If you are taking an accounting class, homework is a challenging yet vital aspect. Homework is where you test your understanding. At-home exercises help to cement ideas that you understand and identify the ones that you don’t. Knowing that, here are some very common accounting homework mistakes and how to avoid them.
Accounting homework can be time-consuming, even when it is not difficult. There are problems to work through, which often require research to understand completely. One of the keys to success is to leave plenty of time to work on each problem. Also, don’t rush. Most of the problems are nuanced and require critical thinking. Hurrying does not allow you to do your best work.
Accounting relies heavily on concepts, but there is always good old math mixed in. You could completely understand how to work a problem, but if you make mathematical errors, you can still get the wrong answer. A common math error is a transposition or reversing the order of two digits, such as writing 252 instead of 225. If your answer is unexpected or illogical, go back and review your basic math. If allowed, use a calculator.
Even if you understand an exercise, it is easy to get lost in one of the many steps they require. If you show the steps that you took to get to your answer, your professor may still give you partial credit. More importantly, he will be able to see and explain where you went wrong.
Accounting is a field of details. If you do not read a problem carefully, it is easy to make an error based on false assumptions. It is disheartening to work an entire problem, to do it correctly, but to get the wrong answer because you used an incorrect time period assumption, or you were working with cash basis instead of accrual. Even though some exercises may seem repetitive, often small details are changed to make you apply different thinking to achieve a solution.
Your professors keep office hours so that they are available to help you with concepts you don’t understand. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for more help – they are happy to give you the extra help that you need. And remember, all concepts build on one another – if you don’t understand at a certain level, it is only going to become more difficult as the professor builds on that concept.
Accounting homework may seem repetitive and boring at times, but it is the only sure way to really master the concepts that build on one another. Do your homework, work to understand it, and ask for help if you need it. Avoiding these common mistakes will help you succeed in your class.