summer 2014 semester for which faculty have not submitted final grades will become an "F" after this date.

October 10
Last day for filing Graduation Petitions.

October 26
Last day to withdraw with a "W" from 16-week courses; Students will receive a grade in all courses in which they are enrolled after October 26.

November 11
Veterans Day holiday. College closed.

November 19
Registration opens for spring 2015 semester.

November 27, 28
Thanksgiving recess. College closed.

November 29, 30
Thanksgiving recess. No classes; College open.

December 16, 17
Evaluation Days.

December 17
Last day of student attendance.

December 18
Grading Day. Faculty on campus and available to students at designated times.

Full Academic Calendar