Accountant working with clients

ACCOUNTING

If you think accountants are only pencil pushers working solo in cubicles at large accounting firms, you’d be missing out on a wide-open field with many degrees of difficulty and compensation.

Besides general bookkeeping tasks, most accountants are able to perform more complex tasks such as fraud auditing and payroll reporting as well as accurately report financial information to the government and shareholders. In simple terms, accountants allow businesses and individuals to understand and evaluate money spent and profitability, creating an indispensable need for accountants in almost every sector. Working as an accountant means enjoying an engaging and dynamic career for people who like working with others and are interested in the financial side of business. Understanding accounting fundamentals can help prepare you for a wide range of career possibilities from running your own accounting practice to investigating financial crimes with the FBI.

Crunch these numbers – A career in accounting can be very financially rewarding, with the top 10 percent earning an average of $111,510 per year, depending on your level of education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, for those just starting out in accounting, the sector is expected to grow at a pace of 13% and reach over 1.4 million jobs in 2022.

Why GWC?

The Golden West College Accounting Program offers certificates that lead to an Associate’s Degree, transfer to a four-year college or university for a Bachelor’s Degree, and provides preparation and training for careers in the public and private sectors.

Currently, the Accounting has three programs – one major and two certificates:

  • Accounting Major
  • Staff Accountant Certificate of Achievement
  • \IRS Enrolled Agent Certificate of Specialization

Golden West offers relevant courses such as Financial Accounting, QuickBooks, and Individual Income Taxation offered every semester,

Our faculty are drawn from industry and are currently working in their field of teaching and thus can bring in real-time relevant trends into to the classroom.

Associate In Arts Degree In Accounting

Required courses | Semester at a Glance


Associate In Arts Degree In Accounting

This curriculum provides fundamental accounting concepts for students who wish to pursue accounting degrees at four-year institutions. The program also prepares students with adequate accounting training for accounting and bookkeeping positions. All courses in this program satisfy semester unit requirements necessary to quality to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination. Students interested in becoming a CPA will find this program particularly useful.

Program Level Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Process and apply accounting transaction analysis into an accounting system.
  2. Prepare the four basic financial statements.
  3. Analyze results of financial information via ratios, relationships, and variance analysis to aid management decision making.
  4. Utilize federal income taxation concepts to compile individual tax returns and forms.
Required Courses

Accounting G101 – Financial Accounting – 4 units
Accounting G102 – Managerial Accounting – 4 units

Accounting G130 – Computerized Accounting – 3 units
or Accounting G235 – QuickBooks – 3 units

Accounting G111 – Individual Income Taxation – 3 units

Restricted elective courses: one course from the following:
Accounting G113 – Business Income Taxation – 3 units
Accounting G210 – Cost Accounting – 3 units
Accounting G211 – Intermediate Accounting A – 4 units

Restricted elective courses: one course from the following:
Accounting G110 – Payroll Accounting – 3 units
Accounting G212 – Intermediate Accounting B – 4 units
Accounting G215 – Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Internal Control Compliance – 3 units
Accounting G220 – Forensic Accounting – 3 units

Business G130 – Intro to Business Writing – 3 units
or Business G139 – Business Communication – 3 units

Total units: 20 to 22


Semester At A Glance

Semester 1

Accounting G101 – Financial Accounting – 4 units
General Education- TBD*

Semester 2

Accounting G102 – Managerial Accounting – 4 units
Accounting G130 – Computerized Accounting – 3 units
or Accounting G235 – QuickBooks – 3 units
General Education – TBD*

Semester 3 

Accounting G111 – Individual Income Taxation – 3 units

Choose one course from the following:
Accounting G113 – Business Income Taxation – 3 units
Accounting G210 – Cost Accounting – 3 units
Accounting G211- Intermediate Accounting 1 – 4 units
General Education – TBD*

Semester 4

Choose one course from the following: Accounting – G110 Payroll Accounting – 3 Units
Accounting – G212 Intermediate Accounting 2 – 4 Units
Accounting – G215 Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Internal Control Compliance – 3 Units
Accounting – G220 Forensic Accounting – 3 Units

Business – G130 Intro to Business Writing – 3 Units
or Business – G139 Business Communication – 3 Units

General Education – TBD

Required Totals

Major Total: 20-22 units
GE Pattern GWC AA, CSU General Education Breadth or IGETC Pattern: 21-39 units
DEGREE TOTAL UNITS: 60 units

* Department faculty are not academic advisors. It is strongly recommended that students contact a GWC counselor to develop an official Student Educational Plan in Degree Works.

Staff Accountant

Required courses | Semester at a Glance

IRS Enrolled Agent

Required courses Semester at a Glance


Staff Accountant – Certificate Of Achievement

This program is designed for students seeking jobs in bookkeeping and accounting. The curriculum prepares students for an occupation in accounting and/or supplements the currently employed accountant with additional skills. All courses in this program satisfy semester unit requirements necessary to quality to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination. Students interested in becoming a CPA will find this program particularly useful.

Program Level Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Process and apply accounting transaction analysis into an accounting system.
  2. Prepare the four basic financial statements.
  3. Analyze results of financial information via ratios, relationships, and variance analysis to aid management decision making.
  4. Utilize federal income taxation concepts to compile individual tax returns and forms.
Required Courses

Accounting G101 – Financial Accounting – 4 units
Accounting G102 – Managerial Accounting – 4 units
Accounting G111 – Individual Income Taxation – 3 units
Accounting G130 – Computerized Accounting – 3 units
or Accounting G235 – QuickBooks – 3 units

Choose two courses from the following:
Accounting G110 – Payroll Accounting – 3 units
Accounting G113 – Business Income Taxation – 3 units
Accounting G210 – Cost Accounting – 3 units
Accounting G211 – Intermediate Accounting A – 4 units
Accounting G212 – Intermediate Accounting B – 4 units
Accounting G215 – Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Internal Control Compliance – 3 units
Accounting/CJ G220 – Forensic Accounting – 3 units

Total Units: 20 to 22


Semester At A Glance – Staff Accountant

One year pathway for Full-time Students:

Semester 1
Accounting G101 – Financial Accounting – 4 units
Accounting G111 – Individual Income Taxation – 3 units

Choose one course from the following:
Accounting G110 – Payroll Accounting – 3 units
Accounting G113 – Business Income Taxation – 3 units
Accounting G210 – Cost Accounting – 3 units
Accounting G211 – Intermediate Accounting A – 4 units
Accounting G212 – Intermediate Accounting B – 4 units
Accounting G215 – Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Internal Control Compliance – 3 units
Accounting/CJ G220 – Forensic Accounting – 3 units

Semester 2
Accounting G102 – Managerial Accounting – 4 units

Accounting G130 – Computerized Accounting – 3 units
or Accounting G235 – QuickBooks – 3 units

Choose one course from the following not already used above:
Accounting G110 – Payroll Accounting – 3 units
Accounting G113 – Business Income Taxation – 3 units
Accounting G210 – Cost Accounting – 3 units
Accounting G211 – Intermediate Accounting A – 4 units
Accounting G212 – Intermediate Accounting B – 4 units
Accounting G215 – Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Internal Control Compliance – 3 units
Accounting/CJ G220 – Forensic Accounting – 3 units

Total Units: 20-22


IRS Enrolled Agent – Certificate of Specialization

This curriculum provides fundamental accounting concepts for students who wish to pursue accounting degrees at four-year institutions. The program also prepares students with adequate accounting training for accounting and bookkeeping positions. All courses in this program satisfy semester unit requirements necessary to qualify to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination. Students interested in becoming a CPA will find this program particularly useful.

Program Level Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Define the essential elements of the major taxable entities: individuals, partnerships, and corporations, estates, and trusts.
  2. Utilize the fundamental principles of taxation to prepare a variety of tax returns, forms, reconciliations, and supporting schedules.
  3. Describe the unique taxation issues related to each of the taxable entities as they relate to tax planning and public policy.
  4. Gain an overview of tax planning concepts and demonstrate knowledge through the use of practical tax planning exercises.
  5. Outline the major elements of tax administration: information dissemination, tax collection, reviews and audits of tax returns, the appeals process, and appearing before the IRS.
Required Courses – IRS Enrolled Agent

Accounting G111 – Individual Income Taxation – 3 units
Accounting G113 – Business Income Taxation – 3 units
Accounting G115 – Issues in Taxation – 3 units

Choose one course from the following:
Accounting G100 –  Accounting for Small business – 3 units
Accounting G101 – Financial Accounting – 4 units
Accounting G110 – Payroll Accounting and Taxation – 3 units

Total Units: 12 to 13


Semester at a Glance – IRS Enrolled Agent

One year pathway for Full-time Students:

Semester 1
Accounting G111 – Individual Income Taxation – 3 units
Accounting G113 – Business Income Taxation – 3 units
Accounting G115 Issues in Taxation – 3 units

Choose one course from the following:
Accounting G100 – Accounting for Small Business – 3 units
Accounting G101 – Financial Accounting – 4 units
Accounting G110 – Payroll Accounting and Taxation – 3 units

Total Units: 12-13

To view all courses (opens new window)

The Business Department offers classes in other disciplines. Please see classes in BusinessManagement, and Marketing sections.

ACCOUNTING G100 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Accounting for Small Business
(Formerly known as: Accounting Elements; Accounting for Small Business)
This course is an introduction to accounting at the college level by presenting basic accounting principles and the practice of accounting methods and rules. Students will learn how to analyze business transactions, record sales and purchases, and reconcile bank accounts. At the conclusion of the course, students will understand the double-entry accounting system as well as know how to prepare basic financial statements. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade Transferable to CSU.

ACCOUNTING G101 – 4 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Financial Accounting
Advisories: Accounting G100
This course explores accounting as an information system and it is used by investors, creditors, and other stakeholders to make decisions. It introduces the accounting cycle, recording and reporting of business transactions, application of generally accepted accounting principles, and preparation of financial statements. The course examines issues relating to asset, liability, and equity valuation, revenue and expense recognition, cash flow, internal controls and business ethics. C-ID ACCT 110 Lecture. Letter grade only. Transferable to CSU; UC.

ACCOUNTING G102 – 4 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Managerial Accounting
Prerequisites: Accounting G101
This course is the second semester continuation of Acct G101- Financial Accounting. This course provides a study of accounting and financial information used to manage operations. The course content covers cost accounting concepts, cost behavior, cost structure, cost-volume-profit analysis, budgeting, responsibility accounting, and other management-related topics. Some problems will be solved using computer software applications. C-ID ACCT 120 Lecture. Letter grade only. Transferable to CSU; UC.

ACCOUNTING G110 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Payroll Accounting and Taxation
This course will present a review of the underlying theory and application of various state and federal payroll taxes. Payroll preparation, payroll forms, and recent payroll legislation are covered in detail. Lecture. Letter grade only. Transferable to CSU.

ACCOUNTING G111 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Individual Income Taxation
(Formerly known as: Income Tax – Federal)
This course covers individual income taxation laws and regulations, with practice on preparation of tax returns and forms. Topics include gross income and exclusions, business and personal deductions, exemptions, tax credits, property transactions, and capital gains and losses as they apply to individual filers. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.
ACCOUNTING G113 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Business Income Taxation
(Formerly known as: Business Income Tax) Advisories: Accounting G111
This course covers income tax laws and regulations as they relate to business entities, with practice on preparation of tax returns and forms. Topics include taxation of corporations, S corporations (small business corporations as defined under Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code), partnerships, and limited liability companies, with a comparison of tax implications amongst all forms of business formation. Multi-jurisdictional taxation issues, state and local taxes, as well as special business taxes and credits are included. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU. May not be offered each semester.

ACCOUNTING G115 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Issues in Taxation I—EA and CPA Exam Preparation
This course covers theory & application utilizing Internal Revenue Service income tax publications. Topics will include Basis, Property Transactions, Contributions to a Partnership, Partnership Inside & Outside Basis, Corporate Formation, Corporate Liquidations and Redemptions, and Capital Gains & Losses. Knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles is strongly encouraged. This course is designed to meet the requirements of the Enrolled Agent Tax Specialist Certificate and review for CPA certification. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ACCOUNTING G119 – 1 Unit
Course Outline (opens new window)
Tax Software Preparation
A basic tax preparation course utilizing Turbo Tax (or similar) software. Topics will include understanding the flow of input to output in tax software; preparation of basic to complex 1040 tax returns; understanding how to access and use the ancillary software features; very basic programming logic; accessing software updates via Internet patches. While TurboTax software will be utilized the student will learn issues and topics generic to all commercial brands of tax software. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ACCOUNTING G130 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Computerized Accounting
This course uses a computerized, integrated financial accounting system to record financial information. Subjects include journals, ledgers, budgets, sales and purchasing transactions, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll as they are used in accounting information systems. Microsoft Excel is also used to prepare and analyze financial statements. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ACCOUNTING G163 – 1.5 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Basic Accounting Concepts for Small Business
(Same as: Management G163)
This course teaches small business owners to perform basic accounting functions such as managing receivables and payables, bank reconciliations, and financial statements. The course also equips small business owners with the ability to read and understand financial statements in order to analyze operational performance, evaluate financial condition, and assess certainty of future cash flows. This course will also provide information for developing start-up cost estimates and financial projections. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ACCOUNTING G210 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Cost Accounting
A study of accounting concepts and principles as they apply to the needs of business. The course includes the determination of costs for manufacturing firms, the study of job-order and process cost accounting, the analysis of costs and decision making. Lecture. Letter grade only. Transferable to CSU. May not be offered each semester.

ACCOUNTING G211 – 4 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Intermediate Accounting 1
(Formerly known as: Intermediate Accounting A) Prerequisites: Accounting G101
This course in financial accounting expands on topics introduced in earlier financial accounting courses such as cash, receivables, inventory, long-term assets, etc. Additional topics in the accounting conceptual framework, current financial reporting issues, investments, and revenue recognition principles are also covered. Students will be expected to demonstrate problems using an online homework system. May be used as credit to sit for the Uniform CPA examination. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ACCOUNTING G212 – 4 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Intermediate Accounting 2
(Formerly known as: Intermediate Accounting B) Prerequisites: Accounting G211
Second course in intermediate series in financial accounting that covers current and long-term liabilities, income taxes, pensions and post-retirement benefits, leases, stockholders’ equity, earnings per share, and statement of cash flows. In addition, changes and/or in accounting methods, accounting estimates, or reporting entity are analyzed. Disclosure issues in financial statements are also addressed. Students will be expected to complete problems using an online homework system. May be used as credit to sit for the Uniform CPA examination. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ACCOUNTING G215 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Internal Control Compliance
(Formerly known as: Internal Control Compliance: Sarbanes Oxley)
Advisories: Accounting G101 This course explores the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 – the history leading up to its passage, key provisions of the Act, and its impact on affected companies.

The course also studies internal control systems and the efforts involved in attaining compliance – including objectives, design, implementation, assessment, documentation, and monitoring. Emphasis is on principal business processes such as the revenue and expenditure cycles, inventory, payroll, and financial reporting. The role of information technology in achieving internal control objectives and and integration of technology controls into internal control systems are also covered. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ACCOUNTING G220 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Forensic Accounting, Introduction
(Same as: Criminal Justice G220)
This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals and techniques of investigative and forensics accounting. The development of forensic accounting as a discipline and its interaction with business, law, auditing and information systems will be explored. Subjects include financial statement and tax fraud, divorce and bankruptcy, identity theft and various white-collar crimes. Forensic principles necessary to detect, prevent and prosecute financial crimes will be explored. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

ACCOUNTING G235 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Quickbooks Pro for Accountants
Advisories: Accounting G100 or Accounting G101
This course teaches students to use QuickBooks for general accounting and reporting purposes, payroll, cash and treasury functions, as well as management of receivables and payables. Banking transactions, journal entries, monthly adjustments, and preparation of financial statements will be covered. Lecture. Optional pass/no pass grade. Transferable to CSU.

Top 40 Accounting careers, listed by education level

ASSOCIATES DEGREE in ACCOUNTING Accounting Clerk Accounts Receivable Clerk Accounts Payable Clerk Accounting Assistant Auditing Clerk Billing Clerk Bookkeeper Bookeeping Clerk Management Trainee Payroll Clerk BACHELORS DEGREE IN ACCOUNTING Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Specialist Assistant Controller Auditor Budget Analyst Chief Financial Officer Corporate Entertainment Accountant Cost Accountant Cost Accountant Manager Cost Estimator Credit Analysis Manager FBI Agent specializing in Accounting Forensic Accountant Government Accountant Recreational Sports Centers Accountant Tax Accountant Treasury Analyst Vice President, Finance MASTERS DEGREE IN ACCOUNTING Accounting Software Developer Corporate Controller Environmental Accountants Finance Director Information Technology Accountants International Accountant Managerial Accountant Personal Financial Advisor Risk Compliance Professionals Senior Financial Analyst SOURCE: The Accounting Degree Review: www.accounting-degree.org

Chair: Alice Rivera Assistant Professor, Accounting B.S., UCLA; MBA, CSU Fullerton, Certified Public Accountant arivera@gwc.cccd.edu (714) 892-7711 x55209


Deanna Kirchen Associate Professor, Accounting Certified Public Accountant; B.A.,M.B.A., CSULB; further graduate study: Loyola Marymount University Part-time faculty: