Curriculum Guideline

Not-For-Profit and Public Sector Accounting

Effective Date:
Course Code
ACCT 4280
Not-For-Profit and Public Sector Accounting
Commerce & Business Administration
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

Lecture: 4 hours per week


Lecture/Seminar: 2 hours lecture & 2 hours seminar


Hybrid: 4 hours in-class biweekly - 2 hours lecture & 2 hours seminar

            4 hours on-line biweekly

Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

Methods of instruction wil include some or all of the following:

  • Lectures 
  • Seminars
  • Online instruction
Course Description
An accounting procedures, policy and process course in the not-for-profit and public sectors. Part 1 of the course will emphasize the application of accounting concepts used in the not-for-profit sector. Part 2 of the course focuses on how public sector entities of various kind, best use resources entrusted to them in creating value in the public sector. The purpose of the course is to provide students with skills needed to function in an environment of medium complexity. The content will include the application of real world situations using various accounting and/or spreadsheet and/or data analytical applications. NOTE THAT STUDENTS WHO HAVE TAKEN ACCT 4080 and ACCT 4180 CANNOT TAKE ACCT 4280 FOR FURTHER CREDIT.
Course Content

Not-For-Profit Sector

1. Governance and oversight

2. Financial statement concepts

3. Fund accounting

4. Deferral method, restricted funds and endowments

5. Registered charities

Public/Government Sector

1. Governance and decision-making process

2. The planning and budgeting process

3. Operating and capital budgets

4. Public sector accounting and reporting

5. Decision support

6. Auditing



Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, the successful student will be able to:

Not-For-Profit Sector

1. Explain the process of setting up a not-for-profit organization and obtaining appropriate governmental approval.

2. Describe the basics of charitable and not-for-profit organizations.

3. Analyze the major financial reporting issues in not-for-profit organizations.

4. Explain and apply the basics of accounting for and reporting of contributions, restricted funds, deferred contributions and endowments.

5. Analyze and compare the process of measuring value and performance in not-for-profit organizations to for-profit organizations.

Public/Government Sector

1. Explain governance and decision making, including stakeholders at all levels.

2. Explain the planning and budgeting process and their components such as operating and capital budgets.

3. Produce appropriate financial statements, notes and schedules applicable to a governmental body including consolidations.

4. Analyze performance results by using both financial and non-financial performance measurement techniques appropriate for various public sector organizations.

5. Describe the concept of public sector auditing and accountability to stakeholders.

6. Apply internal controls and external audit techniques to public sector organizations with a concern for value for money.

7. Use the CPA Canada Handbook and governmental regulations applicable to the appropriate sector.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will take place in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy.

Quizzes and/or Assignment(s) and/or Project(s) 30%

Midterm examination                                        35%

Final examination                                             35%

   Total                                                           100%

Students must write both the midterm and the final examinations in order to pass the course.

To pass this course, students must obtain a minimum of 50% on invigilated assessments, with 50% calculated on a weighted average basis. Invigilated assessments include, in-class quizzes, midterm examination and final examination. 

Students may conduct research as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans, which can require obtaining Informed Consent from participants and getting the approval of the Douglas College Research Ethics Board prior to conducting the research.

Textbook Materials

Access to the CPA Handbook via the library

Textbook(s) and/or materials as approved by the department.


ACCT 2320 with a grade of "C" or better and (ACCT 3310 or ACCT 3410 with a grade of "C" or better)


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses