How to find the book list for a course?

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How to find the book list for a course?

Postby mango » Fri May 24, 2013 5:32 pm

Hi all,

I'm trying to find the list of textbooks that would be used in a bookkeeping and/or accounting course.
I know books on how to use Excel and Quickbooks and Peachtree would be helpful, but I want to know which accounting textbooks are en vogue, so to speak.

Any ideas about where I can get this information without calling anyone?

Thanks in advance. :D
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby yonuh » Fri May 24, 2013 5:39 pm

Try a search for Accounting Course syllabus; you can often find them on the web along with what textbook to use. Or go to the website of a specific college and see if they are listed there.
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby Scenario Thinker » Fri May 24, 2013 6:23 pm

The community college I go to has a way to get the required books online for each section of a class. I'm not sure if all schools do this.

Go to Amazon and search for accounting books. You'll find the typical "Dummies" type, but some others too. Read the reviews and people will occasionally recommend other (better for them) books.

Barnes and Noble has a textbook website, I'm thinking Amazon might, too.

One thing about being en vogue, college textbooks are notorious for getting bad reviews, and a lot of students hate them. But, of course you sort of have to take that with a grain of salt. My experience is they're never that bad (for the classes I've taken). The problem with college courses is the administration usually selects the books, and they're sold a deal from the publisher (at least I've heard that can happen), and lot of time the teacher has no choice on the book (but this might be mainly community college. When I was in graduate school, some of the teachers wrote the books for class).

My "issue", is I've ended up buying a ton of books on a topic (say VBA for Excel and Access), because they all have their strengths and weaknesses (versus trying to find the "perfect" or optimal book). Lately, taking HTML and web stuff, I got a couple books, but mostly I just looked stuff up online. I do the same with other work topics (UNIX, SAS, Teradata). There's usually a topic outline or a blog post on just about any question you type into Google.
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby mango » Fri May 24, 2013 8:22 pm

Thank you both!

I did what each of you suggested.
Both were great ideas.

:D

What I've realized is that unless you're using a book that's designed for self-study, you won't have any of the answers. :bash:
At least, I think that's true.

So, rather than buy or rent a textbook and study it on my own, it may well make more sense to take each class that I'm interested in online through the local community college (the classes are 6 weeks long, start every month, and cost $65 each - and they come with a certificate of completion from the community college). Then I'll have something to put on my resume that makes sense at first glance.

I don't really like the idea of online courses, but I guess I could get a basic 'for dummies' book for each subject as well, just to have something in hand. Or maybe there are required text books for the online courses. I will have to check that out.

Anyway, thanks again! You helped me jump several steps forward in my thought process.

Edit: got the price wrong - it's even cheaper! :D
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby Scenario Thinker » Sat May 25, 2013 4:41 am

That's true in general about not having the answers from my experience.

I've grown to like online classes better, but for me a "hybrid" is better. I'm more motivated when I go to see the teacher in class once in a while in real life, than if it's totally online. Especially for the homework. I don't mind watching the videos every week on some classes, but just for my information. Maybe it's a transition thing for me, since I grew up not even knowing what an online class would be.

What I don't like is how colleges are charging the same price for an online class as their regular live classes. I think it's a rip off, but maybe it's a mind set. It should be the same class if it's done well, but it just seems like it shouldn't be as much money.
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby mango » Sun May 26, 2013 7:36 pm

ST, have you ever taken a class that was strictly online?
It sounds like you have.. Did you enjoy the experience?

I'm like you - there wasn't such a thing as an online class when I was in school. I was last in school in 2000, and they still hadn't switched to anything computer-based (besides Power Point lectures). Barely anyone I knew even had a computer. When I go to the vet school here in the city for continuing education, I'm always surprised by the classrooms. They're set up with electrical outlets at every seat, wireless internet, etc. Kind of mind-blowing.

Good point about the price. I think there IS a price difference at the community college here. Seems like there should be, if you're getting time with the teacher, getting your questions answered in class, and hearing what other people are struggling with, etc.

I've pretty much resigned myself to taking the online classes. They're offered in every subject that I want to study, they're not tied to a degree, and they're cheap. And I can put something concrete on my resume. Plus, I can do them from home... or have an excuse to go and hang out at Barnes & Noble! Oh, and tax-deductible too, I think. I will have to check on that.

:D
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby Scenario Thinker » Mon May 27, 2013 10:21 am

I'm listening to two courses from Coursera, but I'm not doing the homework.

Otherwise, when I was taking the web design classes, they were a hybrid, but after I realized I was just going to class and doing the homework for the next week while in class, and also listening to the instructor and doing his walk through examples in another window, that I could just be doing the homework at home and reading the book. Not that the instructor was bad, he was actually quite good and was good at explaining things, but probably more helpful to people with no programming or coding experience.

There was a graduate program I was thinking of taking that is strictly online, but I ended up not pursuing it because of the cost (it was at Northwestern in Chicago). I could probably get help from work with tuition reimbursement, but given the limitations of even that, it would be thousands and thousands out of my pocket. I'm sure it would help to be very marketable, but my background in already very related, so I figure I could learn add on courses, versus an entire masters again. But, that's how colleges and universities are big business, they make it seem like you need the degree even though you have 85% of the knowledge. What is frustrating (and irritating), is they don't figure out a way to accommodate the incremental student, and build on existing knowledge. That's why figuring it out for myself is probably better.
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby mango » Mon May 27, 2013 10:39 am

But, that's how colleges and universities are big business, they make it seem like you need the degree even though you have 85% of the knowledge. What is frustrating (and irritating), is they don't figure out a way to accommodate the incremental student, and build on existing knowledge. That's why figuring it out for myself is probably better.


Oh, I agree. The last thing I need is another degree.

The degree programs that I've looked at include required coursework in English, Calculus, and even a Physical Education requirement! I figure I've paid my dues with the other degrees that I've gotten. Even if I could test out of a lot of the ancillary required coursework (and I doubt that I could - I took Calculus in 1993, for example), I don't think I should have to take those unrelated courses in order to get access to the courses that I actually want - the ones that would make a difference on my resume.

I like the term 'incremental student.'

It seems like my path will be to take the courses that will be valuable to me by themselves. Sure, they won't be tied to a degree, but I can still get the knowledge that I need, put the courses on my resume, and come out at the end of it all having saved myself thousands of dollars. None of the degrees and diplomas that I've looked at encompass all of the knowledge that I want, and they cost upwards of $3000.

For instance, for bookkeeping, I can take Accounting I, Accounting II, Peachtree, Quickbooks I, Quickbooks 2, Payroll, Purchasing, Administrative Assisting, Excel I, Excel II, and Excel III for $65 each. Then I can get Quickbooks Pro certification online for several hundred dollars. Putting those specific items on my resume would make it look much more focused (to me, at least). An accountant who used to post online here told me that the Quickbooks Pro designation is invaluable for a bookkeeper or accountant.

So, I'm going to make my own way too. :D
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby Scenario Thinker » Mon May 27, 2013 2:49 pm

mango wrote:I took Calculus in 1993, for example

I took it in 1977 :oops:

I liked the term when I wrote incremental student, too :)

Speaking of Excel, just to put it in perspective of the "grand scheme of things", I've worked with spreadsheets my entire career. Probably 75% of what I learned, I learned on my own either through self-study or trail and error. No, make that 90%. When I did take formal classes, I picked up a trick or two, but I pretty much knew everything, already. I only took the classes because I could (through work or whatever). I only say this again because of how schools put so much value on their courses or degrees. Now, I'm not saying when starting out, absolutely, I would start taking 101, 102, etc. (what I did for web design). But after a point, a good self-teacher can take over and do it on their own (or at least find the classes to take).

Not that I have a lot of practice in the following (at least lately), but I was reading some views about interviews and applying for jobs, etc., essentially the job hunt. And the key thing is, if you can convince and prove to an employer (or a client) you can do the job in the interview, why wouldn't an intelligent employer hire you, regardless of degree. The other point then, in order to really do that, you have to have that knowledge either through school (probably a lot), or through real and (maybe lots of) experience. I'm talking about really demonstrating that you can do the job, not just having the potential (or the degree). Besides experience and school, the other thing is to really research the job/career in question, so what you may lack in experience or school, you learn the ins and outs elsewhere.

Anyhow, I know I'm rambling on about school's worth again. :)
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby mango » Mon May 27, 2013 7:49 pm

I think it's turned into an interesting discussion!

Besides experience and school, the other thing is to really research the job/career in question, so what you may lack in experience or school, you learn the ins and outs elsewhere.


I totally agree.

It would be super ideal if I could start taking the classes online, and then find somewhere to intern or work part-time as I work my way through the classes. That way, I'd get 'on the job' training as well as the academics, without wasting any time.

The other thing I was thinking was to keep an eye on the job listings so that I know exactly what employers are looking for in a bookkeeper. If 9 out of 10 ads say 'proficient in xyz,' then I'll know that I need to add those things to my 'arsenal.'

It's funny that you mention that about Excel. I've never had any training in it. I picked up enough to make basic spreadsheets that do calculations. When I worked in academia, someone taught me how to turn data from a spreadsheet into a graph, etc. Enough that I was able to get a scientific abstract into an international conference. I've forgotten most of it, though I find that if I play around with it enough, I can usually figure something out. I think the classes would be good for me, though, as employers point to it as being SUPER IMPORTANT for the bookkeeper positions, and it's not one of my strengths. So, I would like to learn it from the beginning. Plus, I actually find it interesting!

I had to take Calculus to get into vet school, and I graduated vet school at age 30! I'm hardly a spring chicken myself. :lol:
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby Unity1 » Tue May 28, 2013 5:13 am

Hi all

Something else to add to the discussions. I used to do the finances and the fundraising for a number of charities. No-one ever asked if I had any qualifications at all. It was all about previous experience and enthusiasm. The only accounts knowledge I had was from doing a course back when I was about 18. I never even mentioned that.

I did all the book keeping by hand, hated using the computer for numbers. Only used them at the end of the year if it was necessary to send a printed set of accounts elsewhere.

I know you are getting very excited doing these types of courses but have you thought about the reality of this kind of work?

It can be quite scary when things do not match up and you have to spend a lot of time going back over the figures to see what has gone wrong, and it can feel horrendous when you can't work out the problem :?
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby Scenario Thinker » Tue May 28, 2013 5:40 am

Unity1 wrote: ... and it can feel horrendous when you can't work out the problem :?

A lot of it depends on what you thrive on. You should try finding a programming bug buried deep within a program at 3AM when you just got woken up from a deep sleep that a program bombed at work and you need to fix it pronto. Fortunately, those days are over for me as of now, but it can still be hairy trying to find a bug during the day when the end user is in a hurry.

I've done a lot of financial reconciliations, too (mostly personal), and I've found either with programming or numbers, there's ALWAYS a reason! Even when I think it can't be possible, I eventually find the reason. Sometimes not under my control.
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby Unity1 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:31 am

I know what you mean, sometimes there can be a sort of adrenalin rush solving the problems. Some people do thrive on that feeling. Similarly some people would get highly stressed if they are doing it for someone else and come across problems. Often it can be a very simple solution but it can take a lot of time to resolve (can't see the wood for the trees).

That's why I mentioned it to Mango.
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby Midwest Novelist » Tue May 28, 2013 11:35 am

It would be super ideal if I could start taking the classes online, and then find somewhere to intern or work part-time as I work my way through the classes. That way, I'd get 'on the job' training as well as the academics, without wasting any time.


That's a great idea, mango. Do you know how long it will take for you to work through all your courses?

I've taken short (six week) online courses, mainly computer software ones. I much prefer that to attending classes with set days and times.
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Re: How to find the book list for a course?

Postby mango » Thu May 30, 2013 12:17 pm

Hi all,

It can be quite scary when things do not match up and you have to spend a lot of time going back over the figures to see what has gone wrong, and it can feel horrendous when you can't work out the problem :?


A lot of it depends on what you thrive on.


I know what you mean, sometimes there can be a sort of adrenalin rush solving the problems.


I get the adrenaline rush because the answer is either right or wrong. I hate the grey areas, so I think I would be good at this. It seems more like a challenge than a scary thing.

That's a great idea, mango. Do you know how long it will take for you to work through all your courses?

I've taken short (six week) online courses, mainly computer software ones. I much prefer that to attending classes with set days and times.


These are 6-week online courses as well. What I'm not sure about is how many I could take at one time. I know that I couldn't take Accounting Fundamentals I and Accounting Fundamentals II at the same time, obviously, but there's a 2 week overlap between when one ends and the next begins. They suggest taking 2 months per 6-week course in order to avoid the overlap. All of the courses start on a specific day each month. How do I explain that... Okay, the entire list of courses below all start on June 19th, and then again on July 21st, etc. I hope that makes sense.

The question, then, is could I take some unrelated courses at the same time? Could I take Introduction to Excel 2010 and/or Administrative Assistant Fundamentals while I'm taking the first accounting course? I know that it's permissible, I just don't know yet if it's sensible. But I would obviously like to get it all done as soon as possible, and I'm not working right now, so I'm curious as to how many courses I could reasonably handle.

Does anyone have any idea?

Here's the list of courses that I want to take. I've already signed up for the first accounting course, and it starts on June 19th.

1. Accounting Fundamentals I
2. Accounting Fundamentals II
3. Introduction to MS Excel 2010
4. Intermediate MS Excel 2010
5. Introduction to Quickbooks 2013
6. Intermediate Quickbooks 2013
7. Performing Payroll in Quickbooks 2013
8. Introduction to Peachtree Accounting 2012
9. Introduction to Crystal Reports 10
10. Administrative Assistant Fundamentals
11. Administrative Assistant Applications

And then the Quickbooks ProAdvisor certification. That costs $49.99/month or $549/year and includes 9 courses (approximately 17 hours) to prepare you for the certification exam. For the price, you get certification and training, free software and discounts, marketing tools, and US-based technical support. You also get a fancy Certified ProAdvisor logo to use, a free listing on the Find-a-ProAdvisor website, and a lot of advanced training.

I'm still checking the job ads to see if any other necessary skills pop up.
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