Basics of Accounting

Basics of Accounting


Welcome to LawShelf’s video-course in the basics of financial accounting. This course introduces the viewer to the most important principles in accounting. This course is also designed for corporate or legal professionals to be able to better work with corporate accounting departments. While this course is complicated and requires some understanding of mathematical principles, it is an introductory level course in that no prior background or experience in accounting is required.


This course starts with explanations of the basic financial accounting documents: the balance sheet, the income statement and other financial statements. We’ll go over basic bookkeeping rules and where various information is entered and kept.


Modules two through four cover the accounting process. We’ll discuss the concepts of recognition and matching, accrual and deferral of revenue and what constitutes current assets. We’ll also discuss inventory and the “LIFO,” “FIFO” and just-in-time methods to track inventory. We’ll also look at the concept of depreciation, mainly relevant for income and capital gains taxation, and the various depreciation methods and rules. We’ll also look at how to account for intangible assets, securities, debt instruments, leases and capital accounts.


In module five, we’ll turn to the principles of accounting. We’ll discuss the “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles” and how they are formed and work. We’ll also discuss auditing and the principles that govern that pursuit. We’ll also look at responsibility for financial statements, gray areas and some sample cases where questions of liability for false or misleading financial statements went to the courts.


In our last module, we’ll focus on the quantitative tools that are used in valuations. We’ll look at many different types of ratio analyses and their rules and uses. We’ll look at myriads of ways to measure profitability and performance. Then, we’ll discuss the time value of money and its impact on accounting. Finally, we’ll wind up the course by discussing different ways to value a company.


At the end of this course, you will know the basics of accounting methods, where they come from, how they are put into effect and why they are important.


Best of luck and we welcome your feedback.

What is a video-course?

A LawShelf video-course is an in-depth series of presentations on a discreet legal topic. LawShelf video-courses focus on practical legal information and applications and are each designed to familiarize the viewer with a legal topic quickly and efficiently.

Who should take a video-course?

Our video courses are designed for professionals such as attorneys, paralegals, corporate officers and financial professionals, as well as laypeople looking to deepen their knowledge of particular areas of law. The courses allow you to acquire the specific knowledge and skills that you need without the expense and time commitment of going “back to school” for a degree. 

How do I learn?

Video courses are divided into 5 or 6 modules.  Each module contains a video lesson (usually about 15 minutes long) and a series of self-test questions that you can use to practice and make sure that you understand the material.

How do I complete a video-course?

To complete a video-course, you must pass a 10-question multiple-choice examination by scoring 70% or higher.  The questions on the exam are randomly selected from the self-test question sets for the various modules. You can retake an exam as many times as you need to, though you will not get the same questions each time since the questions are drawn from an exam bank.

How long will it take me to complete a video-course?

Between watching the modules, doing the self-test practice questions, reviewing the material and taking the final exam, we estimate that completing a video-course requires a time investment of 4-5 hours.  The courses are designed to get straight to the point. We’re cognizant that your time is valuable, and we condense the information you need to know to comprehensively cover a subject into as little time as practical.

Is there limit to how many video-courses I can take or complete?

No. A LawShelf subscription enables you to access any and all LawShelf content, including all video-courses. You can take courses as quickly or slowly as your time allows.

Do I receive any recognition for completing a video-course?

Once you complete the course by passing the final exam, you will be awarded a digital badge to display as evidence of your training and accomplishment.

How will a digital badge help me? 

Modern educational trends are moving away from traditional classroom-based course completion models and towards skills-based education. Employers today care more about skills than ever before. LawShelf digital badges conform to the Open Badge standard and are verifiable records of your skills that can easily be shared online.

How long do I retain access to the course materials?

You retain access the modules and take the final exam as long as you are a subscriber to LawShelf.

Accounting Basics - Module 1 of 6

The Accounting Process, Part One - Module 2 of 6

The Accounting Process, Part Two - Module 3 of 6

The Accounting Process, Part Three - Module 4 of 6

The Preparation of Financial Statements - Module 5 of 6

Quantitative Tools in Accounting - Module 6 of 6

Final Exam only needs to be taken by those seeking to earn the Digital Badge credentials for this course.