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Good advanced accounting courses / materials


tol1
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Hate to tell you this, but you'll need to be more specific.

 

If you expect to be looking at primarily the financials of US companies, you'll need to learn US GAAP. If you're looking outside the US, you'll need to learn IFRS. While mostly the same, there are some very material differences between the two standards. And it would be a very bad mistake, to believe that after only a course (or two) you're comparable to a CPA.

 

If you expect to be looking primarily at a few companies, in specific industries, and in detail; you'll ALSO need to learn management accounting. If you're looking at manufacturing, extraction/mining, processing, supply-chain, etc. you will have no idea as to why things are as they are until you fully understand the incentives this accounting creates.

 

Good luck to you!

 

SD

 

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Accounting is the most valuable language in the world to know.  And few seem to know it really well. 

 

For basic financial accounting you can probably pick up some college textbooks.

 

For advanced, ie forensic accounting, check out Howard Schilit's books.

Then go and study a lot of frauds and see what you could of seen before they blew up. 

 

Accounting is something that is a lifelong learning process. 

 

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I disagree a bit with the above posters. Take a college level accounting textbook and you're 90% of the way there. The other 10% you learn looking at specific companies and trying to figure out their P&L.

 

I certainly don't think accounting is a lifelong process and I don't think management accounting was worth much of anything. But that's my two very zinc filled cents.

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A quick 'management accounting' example.

Imagine you are a 'public' hydro-electric producer with lots of concrete dams, custom built turbines, electric generation facilities, etc.

Why is the depreciation expense so low relative to the size of the facility? and why does that matter to you the investor?

 

Concrete doesn't wear out, there is usually a deep 'stock' of turbines in 'stores', and current turbines are routinely pulled out of service and repaired as the facility generates. The life of these capital assets essentially becomes 'infinite'; meaning that if you use straight-line depreciation methodology, you will be dividing by infinity, and the resultant depeciation expense will be zero. Operating income is a lot higher than it should be, and so is the dividend payout. A lovely way to 'asset strip' ;D

 

Mangement accounting has come a long way since its manufacturing cost accounting roots.

And in the hands of a good operator .....

 

SD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If I'm qualified to recommend anything to anyone at all, I'd recommend COLLEGE level courses... basic, intermediate, and advanced. It'll take a year or so, but commit yourself to it. There just aren't any short cuts. If you had a lot of time and were very diligent, you could teach yourself from the Internet alone, but it could take several years. Accounting today is incredibly complicated in ways that are difficult to imagine if you aren't already familiar with it. For e.g. I could almost guarantee you that more than 50% of the investors you meet will not know how to make sense of the Income Taxes footnote (not just the gross value of DTAs and DTLs, which many Berkshire investors understand but Unrecognized Tax Benefits, effective rate reconciliations, valuation allowances, etc.) which plays into FCF big time... or the effect of stock option exercises on the income statement now v/s two years ago. Just look at the new revenue standards and all the changes that has brought with it, particularly on industries which will be dominant in our investing lifetimes.

 

Beyond the basics, accounting for financial institutions (banks, insurance, etc.) is a specialized area of study where you won't find any college courses but you'll find a lot of 'industry practices' and guides. In fact, many issues are not addressed in US GAAP at all and are simply a matter of industry practice. Good luck!

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