Discover the Best Accounting Classes in Los Angeles
Accounting (also known as accountancy, particularly in the United Kingdom) is the form of applied mathematics whereby people keep track of how much money a company has. And had. And will have. If your company is a small one, that may not be overly complicated to do, but if you have inventory, employees, and a lot of customers, the task can rapidly become complex, hence the need for dedicated professionals whose only job is to keep the company's books. Accountants and auditors (who are the accountants whose job it is to check other accountants' efforts) work in the name of precision and accuracy to keep management, investors, and regulators aware of how much is in the corporate till at any given moment.
Why You Should Learn Accounting in Los Angeles
Say "Los Angeles" in a word association exercise to someone, and they're unlikely to come back with "accounting." There's more to the City of Angels than the tinsel of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, however. Los Angeles is home to a quarter of a million small businesses and over a million single proprietorships beyond that. On top of that, Los Angeles is home to over a dozen Fortune 500 companies, most of them having nothing to do with entertainment.
The one thing all those businesses have in common is that their goal is to make money and that they use money to make more of it. In turn, that means that all those businesses require accountants of all shapes, sizes, and levels of qualification. There is, therefore, plenty of work for accounting professionals in the Southland, where you stand a much greater chance of making it as a successful accountant than as an actor/waiter.
Perhaps one of those many businesses is yours. If that's the case, then you have finances to understand. The more you understand them, the greater your control will be over your business. Although you may have an accountant taking care of the books, you should know how to read those books. While you shouldn't assume that your accountant is swindling you, the best way to avoid that is by being able to read corporate numbers. Less ominously, you may be a very small, young company and not have a need for (nor the means to hire) a professional accountant. Knowing how to keep your own books can save you money and spare you the unpleasant ritual of having to cross your fingers every time you decide to consult your bank balance.
In-Person Accounting Classes in Los Angeles
To start at the very beginning, those with no background in accounting will find Los Angeles City College's class in Bookkeeping/Accounting Analysis and Concepts to be a worthwhile introduction to the world of corporate numbers. The course, hosted by LACC's highly eclectic adult education wing, is offered on a not-for-credit basis.
The accounting program of choice for small businesses today is QuickBooks. A class in the software is also to be found from LACC, QuickBooks Fundamentals I. It shows students how to set up a business using the program and how to keep track of their venture's finances. (A follow-up class may also be available.) LACC is located on Vermont Avenue, at the Eastern end of Hollywood or slightly to the West of Downtown.
Another option for learning the highly practical basics of QuickBooks is ONLC Training Centers' QuickBooks Desktop Introduction. Offered in West LA, practically in the shadow of the 405, the class also takes students through their first steps in the software and shows them how to perform such vital tasks as invoicing, processing payments, and paying bills. At the end of the class' two half-day sessions, students will be able to track their businesses' progress using the program. Classes at ONLC are interactive and conducted live using a remote instructor.
A more specialized class for those who work (or who plan to work) in the arcane world of medical billing is Medical Credit and Collection. The four-session course takes place on weekends at Mt. San Antonio College, about an hour's drive from Downtown Los Angeles, when favorable traffic winds prevail. Topics covered include medical terminology, billing and coding, and, most particularly, credit and collection. The class is not-for-credit, but a certificate is issued at its conclusion. The course is one of six offered at Mt. San Antonio to help those working in a professional medical environment.
Another different take on an accounting class is to be had from another community college in the Greater Los Angeles Area, Santa Monica College: Investment Bootcamp. In one brief (two-and-a-half hour) session, the class touches upon the basics of retirement plans, annuities, and mutual funds. A massive bonus is that, unlike so many other investment seminars, this one won't seek to sell you anything. The class takes place at SMCC's Bundy Campus, ever so slightly to the east of Santa Monica proper.
Virtual Accounting Classes
No one wants to drive around Los Angeles any more than is absolutely necessary. If the thought of getting into the car and sitting in traffic and half-listening to yet another audiobook just to get to an accounting class doesn't appeal to you, the twenty-first century can offer you an alternative that you might find more attractive: the live online class. Fully live, in that the teacher is teaching to you (and can even see you if your camera is on.), you can nonetheless study from wherever you want, sit as comfortably as you wish, and not have to sit next to someone distracting.
Accounting classes are very well-suited to this learning format, as you don't require any complex materials with which to follow the course. All you'll need is paper, sharpened number two pencils and a calculator. (Introductory classes in accounting don't even require a specialized accounting calculator.) If you're taking a QuickBooks class, you'll also need the software loaded onto your computer, but you're going to need that anyway and very likely already have it and are taking the class because you need help understanding it.
Online accounting classes can be taken from schools anywhere, which considerably increases the pool of courses from which you can choose. You'll also find that selection extends to the subject matter covered in online classes, which run a whole gamut from the basic to the esoteric.
Among the basic classes, you'll find instruction in QuickBooks from the Digital Workshop Center's Bookkeeping Fundamentals. In this entry into the field, you'll learn basic accounting concepts from double-entry bookkeeping to professional financial analysis. The course takes three weekday afternoons to complete and is one of a host of online business classes, bootcamps, and certificate programs available from the Colorado-based school.
For people with well more than basic accounting knowledge, IASemniars offers a whole spectrum of seminars in different aspects of the highly complex subject of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which includes 17 Insurance Contract Accounting Workshop for Preparers. At the end of five half-day sessions, participants will have had considerable light shed upon the complexities of IFRS 17, how it compares to its predecessor, IFRS 4, and how insurance entities now have to report their activities to international regulators. Accountants, actuaries, auditors, as well as controllers, and executive financial officers, will all find the workshop highly beneficial as they struggle to come to terms with the new standard.
IASeminars also offers a thought-provoking online class in the form of Ethics -- A Workshop for Accountants. Events of recent years have created an image of accountants as a dishonest lot, always cooking the books and facilitating any number of schemes to separate investors from their money. While one would hope these unscrupulous beings aren't indicative of the entire profession's moral compass, this workshop is designed to remind all manner of financial professionals of the ethical code underpinning everything they do.
If you're not quite ready for a workshop on accounting ethics and are still at the stage at which you wish to learn about accounting practices, an engaging choice might be the Financial Modeling Bootcamp from Noble Desktop. The three-day program shows students well-versed in the ways of Excel to create a discounted cash flow (DCF) model using real rather than hypothetical numbers. Students will emerge with a new basis in financial analysis with many real-world applications.
What to Learn After Accounting
Accounting isn't all numbers. While many accountants might wish that it were, the reality is that every accountant is going to have, at some point, to explain accounting concepts to non-accountants. This can happen between a CFO and a CEO, or it can happen farther down the corporate ladder. As a result, an accountant seeking to make a career ought to know more than just the fundamentals of business writing. Concise and correct writing is one of the softer skills most in demand across the business world today, and an accountant can only benefit from an online course such as Effective Business Writing from Noble Desktop. The class runs for only one day but can make for serious improvement in anything you write. There is a follow-up course available as well: Advanced Business Writing also runs for a day and will have you using words almost as comfortably as you use numbers when writing reports.
While written communication is essential in business today, you should pay attention to your verbal communication skills as well. Oral presentations to small or large groups are a chance to shine or flop in front of managers and others who can make a difference in the development of your career. Public speaking doesn't come easily to most people, and anxiety when facing a room of more-or-less attentive listeners staring at you is perfectly normal. This is why they invented the public speaking class. Zenspeak Public Speaking Center offers a ten-session online course on the subject called, suitably enough, Overcome Your Public Speaking Fear. The course will help make you comfortable facing down crowds, and while it may be a mixed blessing, will also make you one of those people who always get the public speaking baton passed to them. If you're not sure about investing in the entire course, Zenspeak offers a free trial class for those on the fence.