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Difficulty of Accounting

KingJames23KingJames23 Posts: 671Registered User Member
edited November 2013 in Business Major
I know this has been mentioned in several threads, but I figured we would all just post here and combine our thoughts about how hard accounting really is since alot of people, including myself, are interested to know.

Can it be compared to engineering IN THE SENSE that only the bright and naturally math-talented kids succeed? Or is it one of those things that alot of people can do well in IF they're willing to put forth alot of effort?

What exactly about accounting makes it so hard?
Post edited by KingJames23 on
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Replies to: Difficulty of Accounting

  • redhare317redhare317 Posts: 1,449Registered User Senior Member
    In many schools that offer a business program, accounting seems to be the one a lot of students have trouble with. A lot of people will tell you that an accounting major is tough.

    I'll be taking intro to accounting next semester. I've talked to people who already took it, and they complained as much as the orgo students. The ones who did well weren't necessarily the most studious. I also talked to some CPAs, and they said that accounting is one of the things certain people pick up and others don't.

    I'm not sure what makes it generally hard, but I think it has to do with the details you have to keep track of. Also, note that any course/subject/topic can be MADE difficult by tough, tricky exams.
  • DawgieDawgie Posts: 1,576Registered User Senior Member
    The reason why Accounting is so difficult is because it is different from all other classes. Those who can pick new things up quick are the ones who do well in Accounting. Another thing is, Accounting requires many hours of studying that most students aren't used too. Most students can get away with 5 hours of study for a general ED course. I just took intermediate accounting I and I studied for 35 hours minimum for each test and I managed to get a 4.0. Accounting is all about hard work and practice.
  • PA MomPA Mom Posts: 975Registered User Member
    One of the misperceptions that many people have about accounting is that you have to be very strong in math. I tend to think of it more along the lines of logic and analytical reasoning. You need to be able to learn a lot of rules and be able to see how something fits into the rules. It is considered a difficult major - but I do agree that some people do catch on easier than others. Good luck.
  • ryanbisryanbis Posts: 836Registered User Member
    I think that PA Mom's point is worth emphasizing. As I've said many times on these forums, accounting is a closer relative of law than finance or math. There's a bit of ambiguity in most areas and there's not always a clear answer.

    Accounting is also somewhat diverse in the sense that there are a lot of different areas, each of which is vastly different. The rules involved in financial accounting and tax accounting are, for instance, completely different. Adding to that, the financial accounting rules vary for different types of entities (for profit, not for profit and governmental). Then there's audting, which requires you to understand financial accounting well but involes very different skill sets.

    I honestly don't think that the introductory financial and managerial accounting classes are that difficult and require inordinate amounts of studying. I think that a lot of people walk into the class with the idea that they don't need to know the content (which is not true, no matter what discipline you're going into) and that they aren't going to like the class. If you give it an honest try, it shouldn't be a big deal. Unlike the content in the upper level accounting courses, the stuff you learn at the introductory level tends to make sense (unlike tax law or pension accounting) and is rather basic.

    I think that many people are further turned off by the idea of the CPA exam. Hearing that you're (essentially) required to take an exam with such a low pass rate makes the subject seem more daunting.
  • 311Griff311Griff Posts: 1,586Registered User Senior Member
    In my experience (I am an accounting major who has done very well in accounting, but have seen/heard others who have struggled mightily) I think the difficulty of accounting is partially attributed to the initial lack of excitement. Mix that lack of excitement with the fact that to do well in the introductory classes you still have to dig in and do work. It's not a chill, take a few notes, and give your "excellent" opinion about the way the world works, to get an A class. Accounting has a science to it that requires you to dig in and solve numerical problems that have a true answer--an answer that keeps the balance of the accounting equation. But it doesn't stop there, then you have to take those numbers and apply them to real world business problems/situations and decide what it means...and well, sometimes that is awfully intimidating to say the least.

    People who do well in accounting aren't necesarily math whizzes, but are comfortable with numbers and have an appreciation for their ability to keep and maintain order. They also like to have control and don't like to leave problems unsolved, or situations incomplete. They have to have a definite answer, or at least a foundation for an answer to problems, and it bothers them enough when things are not in order that they work as hard as they can as long as they have to in order to find the missing link. In other words, good accounting students/professionals are serious detectives, and have a knack for gathering pertinent information and finding missing links.

    People who don't have perspective to look past the sometimes monotonous work accounting requires to see the big picture that all things business go through accounting, usually don't do well in it, and are even turned off by it. Also, people who don't really mind if answers are incomplete or haven't really been fully checked out, don't do well in accounting either.

    That's my .02.
  • forgivenforgiven Posts: 1,690Registered User Senior Member
    i agree with 311 griff.
  • futurenyustudentfuturenyustudent Posts: 5,366Registered User Senior Member
    It can't be THAT hard...I got an A in accounting lol.
  • Truman94Truman94 Posts: 141Registered User Junior Member
    ny,
    Are you referring to an intro class or are you referring to an upper division core accounting class required by the major? If you're referring to intro classes, that's a completely different story. Upper division accounting classes required by the major are far more challenging.

    I agree with PA Mom, accounting is a field of study that requires sound analytical and logical reasoning more than math skills. I've known a few who were aces in math in high school who flunked out of accounting. Contributing to the difficulty of the major is the hard grading required to weed out large numbers of students, particularly in accredited programs.
  • Truman94Truman94 Posts: 141Registered User Junior Member
    Forget my question, I failed to first recognize the "future" in your username.
  • DawgieDawgie Posts: 1,576Registered User Senior Member
    You got an A in Intermediate Accounting? Then you are good at accounting. Math has absolutely nothing to do with accounting except for arithmetic.
  • ryanbisryanbis Posts: 836Registered User Member
    I don't think he got an A in intermediate accounting...I think he's saying that he got an A in a high school level accounting/bookkeeping class, which is not particularly impressive.
  • DawgieDawgie Posts: 1,576Registered User Senior Member
    Ryan why aren't you chillin at the accounting forum no more?
  • 311Griff311Griff Posts: 1,586Registered User Senior Member
    I agree with PA Mom, accounting is a field of study that requires sound analytical and logical reasoning more than math skills.

    I'm not so sure these skills are a prerequisite for accounting as much as they are a result of doing the work that it takes to earn the degree. Accounting develops sound (bold for emphasis) analytical and logic skills, but it requires students who have a desire to keep things "balanced" and solve the numbers mystery hidden in many accounting situations. Some students have this desire naturally, some are competitive enough to develop it, and some just flat out don't care, and have a different makeup, so accounting is "not their bag baby".
  • futurenyustudentfuturenyustudent Posts: 5,366Registered User Senior Member
    It was a 200-level financial accounting class...and no, it was a college credit class thank you very much :)
  • buggzzbuggzz Posts: 217Registered User Junior Member
    wht are the best colleges to do CA from in the world?
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