Harper College

Professional Accounting-CPA Preparation Certificate

Prepare yourself for the Certified Public Accountant exam

Program Facts manufacturing construction icon


  • Credit hours: 30
  • Stackable to degree: No
  • Potential job outcomes: Accountant, auditor

Prepare to qualify for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam by completing this 30-credit-hour certificate program, designed exclusively for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree and wish to transition to a career in the field of accounting. Complete the program on campus or online, giving you additional flexibility.

Take classes in financial and managerial accounting, individual and business tax accounting, auditing, financial and tax research, cost accounting, fraud examination and more. Courses are taught by knowledgeable faculty who are accounting experts. Continue your learning outside the classroom by participating in Harper College’s active Accounting Club.

Note that all Harper CPA Preparation Certificate courses meet the Illinois Board of Examiners CPA exam requirements.

Certificate program requirements

This 24 credit-hour certificate is designed to provide individuals with the necessary accounting courses to qualify for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. The program is intended for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree and wish to transition to a career in the field of accounting.

To qualify for the CPA exam, a candidate must have a bachelor’s degree and a total of 120 semester hours of credit, including 12 hours in business and a minimum of 24 hours in accounting. The 12 hours in business must include two hours in business communication (ENG 130, Business Writing) and three hours in business ethics (ACC 257, Ethics and Tax Practices, or PHI 150, Business Ethics). Additionally, it is strongly recommended that the 12 business hours include at least three hours in business law. At Harper, ACC 211 (Business Law I) and ACC 213 (Legal Environment of Business) are available. The Illinois Board of Examiners provides more detailed information on educational requirements at www.ilboe.org. Harper will accept up to 12 credit hours in equivalent courses from regionally accredited institutions.

Requirements for the Illinois CPA Certificate:

To sit for the CPA examination in Illinois effective January 1, 2023, the candidate must have a total of 120 hours of acceptable college-level education including at least a bachelor's degree. Twenty-four semester hours must be in accounting. An additional 12 hours in business courses are required, including two hours in business communications and three hours in business ethics. (Business Law is also included in the business requirements).

At Harper College, acceptable accounting courses include: ACC 101, ACC 102, ACC 201, ACC 202, ACC 203, ACC 211, ACC 251, ACC 253, ACC 254, ACC 257, ACC 260, ACC 261, ACC 280, ACC 281, ACC 282, ACC 283.

A wide variety of business courses are offered including ACC 211, ACC 213, CIS 101, ECO 210, ECO 211, ECO 212, FIN 215, MGT 111, MGT 218, MGT 270, MTH 124, MTH 225, PHI 150.

[Requirements for the Illinois CMA Certificate:

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a national program with no state affiliates. The candidate must have senior standing at an accredited college or university, or must hold a baccalaureate degree, in any field, or have passed the U.S. CPA examination. Anyone who has passed the U.S. CPA examination is given credit for part two of the CMA examination.]

F = Fall only course S = Spring only course U = Summer only course

Required:

Number Course Title Credits
ACC 201 3

Description:  Presents accounting and reporting process, accounting theory, inventories, tangibles and intangible fixed assets. This is a problem solving course that continues accounting principles begun in ACC 101 and ACC 102.

Prerequisite: ACC 102 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 202   S   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Presents course materials in the following sequences: Accounting for corporations, including capital stock, retained earnings, bonds payable, income statement and balance sheet analysis, pensions and leases, fund flow analysis, consignments, and installment sales.

Prerequisite: ACC 201 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 203 3

Description:  Includes an examination of the nature of costs and the use of relevant accounting data for purposes of improved decision making. Topics covered are product costs (process, job order, and standard), overhead variance, by-product costs, joint-product cost, and direct and variable costing.

Prerequisite: ACC 102 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 250 3

Description:  Offers a practical study of current Federal and Illinois income taxes as they relate to individual income tax procedures. Topics studied include income inclusions and exclusions, capital gains and losses, business and personal deductions, and accounting methods.

Prerequisite: ACC 101 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 251 3

Description:  Presents the basic concepts of corporation income taxation, partnerships, estates and trusts. The course includes a study of the taxation on the transfer of wealth, both during lifetime and testamentary.

Prerequisite: ACC 101 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 254   F   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the fall term.

Examines the auditory theory and procedures involving the topical areas of audit reporting, auditing standards and evidence, statistical sampling and electronic data processing. The legal and ethical dimensions of auditing will also be studied with emphasis on how government affects financial reporting through court decisions, federal securities laws, the S.E.C. and the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act.

Prerequisite: ACC 102 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

Electives: Select 6 credit hours:

Number Course Title Credits
ACC 253   U   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the summer term.

Studies municipal accounts, business combinations and the preparation of consolidated financial statements. Topics will include branches, consolidated statements, elimination of inter-company transactions, general funds and non-profit service organizations.

Prerequisite: ACC 202 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 257   S   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Analyzes income tax issues that relate to the requirements of individuals who have the legal right to prepare tax returns on behalf of individuals, business entities, and estates and trusts. These requirements include ethical conduct, practice privileges, and assessment and appeal procedures that must be followed in representing clients before the IRS and other tax agencies.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 260   U   1

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the summer term.

Presents basic techniques of conducting financial accounting research using professional accounting databases. Students will develop skills necessary to research and interpret financial accounting standard guidelines using accounting related cases. Students will communicate their research results in a professional business format. Recommended prerequisite: ACC 201 or equivalent experience.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 261   U   1

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the summer term.

Presents basic techniques of conducting federal tax research using authoritative databases. Students will develop skills necessary to research and interpret tax case guidelines using tax cases. Students will communicate their research results in a professional business format. Recommended prerequisite: ACC 250 or equivalent experience.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 265   U   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the summer term.

Presents the fundamentals of fraud examination and forensic accounting for the workplace. Students will discover how and why fraud occurs in organizations, develop skills to detect fraud, and be able to identify and classify various types of fraud. This course will emphasize the importance of corporate social responsibility in an organization and the need for reporting systems that focus on integrity and accountability.

Prerequisite: ACC 102 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 280   F   1

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the fall term.

Provides the student with the tools necessary to understand, review, and practice for the Business Environmental Concepts (BEC) section of the CPA Exam. A general understanding of the topics listed in outline would constitute a minimum requirement.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 281   F   1

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the fall term.

Provides the student with the tools necessary to understand, review, and practice for the Audit and Attestation (AUD) section of the CPA Exam. A general understanding of the topics listed in outline would constitute a minimum requirement.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 282   S   1

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Provides the student with the tools necessary to understand, review, and practice for the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section of the CPA Exam. A general understanding of the topics listed in outline would constitute a minimum requirement.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ACC 283   S   1

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Provides the student with the tools necessary to understand, review, and practice for the Regulation (REG) section of the CPA Exam. A general understanding of the topics listed in outline would constitute a minimum requirement.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

Related programs

Students interested in accounting may also be interested in:

Resources

Next steps

For more information about studying accounting at Harper, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a= =request information form. You can also apply online.

Last Updated: 12/14/23