Accounting CPA Exam Track Certificate Program | UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education

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Accounting CPA Exam Track Certificate Program

Management-level Accounting Training

Take your accounting education to the next level with our online CPA Exam Track Certificate Program. Acquire a thorough understanding of the principles and practices of accounting and financial reporting in order to prepare for a career in senior level business management.

What You’ll Learn

The primary goal of the Accounting CPA Exam Track Certificate Program is to teach you the knowledge and core competencies to sit for the CPA exam and to prepare you for a senior level position in accounting. In this program, you will:

  • Gain an understanding of concepts and theories underlying current best practices in accounting
  • Develop the analytical skills necessary to evaluate accounting and reporting methods, examine audit processes and develop internal control processes and procedures
  • Learn to expand accounting applications to a wide variety of business and financial settings

What You Get

Our program offers:

  • 36 quarter units (the equivalent of 24 semester units) of accounting education requirements to sit for the CPA exam
  • Online convenience
  • Access to exceptional instructors with years of industry experience
  • Unique networking opportunities with instructors and fellow students
  • Practical knowledge and current best practices that can be applied immediately to your business or job

About the Program:

Gain practical knowledge that matters

  • Fulfill the core accounting educational requirements to take the CPA examination
  • Prepare for a career in senior level business management
  • Learn to expand accounting applications to a wide variety of business and financial settings
  • Prepare for public and private accounting positions

Designed for professionals like you

The Accounting CPA Exam Track Certificate Program is designed for those who want to develop professional competencies and technical knowledge in accounting and who are seeking a long-term career as an accountant in either the public or private sector. Those who have or are working toward their college degree and want to fulfill the accounting educational requirements for the California CPA exams benefit from gaining a comprehensive understanding of fundamental and advanced principles of accounting.

Advisory Board:

  • Don Adcock, CPA, MTax, Executive Director, Ernst & Young
  • Emily Anderson, CPA, Accountant, Robertson, Woodford & Summers, LLP
  • Manny Carbahal, CPA, MS, Partner, Carbahal & Co, AAC
  • David Sholer,* CPA, MBA, Principal Accountant, Integrated Accounting Solutions
  • Monique Smalling, CPA, MBA, Accountant, Self-employed, former Sr. Manager, Williams & Olds, CPAs
  • Dan Staszak, CPA, MS, Principal, Staszak & Co., Inc.
  • Jim Venneman, CPA, CIA, MBA, Sr. Management Auditor, State of CA Controller’s Office

*Alumnus of the program.

Estimated Cost:

Tuition for the entire Accounting CPA Exam Track Certificate Program is $7,470 to $7,920, depending on when you enroll. The certificate application fee ($125) and textbooks are not included in the tuition fee.

Program Requirements:

Courses may be taken individually or as part of a certificate program. Participants will be awarded an Accounting CPA Exam Track Certificate upon the successful completion of 16 required units and 20 elective units of designated course work. 

These courses prepare you to take the CPA exam. Completion of this certificate program itself does not represent CPA certification. For more information about CPA credential requirements and licensing, please visit the California Board of Accountancy's Educational Requirements page (click on the Tip Sheet - CPA Licensure Educational Requirements link).

Course content is frequently revised to ensure that the program is up-to-date with the latest industry standards. For this reason, you must complete all of the course requirements of your certificate within five years from the day you enroll in the first course. A certificate will not be awarded if the requirements are not completed and your application for candidacy is not received within this timeframe.

Consider a Master's Degree in Accountancy

Successful completion of the following three UC Davis Extension Accounting courses fulfills the prerequisite requirements for the UC Davis Graduate School of Management's Master of Professional Accountancy Program:

Principles of Financial Accounting
Principles of Cost Accounting

For more information, visit


"A CPA salary is pretty hard to beat. New industries, more sophisticated technologies, and expanding opportunities for business add up to better opportunities for CPAs. Depending on firm size and location, the average starting salaries in public accounting range from $40,000 to $57,000. Those with a graduate degree and the CPA certification can expect to earn 10-15 percent more than the average starting salaries."

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Salaries and Job Market,

Required Courses

Principles of Financial Accounting

Examine accounting theory, principles and practice. Learn about accrual account concepts, transaction analysis, recording and processing (journals and ledgers) methods. Gain an in-depth understanding of the preparation and analysis of financial statements (income statements, balance sheets and cash-flow statements); sales and cost of sales; inventory valuation; depreciation of operational assets; accounting for investments; and liability and present value concepts.

This course fulfills one of the three prerequisites for the UC Davis School of Management's Master of Professional Accountancy Program.

Intermediate Accounting: Part I

Gain a thorough understanding of the theory behind best practices in accounting and learn to incorporate those theories into practical usage. Focus on the preparation of principal accounting statements, including the recording, valuation and presentation of cash, temporary investments, receivables and inventories. Explore accounting concepts for physical plants and equipment, intangibles, current assets and liabilities, fixed asset accounting and current obligations.

Intermediate Accounting: Part II

Learn advanced accounting methods and be better prepared to take the accounting portion of the CPA examination. Examine best practices of financial reporting, income taxes, pensions, leases, investments, stockholder’s equity, statement of cash flows and earnings per share. Apply concepts learned to various real world applications, so you can more fully analyze financial statements.

Principles of Cost Accounting

Learn the fundamentals of managerial accounting and discuss how to use accounting/financial data to make better, more profitable business decisions. Examine the role of the managerial accountant in establishing budgets, evaluating the financial impact of day-to-day management decisions and using budgets as control tools. Topics include basic accounting principles; analysis and interpretation of financial statements; cost-volume profit relationships; how to analyze cost behavior; budgeting and the use of accounting data for business decision-making. This course is required to complete the CPA Accounting Certificate Program and the Accounting Essentials Certificate Program. This course is also known as Managerial Accounting.

This course fulfills one of the three prerequisites for the UC Davis School of Management's Master of Professional Accountancy Program.

Elective Courses

Financial Statement Analysis

Focus on the effective analysis of financial statements and how to integrate accounting concepts and principles into your statements. Examine the analytical tools for assessing a company's performance, the concept of quality of earnings and the approaches to valuation. Topics also include balance sheet analysis, asset and business evaluation issues, income statement analysis, profit margins, return on assets and equity and cash flow analysis.


Examine the audit process in-depth and explore the most recent developments and trends in auditing practices. Learn how to plan an audit, perform analytical procedures, evaluate internal control systems and carry out tests of transactions and individual account balances. Discuss current best practices for conducting, completing and issuing an audit report. This course assists individuals who need to learn or review auditing concepts and/or prepare for the CPA, CIA or CMA examination.

Accounting for Governmental and Nonprofit Organizations

Gain an understanding of the characteristics of governmental and nonprofit accounting with an emphasis on various fund types and account groups. Review and evaluate the most recently recommended accounting and financial reporting practices for state and local governmental units. Explore both the theoretical and practical aspects of governmental and nonprofit accounting.

Individual Income Taxation

Gain the practical knowledge you need to apply tax laws when preparing tax forms and helping your clients plan their processes. Examine the most current laws affecting capital gains and losses, adjustments to gross income, itemized deductions, tax credits and payments and estimated taxes.

Learn about sole proprietorship and small business taxation, as well as real estate property transactions, with an emphasis on issues relating to all aspects of individual taxation. Knowledge of current federal income tax laws as they relate to individual income taxation is critical for accountants. Acquire the skills to more effectively prepare, or help your clients prepare, their income tax returns.

Ethics in Accounting

Gain an understanding of ethical standards for accountants and auditors. Learn the nature and scope of ethical behavior and the need for it in business and society. Examine unethical behavior, including greed, corruption and fraud. Review professional codes of conduct for principal governing bodies and discuss their application in real-world situations. Obtain an understanding of ethics in the auditing, taxation and fiduciary professions.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand ethical frameworks including ethics and ethical reasoning
  • Review virtue, justice and social responsibilities
  • Analyze unethical behavior including greed and corruption
  • Examine fraud and earnings management
  • Review professional rules of conduct
  • Examine the duties of the public company auditors, taxation professionals and fiduciaries

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