An accountant who is bad at math is like a baseball glove with a hole in the middle. It may accidentally get the job done, but no one is going to go looking for it as a first, second, or even fifth option. You want the glove that works and the accountant who is a math whiz.
Accountants have to be more than just good at math. They have to know the subject inside and out. Preparing to be an accountant means paying attention in school math classes as early as possible.
Math is one of those subjects that can get overwhelming quickly, and the presence of hard-and-fast answers makes it difficult to fake your way through it. Fortunately, you do not have to.
We have collected 10 of the most relevant math tips for accountants-to-be. Keep reading to demystify the process of learning math and gain skills you can carry with you even beyond your professional life.
10 Math Tips Every Future Accountant Should Know
These tips are not just designed to get you through your next math test. We dug deep for suggestions that will make your relationships with clients more productive. There are also tips that would be smart for any business owner to practice.
As an accountant, you may become the owner of your own small business if you practice by yourself. It is not too early to become the kind of accountant you want to be right now, as a student. See how now.
1. Supplement Your Textbooks
Your textbooks are only the beginning of your learning in your math classes. Think of them as the government documents you will be dealing with in your accounting work. Yes, they are essential, but you will need other tools to help you complete them.
There are many of those other tools. Often they include supplemental materials that come with the textbooks themselves, such as online learning modules and answer books. They also include study guides from big companies like Princeton Review or Kaplan.
2. Time Yourself
When you are an accountant, you do not want to be working on projects endlessly. Likewise, you will not have all the time in the world when you take your tests in math class.
You can improve at the time management of your math work. All it takes is some practice. Learn how long you will have for your tests, and take practice tests with the same number of questions over the same period of time.
This will help you learn the length of time you can spend on each question. You can also hone your strategy, whether you prefer starting with the easy or hard questions first.
3. Utilize Your Human Resources
Math does not happen in a vacuum. It’s about the real world, and sometimes, real-world help is what you need to understand it. All of the books in the world pale in comparison to a great tutor.
You do not have to hire a private tutor to get human help with your math. You can talk to a friend, stay after class to talk to your teacher, or attend their office hours or study sessions they may offer.
All of these interactions will help you as you prepare to deal with clients in your accounting practice.
4. Understand Underlying Principles
There is a reason math teachers tell us not to just check the backs of our books for the answers. It is that the answers only help us understand so much.
You can get by in math by memorizing formulas, but pretty soon, this tactic will fail you. You need to understand each element of formula and how to apply it to really build lasting math knowledge.
5. Accept That Math Is Cumulative
This tip builds off the last one. That is appropriate because it is about how math concepts build on each other.
Accepting math is cumulative means putting in the work to learn the concepts as they come. You do not take shortcuts. Shortcuts only lead to bigger and bigger headaches years down the line, when it might be too late to unlearn all that you have only half learned.
If you lay a solid foundation with your early math classes, you will have a base to rely on for future learning.
6. Take a Second Class
Maybe the last thing you want to do to help with your math class is to take another math class, but we promise this can be just what the doctor ordered. In classes from companies like Kumon or Thinkster, you can get individualized attention that allows you to really get concepts to sink in.
It is important to find the right class before just diving in. Do your research. Check out a Kumon learning center review or another trusted authority before making your decision.
7. Keep Old Tests
Those old tests can be your best friends. They are records of your experience. They will show you not only your own weaknesses but also how your teacher frames questions on tests.
8. Read Ahead
Once you have laid a solid foundation, you can set yourself apart by reading ahead. The extra work this takes on the back end will save you lots of time on homework since you will not have to waste time reviewing concepts.
This will set the stage for when you are an accountant and need to stay on top of the newest tax laws.
9. Develop a Note-Taking Habit
Good notes make all the difference when it comes to learning math.
The way to improve your notes is to refer to them regularly. Read them after you take them to see if they are helpful. If not, record the things you actually need to allow concepts to sink in.
This practice will help you immensely when it comes to keeping thorough records as an accountant.
10. Use Your Words
Our final suggestion is a simple one, but it is the bridge between the math in your head and the way you will communicate to clients as an accountant.
You can start doing this well by explaining to yourself what you are doing as you do it. This will make you a pro at verbalizing your work, which is what you will have to do often to demonstrate accountability to your clients.
You + These 10 Suggestions = a Future in Accounting
Math is not always easy, but if you use these math tips, you will build your math knowledge on a solid foundation. And getting good at math is one of the best preparations for becoming an accountant.
There is more to being an accountant than doing the math. When you feel solid in this area, check out our templates and forms to start a small business.