Online Accounting
Introductory Instructions for
ACCT 105, 213, and 214
ACCT 105, 213 and 214 (Elements of Accounting, Financial Accounting, and Managerial
Accounting) are all introductory accounting courses. In them, business and accounting students
learn about accounting for assets, liabilities, and owner's equity in sole proprietorships,
partnerships and corporations. These are the same basic accounting topics that are taught in
colleges and universities all across America.
At Highland, basic bookkeeping principles are introduced in the Elements of Accounting course.
This foundation is then built upon in the Financial Accounting course, where advanced issues
pertaining to corporate accounting for stocks, bonds, corporate consolidations, and a host of
other topics are examined. Managerial Accounting then extends this coverage to accounting for
manufacturers and to the utilization of accounting information in business decision-making.
While it is not the preferred way to complete these courses, it is possible for students to take the
Financial Accounting course without having completed Elements of Accounting. If this is done,
the student will need to study and learn the basic bookkeeping procedures on his or her own prior
to beginning Financial Accounting. In some cases, the student will have learned the basics
previously in high school, on the job, or elsewhere. Students who wish to bypass the Elements
course must receive permission from the instructor.
The three introductory Accounting courses (Elements, Financial and Managerial) are offered
both on-campus and online. Either type of course requires access to the Internet.
The computer has become as commonplace as the telephone in today’s business environment,
and any business student needs to become proficient in its use. For this reason, a basic degree of
computer literacy is required in our Accounting courses. If you have clicked a mouse, used email, “surfed the net,” or printed a document; you probably have the necessary skills. If not, they
can be learned in just an hour or two in the on-campus computer lab or at your local library. Our
Accounting courses make use of a powerful set of tools that will help you tremendously as you
study the material, but you will need to be able to access a computer and the Internet in order to
utilize them.
Students in any of the courses will complete activities in three separate course sites
(Moodle,, and CengageNow®). They, and the activities you will
complete in them, are illustrated in the diagram below. Click the speaker icon to play an
audio message. You may also click on any of the images to open a new page that describes
the site in detail..
Introduction to the Course
ACCT 105, 213 and 214
Course Map
Click any Item to Learn More
Click to play
(Your Instructor’s Site)
(General College Course Site)
(Textbook Resource Site)
As you complete your course you will be working in three different course sites. Click
any of the course sites to learn more about them.
You will find a detailed course map on the following page. You may also click below to launch a
video presentation that shows you how to navigate among these resources and demonstrates the
activities you will be completing in each of them.
If you have not already done so, you should now view the “Beginning Your
Accounting Course” audio/video presentation, which discusses the way the
course is to be completed. Note: If you are in the ACCT 115, 116, 120 or
220 courses, the references to “CengageNow” in the video do not apply to
you. Access this presentation by clicking the link below.
Link to “Beginning Your Accounting Course” Presentation
Introduction to the Course
ACCT 105, 213 and 214
Course Areas and Contents
(General College Course Site)
(Your Instructor’s Site)
(formerly ThomsonNow®)
(Textbook Resource Site)
HCC Username and Password
required for entry.
No password required for
CengageNow® access card
code required for entry.
Solutions Manual
(for suggested practice
exercise and problems)
Progress Reports
(must be posted weekly)
Online Learning
Course Manual
(composed of several
modules. Each module lists
the assigned activities from
ThomsonNow, along with a
“written lecture,” video
presentations, and example
problems with solutions)
Step 2
(recorded lectures,
problem demo’s, video
cases, games)
Assigned Homework
and suggested practice
problem solutions
Step 1
Always begin with the Course Manual.
Start with Module 1 and see what is
assigned to be done in the textbook and in
CengageNow. Read the remainder of the
module, then go to CengageNow and
complete the assigned activities. When
you are finished, go on to Module 2 and
repeat these steps. Don’t forget to post
your progress reports weekly!
Scored Exams
and Practice Exams
The remainder of this document provides you with a list of required materials and an overview of
the way the course operates. You will find information here about homework, examinations, the
grading system, and our Accounting program.
Introduction to the Course
To complete the Accounting 105, 213 or 214 courses, you should have the following materials:
Either the required text (Financial and Managerial Accounting, by Warren,
Reeves and Fess, South-Western Publishing Company) with a CengageNow
access card; or a single CengageNow access card that you can use to access the
textbook online (see the box below for more about purchase options). The
Elements of Accounting (ACCT 105) course coverage includes chapters 1
through 6 and chapter 8 of the financial accounting portion of the text, and
Financial Accounting (ACCT 213) covers chapters 7 and 9 through 15. Students
in Managerial Accounting (ACCT 214) complete chapters 1 through 13 in the
managerial accounting portion (the second half) of the book.
A calculator to increase your speed and accuracy on homework and exams.
Internet access. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher is recommended.
The Course Manual, by Craig Pence. The manual is available free in the online
course site to students registered in the course.
The Course Manual will be your primary guide through the course you are taking. The manual
organizes the course content into several learning modules. Each module begins with textbook
and CengageNow assignments, and provides you with a written “lecture outline” over the
module content, along with supplementary illustrations and information.
Textbook Options
One single textbook is used for the Elements of Accounting (ACCT 105), Financial
Accounting (ACCT 213) and Managerial Accounting (ACCT 214) courses. It has been
custom-published in order to reduce the cost to the student as much as possible. To make
sure that you are getting the correct book, you should purchase it through the Highland
Community College bookstore (815-599-3449 or 599-3459). This version of the book has no
color (it is done in black-and-white print), and it is published on lower quality paper stock.
The book comes bundled with 2 CengageNow (formerly ThomsonNow) access cards. One of
the cards is used with Elements of Accounting/Financial Accounting; the other is used in
Managerial Accounting.
You may avoid the cost of the textbook bundle by purchasing only the CengageNow access
card for your course. CengageNow provides students with an online “e-book” version of the
textbook. You are able to logon to CengageNow and read the book online. You may also
print out individual pages, sections or chapters and produce your own “hard copy” of the
book if it is needed. Therefore, you have two options regarding the textbook (see below).
Introduction to the Course
Textbook Options, Continued
Students may purchase the custom-published textbook, bundled with the Financial
Accounting and Managerial Accounting access cards for CengageNow, from the
HCC bookstore. This gives the student everything that will be needed for all three
courses, ACCT 105, 213 and 214. (Who should do this? –Students who will take all
three courses while at Highland, or students who want the convenience of having a
printed textbook to work from while taking the course).
Cost: $120 for printed textbook and 2 access cards.
Purchase only the CengageNow access card for the course that is being taken. You may
buy the access card from the HCC bookstore or directly from Cengage Publishing
Company on the CengageNow website. Be sure to get the access card for the
Warren/Reeve Financial Accounting 10th edition textbook, or the Managerial
Accounting 9th edition textbook, depending on the course you are taking. Refer to the
instructions in the note below. The card code will give you access to the e-book for a
period of 180 days. You will have to read the text online, or print the chapters out if
you need a hard copy to refer to. (Who should do this? –Students who will take only
one of the Accounting courses while at Highland, or students wish to save some money
and believe they will be able to work with the online e-book successfully.).
Cost: $60 at the bookstore for one access card, or $49.50 online (see below).
NOTE: When you navigate to the registration page for CengageNow at you will see a "buy now" button that can be used to
purchase the access code directly from Cengage. When you click the button, you are taken to
the "I-Chapters" book order site. The order page is very confusing, and unless you know the
code card ISBN number, it is very likely that you will not get the one. Search by ISBN, using
the following ISBN numbers, and all should go well. At the time of this writing, the cards are
sold through Cengage for $59.50 each.
Card code ISBN for Elements and Financial Accounting: 0324539541
Card code ISBN for Managerial Accounting: 032464616X
HOW TO COMPLETE THE COURSE (for students in the online sections only)
1. Always begin with the Course Manual. You access the manual by going to the course site. Click on the link to your course (from the top of the
page), and then open the Online Course Manual.
Each module in the Online Course Manual may be viewed online, saved to disk, or
printed (each is composed of 10 to 20 printed pages of text) by students enrolled in a
course taught by the author.
Introduction to the Course
The modules begin with an assignments table. The assignments table lists the following:
The assigned readings from the textbook.
The relevant CengageNow® “Study Tools” learning activities that students may
access to review and reinforce their learning. These activities are composed of online
lectures, problem solutions, and videos. They are assigned, and you may be tested
over the material that is covered in them.
The optional video-taped lessons that students may view at the Highland Community
College Clarence Mitchell Library ( or at participating
district libraries. Participating district libraries are located in Lena, Stockton,
Elizabeth, Galena, East Dubuque, Hanover, Savanna, Mount Morris and Lanark.
These video tape lectures are optional resource materials that students may find
helpful, but they are not required.
A list of optional practice exercises and problems from the textbook for students to
complete, either on paper or online using CengageNow®. CengageNow® contains an
online homework tool that allows students to work the exercises and problems from
the textbook online. When you work the practice problems online and “submit” them
for scoring, your results are shown along with the correct answers. These scores are
not counted when determining your grade in the course; they are merely for practice.
A list of assigned exercises and problems from the textbook for students in the online
section of the course to complete using CengageNow®. (On-campus students will
receive their assignments from their instructors.) These problems are scored and
count toward the grade earned in the course. CengageNow® provides hints as students
complete the assigned exercises and problems online, but the correct answers are
never displayed. Students may continue to work on the problem and submit answers
as many times as they like. When doing homework problems for credit, the student
should continue working with the problem until a score of 100% is earned.
Following the table is the written lecture. Here you will find an outline of the material
presented in the textbook readings, along with supplementary information and
illustrations and, sometimes, links to audio/video presentations of the material recorded
by your instructor. You should begin by scanning this summary to grasp the general
theme of the covered material.
2. After reviewing the Module's content, you should read the assigned pages of the textbook
and then complete the assigned learning activities in CengageNow®. You may also want
to view the optional video-taped lectures at your local library. Read the text carefully, and
try to understand the material before completing the CengageNow® activities or viewing
videos. Online courses, as opposed to “on-ground” ones, offer one great advantage. After
all, living lecturers do not come equipped with a “back” button. Don't be afraid to replay
a presentation several times if you have trouble understanding something.
Introduction to the Course
About CengageNow®
CengageNow® is the most “protected” of our three course sites, and it is the
most powerful. Unfortunately, that means it is complicated and a little
challenging to set up and begin using. But don’t worry. Help is available!
When your instructor tells you that it is time to begin using Cengage in your course, you will
need to play the three video presentations below. They will save you from a lot of confusion
and frustration. (Just click the links to launch the videos.)
Registering your Access Code in Cengage
Using the Cengage Study Tools
Doing Homework Assignments in Cengage
Slides from the registration video can be opened by clicking HERE. You may want to print
them out, or display them in another window on your computer while you go through the
registration process. After you register, be sure to play the other two videos before you begin
using Cengage in your course.
Other Information
In order to use Cengage, you will need to have a registration card (see above for purchase
information). If you purchased the textbook from our bookstore, you received two of these
cards with it – one for Financial Accounting and one for Managerial Accounting. Use the
Financial Accounting code if you are taking Elements of Accounting or Financial Accounting.
Enter the Managerial code if you are taking Managerial Accounting.
After you go to the Cengage site and register, you will be asked for a “course key.” This is
another code you must enter. It puts you into our course and into our gradebook. The course
keys are listed below:
Elements of Accounting 105
Financial Accounting 213
Managerial Accounting 214
The good news? After you enter the codes once, you won’t have to again!
3. Return to the Course Manual and the module outline. This time, carefully study the
outline to review and reinforce your understanding of the topics presented. When you
believe you have a firm understanding of the material, go on to step 4.
4. Complete as many of the learning resources on CengageNow® and as many of the
module's suggested review exercises and problems as you believe are necessary in order
to master the content. If you use CengageNow® to work these problems and exercises,
you will be shown the correct answers when you submit your work for scoring. You may
Introduction to the Course
also work the practice problems on paper, and then compare you answers with the
solutions that are posted on the Moodle course site. These review problems and exercises
give you the opportunity to drill until you achieve your learning objective. Do not quit
until you know you understand the procedures that were applied in completing the
5. Complete the Homework Assignments
You will be assigned a total of 20 homework problems in Elements of Accounting and 20
in Financial Accounting. Students complete 40 problems in the Managerial Accounting
course. These problems come from the textbook, and they are to be done for course credit
using CengageNow®. Each module’s assignments are listed at the beginning of the
module, in the Assignments table. You will receive a score when you complete these
assigned problems, which will be recorded automatically in the online gradebook and
will be factored in when your final grade is determined (see Final Grades below). If you
have errors in your problem, you will be able to continue working on it, and you may resubmit it up to 20 times. There should be no reason for you to not score 100% on the
homework problems!
At the end of each chapter of the text, you will find a set of Questions followed by
Exercises and Problems. There are two sets of Problems, a set of “A” problems and a set
of “B” problems. The assigned problems that are graded for homework credit will come
from the “B” problem set. Since the “A” problems are very similar to the “B” problems,
you may find it beneficial to work the equivalent problem from the “A” set before doing
the assigned problem. For example, if problem B-5 is assigned, you will find that doing
problem A-5 before you begin B-5 will be very helpful. The assigned problems must be
done using CengageNow®. The program presents you with an online form which you use
to complete the problem, and gives you hints when you need them. You may re-do a
problem as many times as you like, so there should be no reason to score less than 100%.
Do not underestimate the importance of doing homework assignments and practicing
with the suggested review exercises. Accounting is learned through practice!
6. After completing step 5, determine whether you are ready to go on. If you are satisfied
that you have mastered the material, go to the next module, repeating these steps.
However, if there are things you do not understand, it is a mistake to continue further.
Accounting is “progressive” - each new lesson builds on the previous one.
The following applies to online students only. Two non-cumulative, closed-book examinations
are required in the Elements of Accounting and two are required in Financial Accounting. Four
exams are taken in Managerial Accounting. Examinations are taken via computer through
CengageNow, and scores are reported immediately upon completion of the exam. There are
numerous self-scoring practice exams available in the CengageNow course site to help students
prepare for the scored exam. In addition, students who are dissatisfied with their scores on the
first examination may take a second “repeat” examination over the same content. Only the
highest score earned will be recorded. The exams are multiple-choice format and are both
computational and conceptual. The exams are proctored, and they must be taken at the Highland
Community College library in Freeport, Highland West in Elizabeth, an Illinois Virtual Campus
site (see for a list of locations) or some other
Introduction to the Course
location that has been arranged by the student and approved by the instructor. This could be a
local library, another college, or at a location in another state or even outside the country.
In the ACCT 105 course, examinations follow modules 3 and 7. In the ACCT 213 course,
examinations follow modules 11 and 15. And in the ACCT 214 course, exams follow
modules 3, 6, 9 and 13. Each examination in Elements and Financial Accounting is
composed of 40 multiple choice questions. Each exam in Managerial Accounting is
composed of 30 multiple choice questions. You are given 90 minutes to each exam, but
they should only require one hour or less to complete.
The following pertains to online students only. Final grades in the online courses are based
upon homework scores and the two non-cumulative examinations as follows:
ACCT 105/213
First Examination
Second Examination
Total Examination Points
Assigned Homework Points
ACCT 214
First Examination
Second Examination
Third Examination
Fourth Examination
Total Examination Points
Assigned Homework Points
Maximum Points
Maximum Points
Final letter grades in the courses will be assigned according to the total points earned on
homework and exams in the course:
Final Grade Scale
To Grade
Introduction to the Course
Your work in the online course is self-scheduled, so there are no due dates for the
completion of homework or examinations. However, there is a final cut-off date for
completion of the course. If you are unable to finish your coursework in the same semester
you enrolled in the course, and if you have been making acceptable progress in the course,
you may request a time extension. Time extensions, if granted, cannot extend past midterm of the following semester (or the end of the summer semester, if you are enrolled in
the spring semester).
There is just one scheduled activity that students must complete in the course, a weekly
“progress report.” This brief update is due each Sunday, and it provides a way for students
to communicate with the instructor, and for the instructor to monitor the students’ progress.
The progress reports are not graded, but they are required. Failure to post three consecutive
progress reports will be viewed as evidence of non-participation and will result in the
student’s withdrawal from the course.
An audio/visual presentation is available that describes the
process of posting your progress reports. You may access this
presentation by clicking the link below:
Link to “Progress Reports” Presentation
While a time extension may be granted to online students making acceptable progress in
the course but not finished at the end of the semester, you should attempt to complete the
course during the regular semester. Try to complete at least one lesson per week. Try to do
a little every day, instead of attempting to crowd a week's work into a single day.
Accounting tutors are available to help you on campus through Highland's Learning
Resource Center (815-235-6121, extension 3446). You may schedule meetings with tutors
on an appointment basis, and there is no charge for their services.
The table below lists the Accounting courses that are available through Highland
Community College. These courses are all transferable to other colleges and universities,
though individual institutions have their own policies regarding acceptance of courses in
transfer. For more information about transferring college course credit, contact the
Highland Admissions Department at 815-235-6121 or through the following link:
These courses all provide fundamental training in bookkeeping and accounting. All, with
the exception of ACCT 211, Federal Income Tax, are available as online courses. (Note,
though, that online students may take Federal Income Tax through the Illinois Virtual
Campus network, or elsewhere, and transfer the course to Highland.) Online courses are
taken independently, using a computer and the Internet, and no campus visits are required
in order to take them. They are offered throughout the year, and students may start the
online courses at any time they wish during the year.
Introduction to the Course
Elements of Accounting
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: None
Federal Income Tax Accounting
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: None
Computer Applications
ACCT 115
2 credit hours
Prerequisite: ACCT 105
Introduction to Payroll
2 credit hours
Prerequisite: None
Introduction to QuickBooks
2 credit hours
Prerequisite: None
Advanced QuickBooks
2 credit hours
Prerequisite: ACCT 120 and 105
Financial Accounting
4 credit hours
Prerequisite: ACCT 105
Managerial Accounting
4 credit hours
Prerequisite: ACCT 213
An audio/visual presentation is available that describes these
courses and our programs in Accounting. It also addresses
employment prospects and salary levels in the field. You may
access this presentation by clicking the link below.
Link to “Accounting Careers and Programs” Presentation
The Elements of Accounting course is primarily concerned with the practical aspects of
business bookkeeping. In this course, students learn the basic accounting procedures that
are valuable in the workplace if the student is seeking an office job, and that are vital to
success if the student wishes to operate his or her own small business. They are also needed
in the Financial Accounting course and in other advanced Accounting courses that might be
taken on 4-year campuses.
The Computer Applications course introduces students to automated record-keeping
systems in small businesses. In addition to examining issues related to financial and other
records, this course provides students with a brief introduction to QuickBooks and basic
payroll functions. This course, along with Elements of Accounting, are basic skills
Accounting classes that will prepare you for success in the workplace and in advanced
Introduction to the Course
The Introduction to QuickBooks course introduces students to automated accounting using
the QuickBooks general ledger accounting system. QuickBooks is a powerful accounting
tool, but it is also designed to allow non-accountants to record many transactions by
themselves (thus reducing their accounting expenses). This introductory course is aimed at
the non-accountant, and does not require previous coursework in accounting. The
Advanced QuickBooks course, though, presents more advanced features of the program and
does require previous coursework in accounting or bookkeeping.
Payroll Administration presents an overview of the state and federal laws that affect
employment practices, withholdings, and to the filing of payroll tax forms and the payment
of payroll taxes. Federal Income Tax Accounting is another occupational course that
provides future bookkeepers and office managers with basic employment skills. It is also of
interest to individuals who want to learn about preparing their own taxes.
Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting are the two courses that students must
take in order to transfer as Juniors into Accounting and Business programs on 4-year
campuses. Occupational students who complete the Associate of Applied Science degree in
Accounting, or the Certificate in Accounting, are also required to take these courses.
Financial Accounting presents advanced topics that "close the gap" between small-business
bookkeeping and financial accounting and reporting for large corporations.
Managerial Accounting is concerned with the use of accounting information in
management decision-making, and to cost accounting procedures used by manufacturers.
The course is appropriate for administrators in all types of organizations, persons working
in manufacturing settings, or those planning to transfer to senior institutions.
The following Accounting certificates and degrees are available through Highland
Community College:
Accounts Clerk Certificate (18 credit hours, 8 courses)
QuickBooks Professional Certificate (all courses available online, 20 credit hours, 10 courses)
Accounting Certificate (27 credit hours, 11 courses)
Associate of Applied Science (64 credit hours, 24 courses)
The Value of a Certificate
A certificate is similar to a degree, in that the student receives a document that looks like a
diploma and it certifies the student’s learning. Students often wonder whether completing
one or more of the certificate programs in accounting is “worth it.”
There are four factors that you should consider if you are contemplating the completion of one or
more of the accounting certificates:
Introduction to the Course
The courses you take that “count” in the certificate program also “count” toward
the next certificate or degree you complete. In other words, you are able to pick
up the certificates as you work your way through the Associate Degree program,
without having to take any additional courses at all.
Each certificate that you complete adds an additional line to your resume and
enhances your professional image. Even if you complete the Associate of Applied
Science Degree, your resume will still be more impressive if it lists one or more
certificates earned at HCC along with your degree.
Since they can be completed quickly, you will be adding lines to your resume that
can help you land a job in the field as you work toward the next certificate or
toward your Associate’s Degree. Experience in an office can really enhance your
learning, and that experience also adds another valuable line to your resume.
Some students may find that one or more of our certificates are “enough” to reach
their employment goals, and this can save them the time and money it would take
to complete the associate’s degree. (It is always advisable, though, to complete as
much education as you can, since more education usually results in higher
Completing a Certificate or Degree Online
It is completely possible for students to complete certificate and degree programs at
Highland by taking only online courses. However, except for the Accounts Clerk and
QuickBooks Professional certificate programs in Accounting, there are a few required
courses in the other accounting programs that are not available online through Highland.
Online students should understand though, that by completing online courses offered
through other institutions and transferring them to Highland, it is possible to complete
many of Highland’s certificates and degrees. A listing of online courses that might be
acceptable as substitutes may be viewed by visiting the Illinois Virtual Campus website at Before registering for any of these classes, it is imperative that
students contact Highland advisors to ensure that the online course taken at the other
institution will be accepted in transfer as equivalent to the course required in the Highland
Accounting ranks among the top professional areas in terms of future job growth. While
students wishing to become CPA’s or CMA’s must transfer to senior institutions and
complete bachelors’ degrees in order to do so, bookkeepers are able to find rewarding jobs
after completing a two-year degree, a certificate program, or just a few courses in accounting.
Current salary levels for entry-level jobs in accounting and bookkeeping can be found in
various publications or on the internet.
One good source of career information is the United States Department of Labor’s
(see,, and Students in
our programs should also consider becoming professionally certified in bookkeeping,
QuickBooks, or in payroll. Two professional organizations, the American Institute of
Professional Bookkeepers ( and the American Payroll Association
Introduction to the Course
(, offer certification programs for bookkeepers that do not
require completion of a college degree. Intuit, the publisher of QuickBooks, also certifies
users of the QuickBooks program. Students who take our introductory accounting, payroll
and QuickBooks courses will be prepared for the certification exams administered by these
organizations, and they are encouraged to take advantage of them. A job applicant whose
resume lists multiple certificates and/or degrees in Accounting, along with professional
certifications, will surely be noticed!
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