Sunday, January 19, 2014

Textbook Vs. Real World Accounting

When I started taking accounting classes, I thought accounting is just about addition and subtraction, putting the numbers in the right rows and columns, and using the correct percentage and rate. However, I was TOTALLY wrong. There were WAY more in the "Accounting Academic."

When I started working as an accountant, I thought accounting work is similar to all the practice and test problems. However, this ALSO give me a surprise. Not only it was EXTREMELY different, but also there were MANY to consider in the "Accounting World." 

I talked about my experience with studying accounting HERE last year. This year, I will talk about real world accounting. 

1. Perfect Number vs. Decimal Number: In text book, the numbers are perfect zeros. In the real world, perfect barely happen. Accountants have to be very careful. When one mistake is made, it would be like finding pennies. 

2. Computer Print vs. Hand Writing: Doing accounting work itself is already tedious; furthermore reading all scratch from the client wrote is very painful. Sadly not all client brought documents are typed and some bosses and/or co-workers can be challenging hand writing, too.  

3. Whole Piece vs. One Piece: Accounting classes usually teach the entire company's accounting.  At work people only work in one area of the accounting system, such as just payable, receivable, payroll, tax, etc. It can opposite. School can only teach one piece and work feel like the whole piece. For example, revenue department, text can only mention one types of revenue, but in reality, there are SO many subcategories of revenue. 

4. Pass Grade vs. ABSOLUTELY No Error Allowed: The students can pass the class by having 70% correct. They can get an "A" by ONLY scoring 93%.  Unfortunately, the real world has NO percentage correctness in financial statements. The result has to be100% accurate, otherwise they can not be return to the client. 

Additional Work Outside of Textbook

1. Not only we have to enter the dollar amount right, but also the account number, item number, order number etc. 

2. Memorizing the names of the product, customer, and related bank account. 

3. Ask customers to pay to amount owed, and/or ask the suppliers for forgiveness about late payments. 

4. Due to clients can bring the additional information late or the document could get lost, sometimes there would be a missing piece. 

Overall, it is NOT like the test questions, only the dollar amount matters, do not have to talk to customers and suppliers, and all the require information provided. 

Accounting class is NOT "math class" like I thought. I felt ashamed when I said math is tough in high school 

Accounting job is NOT only "getting the numbers right." I felt it would be so simple just getting the numbers correct. How come I thought it was so difficult back then?  I guess life only gets harder.

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