You use a lot of basic math, fractions, ratios, averages, some statistics, and a little bit of algebra. Underneath it all is math, but on the surface you will be working with spreadsheets, all the time. This type of software will become your new best friend, but at times it will also be your enemy. All students of accounting programs understand the joy that comes with creating a perfect spreadsheet, one that actually works, with no errors, with totals that actually make sense.
Creating such a perfect spreadsheet will make your day. And then there are the days when everything goes wrong with your spreadsheet. Nothing adds up right. So many students pursuing higher education have no path. They major in communications, psychology, or art history, with no real thought for where those degrees will take them.
Accounting students are different. You chose a degree program that will take you down a very certain path. You know you can earn your degree and become an accounting clerk, a bookkeeper, an auditing clerk, and even continue on with your education to become a certified public accountant.
Bookkeepers used to work with actual books, but now everything is done with software. Maybe you knew this before starting your accounting program, or maybe it was a surprise, but using computers and software programs is a huge part of learning and doing accounting work. Computers have replaced the old ledger books and are faster and more efficient. To work in accounting, bookkeeping, and related fields, you have to master the software that these professionals use. When you study in accounting programs, you get that expertise through hands-on and practical skills courses working with all of the most important types of bookkeeping and accounting software.
When most people think about accounting schools and degrees they assume that they lead to just one career: accountant. You know better. You know that with an associate degree in accounting, you can have any one of a number of careers by the time you graduate, and that you can continue learning on the job and advance to even better careers. You were interested in accounting programs because you want a real career.
You like the idea of having options and of having a job that is stable but with room for growth. You look forward to earning a decent salary and being able to provide for your family. And then you realize that not everyone else thinks accounting is so great. In accounting programs you get to work on the computer learning new software, designing spreadsheets, solving problems, and really using your mind and your intellect to learn and work.
Accounting is largely math. Math is a huge part of it and a crucial skill needed to be able to work in accounting, but you have to be able to use other skills too. While we would all like to finish the accounting exam having answered all of the questions correctly, it's far better to complete 85 percent of the questions having answered them correctly than to complete percent of the questions having answered a majority incorrectly. How To Study Accounting While there are several rules for studying accounting effectively, learning accounting starts with desire and hard work.
When reading a history textbook you can get by if you're able to understand 90 percent of the information or if you come away with a general idea of what's going on. Not the case with accounting. Read your textbook for understanding. And if you don't understand it, read it again. If you understand a concept being introduced, then it's okay to skim the text or skip ahead. But make sure you understand the concept s. Similar to math, accounting concepts build upon one another.
What you learn in chapter 2 builds on what you learned in chapter 1.
What you learn in chapter 3 builds on what you learned in chapters 2 and 1. If you didn't really grasp the concepts taught in chapter 1, you're going to have a difficult time learning the concepts in chapter 2 — and you'll most likely be lost by chapter 3. It's imperative that you thoroughly understand the concepts being taught in each chapter before moving on to the next chapter. Scanning text for main points doesn't work in accounting.
Accounting text books are meant to be read. Almost everything that is included in your accounting book is important. So when you read Read your accounting textbook to understand "WHY. It does however require you to understand "WHY.
Try to understand the logic behind what is being taught. When you finish studying a new topic from your textbook, try to put it in your own words. Explain the new concept to yourself or someone else. Putting concepts in your own words and explaining them aloud is far more effective than reading a text over and over again.
Discover the "HOW. It's not enough to understand why an accounting principle or concept works, if you can't apply it. You must understand how accounting concepts work and be able to apply them. In order to discover how accounting principles work and how they are applied, work the problems included in your accounting textbook.
Most chapter problems are designed specifically to help you discover how to apply the principles or concepts being taught in that section. Work each problem before checking your answer.
Review as you go. Any subject is easier to understand and remember if you thoroughly learn it the first time through. But if you're unable to remember everything you've learned, you'll just start reviewing a few days before finals, right? This may be an acceptable strategy if you're studying history or sociology, but not when you're studying accounting. If it's a bad idea to cram for a history exam the night before a test, it's a very bad idea to cram for an accounting test.
Never postpone reviewing your accounting until examination time. As you review, visit previous chapters in your textbook and rework problems you struggled with. Find other accounting problems similar to those that were difficult for you and work those problems too. At the end of each week take some time to review your notes 1 to refresh your memory and 2 to make sure you understand everything you studied during the week.
Remember, information that is forgotten must be relearned.
The time required to relearn information is often the same as learning it for the first time. It's far more efficient to review as you go than to attempt to relearn forgotten information at the end of the term or semester. Ask questions and get answers to your questions throughout the semester. Your professor, or teacher's aid, isn't going to be anxious to sit down with you for several hours at the end or the term to answer all your questions and re-teach you concepts you should have learned along the way.
AND when your professor asks you what you don't understand, don't say "everything. Before asking questions, pinpoint exactly what you don't understand. Make sure your questions are specific. If you get stumped, refer to the textbook or your notes, but not until after you've made your best effort to work the problem on your own. If you can't work problems without referring to your textbook or your notes, you aren't remembering the material — and aren't ready for your next test. It's easier to keep up than play catch up.