Introduction to Accounting

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Introduction to Accounting

  • Host University

    Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

  • Location

    Madrid, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Accounting, Business Administration, Finance

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    In this course, students will learn the accounting process and the use of accounting information in business decisions. It will provide students with a thorough understanding of the theoretical foundations underlying financial reporting, revenue recognition, and the matching of expenses; financial statement presentation; and accounting for assets. The course's primary objective is to give students the tools necessary to understand and execute appropriate accounting procedures. Students must understand both how transactions lead to financial statements and how to determine and evaluate the outcomes of that process from the perspectives of managers, shareholders, auditors, and others.

    After finishing this course students should be able to:

    1. Use and understand the accounting vocabulary
    2. Apply accounting concepts and principles
    3. Use the accounting equation
    4. Analyse business transactions
    5. Complete the accounting process
    6. Prepare the financial statements

    Skills development:
    -Ability to work individually
    -Group work skills
    -Critical thinking

    Financial accounting plays a crucial role in the allocation of resources in the economic system while the
    information that it facilitates is used by a wide number of different agents in their respective decisionmaking processes. The objective of the course is to enhance students¿ ability to capture economic transactions using the accounting system and to elaborate compact information about the firms value and the wealth created by the firm in a given time period. In addition to preparing this information, students should be able to understand and interpret this information as it is provided in the firms statements (i.e. balance sheet, income statement and the notes).
    The first part of the course introduces students to the financial accounting environment, financial
    statements, the accounting cycle, and the theoretical framework of accounting measurement. The
    second part of the course covers the elements of financial statements, emphasizing the process to
    obtain the accounting income.

    Chapter 1: Introduction to accounting
    - 1.1 Economic activity and information needs
    - 1.2 Accounting: formal concept
    - 1.3 Divisions of accounting
    - 1.4 The importance of accounting information
    - 1.5 The users of accounting information
    - 1.6 How does accounting work?
    - 1.7 The characteristics of accounting information
    - 1.8 Accounting standardisation (regulation)

    Chapter 2: Assets, Liabilities and Equity. The accounting equation
    - 2.1 The value of the company
    - 2.2 Economic structure and financing structure. Assets, Liabilities and equity. The accounting
    - 2.3 Categories of assets, liabilities and owners ¿ equity
    - 2.4 Business transactions and the accounting equation
    - 2.5 The balance sheet
    - 2.6 The income statement (profit and loss account)

    Chapter 3: The accounting method
    - 3.1 Accounting for business transactions
    - 3.2 The account: the double- entry system
    - 3.3 The accounting books: the Journal and the Ledger. The Trial Balance
    - 3.4 Recording transactions in the Journal
    - 3.5 Charts of Accounts
    - 3.6 Accounting¿s foundation: Principles and Concepts

    Chapter 4: The accounting process
    - 4.1 The phases of the accounting process
    - 4.2 Opening phase
    - 4.3 Transactions phase
    - 4.4 Closing phase
    - 4.4.1 Determining accounting income
    - 4.4.2 Closing the books
    - 4.4.4 Preparing the Financial Statements

    Chapter 5: Valuation and reporting transactions
    - 5.1 Measuring transactions (assets and inventories)
    - 5.2 Recording purchases and sales of inventories (stocks)
    - 5.2.1. The Perpetual system
    - 5.2.2. The Periodic system
    - 5.3 Financing activities
    - 5.3.1. Internal finance sources
    - 5.3.2. External finance sources

    Chapter 6: Calculation of accounting earnings and producing the financial statements.
    - 6.1 Expenses and revenues.
    - 6.2. Accrued expenses and revenues.
    - 6.3. Adjusting changes in inventories with the periodic system
    - 6.4. Adjusting the value of the assets
    - 6.5. The process to obtain accounting income
    - 6.6. Preparation of the financial statements

    This course is appropriate for first year students where the lecturer's main role is to act as a guide and a tutor of the learning process. With this system, the student is encouraged to have a more dynamic and participative attitude in class. The student will learn to organize and schedule his/her own timetable.
    Team work is also an important part of this course. The overall content of the course comprises:

    1. Material to follow the lectures: basic reference book and slides
    2. Set of exercises related to each chapter, which is to be solved at the practical classes. This
    material will be provided to the student at the beginning of the course.
    3. Tasks, which are part of the continuous assessment process. These have to be solved in class by
    the students.
    4. An end-of-chapter short quiz which will allow students to test their understanding of the
    material covered in the chapter.
    A course timetable is also provided to the student which includes a detailed description of the dates for submission of tasks and the contents to be covered in each theory lecture and each practical class.
    The course consists of a one-hour and a half theory lecture, and a one-hour and a half practical class per week.

    The purpose of the lectures is twofold:

    Primarily to enable the students to understand and apply fundamental accounting concepts, accounting methods, and accounting conventions. I.e. the focus is on possible ways of recognizing and measuring events presented in the balance sheet and the income statement.
    Secondly to enable the students to understand the required methods of recognizing and measuring events presented in the balance sheet and income statement according to the Accounting Standards.

    The purpose of the practical classes is:
    To train the students to solve financial accounting problems that, in certain cases contain more than one of the subjects taught in the theory lectures. In the practical classes the students apply the financial accounting techniques from the lectures to specific problems. Specific exercises that show how the accounting process works and how the financial statements are produced will be addressed. This will enable students to test their understanding of the material covered at the lectures.

    Assessment will be based on coursework and final examinations. The coursework consists of several group tasks and one mid-term exam. Completion of tasks and class participation will account for 25% of the overall grade while the mid-term exam is worth 15% of the final grade. The tasks will be solved in groups by students in class (see course timetable). The final exam will account for the remaining 60% of the overall grade.

    To pass the course students should obtain a minimum of 4 marks (over 10) in the final exam.

    % end-of-term-examination: 60
    % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals?): 40

Course Disclaimer

Please note that there are no beginning level Spanish courses offered in this program.

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies.

Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.