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Bookkeeping Foundations

Course CodeBBS103
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Train as a bookkeeper - Study at home for a new career in bookkeeping.

Good bookkeepers are always in demand.  If you are looking for a new career, as an additional string to your professional bow or to improve your knowledge of bookkeeping generally, this is the course for you.

This course has continually being added to and updated  in response to feedback from tutors, students and not the least a changing world.  It is today a very intensive and universally valuable training for anyone wanting to be a serious bookkeeper.


Become a Bookkeeper!

  • Improve your job opportunities or prospects for advancement.
  • Start a small business, or seek work with an established business.

Bookkeeping can provide you with a great, flexible and secure career. There are always jobs advertised for bookkeepers in every city. Bookkeeping may provide a pathway to extend your career into many other aspects of accounting, finance and business administration. The choice is yours.

This is a detailed, solid foundation course for anyone working or wanting to work in bookkeeping, including:

  • Business owners and Managers
  • Administration or accounts employees
  • Anyone seeking a career as a bookkeeper.

Lesson Structure

There are 13 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction - Nature, Scope and Function of Bookkeeping
  2. The Balance Sheet
  3. Analysing and Designing Accounting Systems
  4. Double Entry Bookkeeping
  5. Cash Receipts and Cash Payment Journals
  6. Credit Sales, Fees and Purchases Journal
  7. The General Journal
  8. The Closing of the General Ledger
  9. Profit and Loss Statements
  10. Depreciation on Non-current Assets
  11. Profit Determination and Balance Day Adjustments
  12. Cash Control: Bank Reconciliation and Petty Cash
  13. Cash Control: Budgeting

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Outline the uses of financial information; accounting standards and conventions and the basic functions of bookkeeping for service businesses.
  • Describe the use of balance sheets and their function.
  • Outline setting procedures for a bookkeeping system; steps in its use; the flow of information and use of other business documents.
  • Formulate procedures for the setting up of a double entry bookkeeping system
  • Outline the functions and specific uses of ‘special journals’.
  • Outline methods used to set up credit sales journal and credit purchases journals
  • Outline the setting up procedures for a general journal and its use
  • Describe methods used to close ledger accounts at the end of an accounting period.
  • Describe profit and loss statement preparation methods.
  • Outline the use of appropriate methods for the depreciation of non-current assets.
  • Outline the fundamentals of cash and accrual accounting; the ‘matching process’; the necessity for balance day adjustments.
  • Describe the cash cycle; the importance of cash control and its various methods including petty cash systems and bank reconciliation processes.
  • Outline the role of budgets and their importance to business.

What You Will Do

  • Describe the activities of service businesses.
  • What is the difference between an accounting convention and a doctrine
  • How is the accounting period convention important to making business decisions?
  • Why might the accounting entity convention be important in business?
  • What is the Doctrine of ‘Materiality’?
  • Create a list of differences and a list of similarities between the goods and services tax system you investigated and Australia’s system.
  • Define the term ‘Balance Sheet Equation’ .Describe what a balance sheet is made up of. Know where items appear on the balance sheet. Describe 3 balance sheet formats.
  • Describe the meaning and importance of separating current assets from fixed current assets and current liabilities from long-term/deferred liabilities on the balance sheet.
  • Prepare a balance sheet.
  • Show the equations used for determining a business’s working capital.
  • Explain what the difference between a ledger and a journal.
  • Describe source documents.
  • Describe a chart of accounts and its use; draw up a chart of accounts.
  • List the journals used in an accounting system.
  • Describe a Statement of Account and outline its use.
  • Define double entry accounting.
  • Describe a ledger account and the difference between balancing a ledger account and footing a ledger account.
  • Define a trial balance; prepare a trial balance.
  • Compare three-column ledger accounts with T-form ledger accounts; enter transactions into a ledger account; balance a ledger account.
  • Describe the use of a drawing account, and how drawings are classified in the balance sheet
  • Describe the functions of an analysis chart include an example using transactions to show A, L and OE.
  • Prepare a T form Balance Sheet.
  • Describe a Cash Receipts and Cash Payments journal their uses and their source documents.
  • Differentiate between a general ledger and a special journal.
  • Outline the benefits of a multi-column cash journal and a simple format cash journal.
  • Design a cash payments journal and a cash receipts journal. Describe the functions of posting references and sundry columns. Post items to a cash receipts and cash payments journal.
  • Explain the difference between a ‘discount allowed’ and a ‘discount received’
  • Describe the difference between a credit sale and a credit purchase and state the source documents. Prepare a credit fees/sales and a credit purchases journal and do a range of appropriate postings.
  • Describe the role and usefulness of a Subsidiary Ledger.
  • Outline the role and usefulness of a ‘Debtors Control’ account.
  • Show the double entry of goods bought on credit.
  • Describe a Control Account
  • Describe the aim of a general journal and its key sections. Change a general journal to accommodate subsidiary ledger. Correct errors in a general ledger account.
  • Explain the term bad debt. Use the general journal to record a bad debt. Understand ‘cents in the dollar’ offer in relation to a bad debt. Write off bad debts. Prepare a general journal. Record entries to a general journal. Know how the general journal is used in preparing closing entries. Set up a general journal. Close off a general journal.
  • Explain the term and use of ‘Contra Entries’
  • Record non-current assets in a purchases journal
  • Know the difference between closing and balancing a general ledger account.
  • Identify which ledgers are closed off at the end of the accounting period.
  • Describe a profit and loss account and how to work out a net profit or a net loss. Know which account does the net profit or loss is transferred to.
  • Describe a profit and loss statement and how it relates to the balance sheet.
  • Know why functional classification and segmentation used on profit and loss reports
  • Describe extraordinary expenses and how they are listed on the profit and loss statement and why.
  • Describe ‘Materials on Hand’ calculate materials on hand. State how they are reported on the profit and loss statement. Prepare a profit and loss statement.
  • Describe the difference between cash accounting and accrual accounting.
  • Describe Balance Day Adjustments and their importance to bookkeeping.
  • Describe pre-paid expenses and outline the difference between the asset and expense approaches to the recording of prepaid expenses.
  • Describe the importance of reversing entries and when they are done.
  • Know a range of common balance day adjustments.
  • Prepare a Trail Balance for a business that carries stock and has balance day adjustments. Create general journal for adjusting entries; Post the entries to the relevant general ledger accounts. Close off the accounts to profit and loss. Prepare a new trial balance; Prepare the profit and loss statement; Prepare the balance sheet.
  • Enter reversing entries for the new accounting period.
  • Outline the usefulness of a 10 column worksheet.
  • Make entries into a cash book and present a reconciliation statement.
  • Draw up and use a petty cash book.
  • Describe bank reconciliation statements and their use.
  • Describe methods of cash control; describe liquidity and its link to cash flow.
  • Describe accounts receivable turnover ratio; operating cash flows ratio; Inventory turnover ratio.
  • Outline the importance of budgets to a business; describe a range of budgets.
  • Describe the term ‘safety margin’.
  • Describe the term ‘cash budget’ and outline how debtors and creditors are included.
  • Describe a range of variances in a budget.
  • Describe the importance of budget reviews.

Learning to Control Finance Starts with Good Bookkeeping

This course will teach you how to remain aware of your financial position, and by doing that, you maintain financial viability.
Knowing your finances enables you not only to know whether you are profitable, but also - how profitable you are, and in what way you are (or are not) profitable.
Profitability and making a profit are two different things. As discussed earlier - to determine if a business made a profit you take expenses away from revenue. Profitability however is a measure of how efficient a business is at generating revenue. It measures performance i.e. the way a business uses its resources to make a profit. There are several mathematical ratios used to measure profitability.

These ratios are usually divided into two types:

  1. Margin rations.
  2. Return ratios.

Margin ratios demonstrate a business’s ability to produce net profits from sales.
Examples of margin ratios:

  • Gross profit margin
  • Net profit margin
  • Cash flow margin

Return rations are a measure of how able a business in generating wealth (returns) for the owner or shareholders.
Examples of return ratios:

  • Return on assets
  • Return on equity
  • Cash return on assets

Without Profit Business is not Sustainable

At the end of any accounting period (commonly each tax year), a business should take stock of their position and determine whether the business is profitable or not.

What you learn in this course will allow you to do that.

Once the trial balance has been completed, the profit report and the balance sheet can be prepared. The trial balance prepared before closing the ledger shows the balance of every general ledger account – assets, liabilities, proprietorship, revenues and expenses.

The profit and loss report uses the information gathered in the profit and loss account to present information in a succinct and easily understood manner. It readily shows the reader (who may not necessarily be expert in accounting or bookkeeping) how a business is performing.

The profit report is prepared using the balances of the revenue and expense accounts which are transferred to the profit and loss account.  The profit or loss can then be calculated in the general ledger through the general journal. The profit and loss account is then closed in readiness for the new accounting period.  The new accounting period needs to start with a zero balance in order to accurately reflect the profit and loss from the new period only (revenue and expenses from a previous period are not relevant to a new period). This then is the last step undertaken in the double entry bookkeeping process.

The balance sheet is prepared using the balances of the assets, liabilities and proprietorship accounts and profit (or loss) from the profit report.  As all these figures, except for the profit, are found in the trial balance, the reports can be prepared from the trial balance.

The Profit And Loss Statement

The Profit and Loss statement is also called a Statement of Financial Performance. Profit occurs when income over a given period is greater than expenses. Loss will occur if expenses are greater than income.  Income can be regarded as any proceeds from the sale of goods or services offered by the business. Other forms of income can include, interest paid on bank accounts, interest derived through money investment in stocks (as dividends), donations, etc.

Expenses are all payments made in conjunction with the production of the income. Such things may include labour, rates, rent, power, licenses, registrations, raw material costs, advertising, etc.

The Balance Sheet and how it relates to the Profit and Loss Statement

The accounting system is based on five basic account types:

  1. Assets
  2. Liabilities
  3. Equity
  4. Income
  5. Expenses

The first three above are the balance sheet accounts (they do not appear on profit and loss statements) the last two, income and expense account are profit and loss accounts. The balance between the income and expenses (the net profit) is the figure transferred from the profit and loss account to the balance sheet as owner’s equity, at the end of the accounting period.

Every time income is received, the owner’s equity is increased.  Every expense decreases owner’s equity. If a profit is achieved over a given period, the owner’s equity is increased (in other words the owner has made a profit). This occurs through the transfer of net profit figure to the owner’s equity section of the balance sheet.

A new equation could then be suggested:

Assets = liabilities + original owner’s equity + profit (– loss)

Or this could be described as:

Assets = liabilities + original owner’s equity + (income - expense)

In order for a profit and loss statement to be meaningful to the reader, the period for which the profit or loss is calculated must be clearly shown on the statement. If a business makes a profit for example of £10,000, the reader may surmise that this is not a good return on investment - if they think that the profit was for a full year. However if this profit related to a single accounting period of say a month - then the reader would gain a quite different perspective of the business’s performance. So a profit and loss statement must be clear and easily read and understood.

What do our students think of this course?

"It is [a valuable learning experience], it is challenging and in turn rewarding. I am getting an extensive knowledge of the field and am learning how to apply concepts in an easy way."
Brei Huggins - Bookkeeping student.

"I was very satisfied with the service I received from ACS when I did my Bookkeeping Course. I emailed my assignments using my login at the ACS site and received them back, marked within a week. The comments of the tutor were comprehensive and helpful. The administrative staff also were very quick to reply to any of my emailed questions."
Barbara Kale - Bookkeeping student.


Start today and train as a bookkeeper! Remember, good bookkeepers are always in demand.

If you have any questions for our tutors, they are more than happy to help.

Click here to contact a Bookkeeping Tutor.

Meet some of our academics

Sarah RedmanB.Bus (Marketing), Cert Bus.Admin Over 15 years industry experience covering marketing, PR, administration, event management and training, both in private enterprise and government; in Australia and the UK. Sarah has traveled extensively and enjoys cooking and outdoor pursuits.
David CrothersChartered Accountant with 20 years experience in corporate and financial roles. David has a FCA, GAICD, B.Sc.Econ (Hons), Cert IV TAA. Extensive international experience in business and finance.
Sonia Andrews15 years experience in business, bookkeping and accounting.
Denise Hodges Promotions Manager for ABC retail, Fitness Programmer/Instructor, Small Business Owner, Marketing Coordinator (Laserpoint). Over 20 years varied experienced in business and marketing. More recently Denise studied naturopathy to share her passion for health and wellness. Denise has an Adv.Dip.Bus., Dip. Clothing Design, Adv.Dip.Naturopathy (completing).

Check out our eBooks

Business OperationsExplore how to improve the management and profitability of an existing business. Businesses do not run themselves - goals need to be set and decisions need to be made in order to achieve business goals. This book talks you through all of the different aspects involved in running a business from finance and forecasting to staffing changes and legal issues. Six chapters cover the daily challenges of running a business, people, the law, finance, product management, and risk management. 73 pages
Farm ManagementThis ebook covers tips to manage your own farm, or work for someone else. It also covers the farm site, production systems, managing livestock, pasture, crops, water, equipment, farm structures, finance, marketing, staff management, farm planning and more. 15 chapters, 129 pages
Saving a BusinessIf your business is in trouble or under performing: you must read this!
ManagementManagement is the process of planning, organising, leading, and controlling an organisation’s human and other resources to achieve business goals. More importantly though, effective management needs to be a process of human interaction and compassion. Most bad managers don’t know they are bad. They may well admit that they are a bit erratic, or they are sometimes late to appointments, but it is rare that they will recognise that they are ineffective as managers. Never here. This book has something to offer even the best of managers.