Do You Need to be Good at Math to Study Financial Accounting?
Do You Need to be Good at Math to Study Financial Accounting?

Analyzing and interpreting data may be one of the most important skill sets of all. If you have shown aptitude in quantitative, problem-solving abilities, it is likely that you will be well prepared to study accounting and to eventually pass your CPA licensing exam. And while math is one way to work on your quantitative skills, you may find that courses in logic, economics or physics may be just as important. As long as you are an organized individual, pay great attention to detail, are able to handle a great deal of work in a short space of time, and do not have a problem crunching numbers, you will do just fine as an accountant. The notion that an accountant needs to be some sort of mathematics genius is completely false. Maths students have a deep understanding of complex mathematical principles, and have the ability to problem solve and use deductive reasoning in a theoretical/abstract manner.

Computer literacy and the ability to adapt to new software is very important too. When you study accounting you’ll learn about different software packages, but the business you go into may use something different. This could be the shortest blog in the world if we just said - no, you don’t need to be good at maths to study accountancy.

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Before discussing that, however, it is crucial to understand what financial accounting is. Financial accounting concerns the use of financial statements for decision-making. While most people can enter the field with relative ease, it may have more challenging aspects. The rudimentary level of entry is becoming an accountant or bookkeeper. CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant, and this certification requires an exam plus an extra 30 hours of college credit. As the gold standard of accounting prowess, CPAs are authorized to perform general accounting work as well as prepare tax returns and, most importantly, legally represent other taxpayers to the IRS.

A good education will prepare you for everything you need to know about taxes—from dealing with income tax to corporate tax structures. So even if you don’t end up as a tax accountant, you will have valuable, long-lasting skills to help your resume shine. GAAP, or generally accepted accounting principles, are an industry-wide set of accounting rules and regulations. All companies in the United States must abide by the generally accepted accounting principles.

Do you need to be good at math to study financial accounting?

Much of the financial reporting that happens in accounting has to do with credits, which you add, and debits, which you subtract. Although that may sound too easy to be true, accounting math skills mainly involve such basic functions as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. Since businesses don’t deal exclusively in whole numbers, it’s also important to have a solid grasp of percentages, fractions, decimals and ratios. There’s a good chance that you have been using many of the math skills needed for an accounting career since elementary school.

The 2024 version of the CPA exam eliminates the business environment and concepts (BEC) section and transitions some portions of FAR and REG into the new disciplines. Since the BEC section was the only one to include a written essay, the essay portion is eliminated from the 2024 CPA exam. To gain entry into a relevant program, you’ll need a high school diploma or something equivalent.

Organization and Prioritization

You will also be required to write a convincing personal statement outlining your career goals and your suitability for the course; reference letters may also be needed. One of the most popular ways of completing the coursework required for CPA certification is to earn a Master’s Degree in Accounting or Taxation. A Master’s degree shows determination and self-reliance and offers in-depth knowledge. Consequently, it can help your prospects when applying for high-paying jobs in cost accounting, managerial accounting, or as an internal auditor. Knowledge of economics, statistics, and financial accounting are also necessary in order to pass the CMA exam.

Today’s accountants need to have strong analytical skills, communication skills and collaboration and interpersonal skills. As the basic technical tasks of accounting have become more commonly and extensively automated through bookkeeping software programs, the role of an accountant has shifted, according to Accounting Today. Instead of crunching numbers, accountants focus more on sharing their insights on strategy gleaned from analyzing financial data in ways beyond what a typical accounting software program would do. If you aspire to become a certified public accountant (CPA) or attain another accounting certification, then you will need to perform enough math to pass your exams. Some accounting professionals report that the math needed to pass their credentialing exams is more complex and difficult than the math they use daily in their work as an accountant.

Transferable skills for accountants

"What can we do, especially from an employer or from a CFO or from the accounting and finance leaders perspective?" said Susie Duong, senior director of research and thought leadership at the IMA and co-author of the study. The best programs also require candidates to have passed the ACT and/or SAT exams with certain minimum scores. “This seems very obvious, do you need to be good at math for accounting but a new accounting professional has to be able to perform on the job pretty much straight out of school,” says Gabe Lumby, CPA. For example, if you are planning on working in public accounting, you will need a strong understanding of auditing and taxation, Lumby says. Therefore, financial accounting requires accountants to have general business knowledge.

Accounting may appear monotonous to students who love math but have little interest in the business because it does not provide enough opportunities to employ high-level math approaches, models, and equations. SAP stands for statutory accounting principles, a standard used primarily for financial reports related to the insurance industry. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners requires all insurance companies to abide by SAP standards. For any accountant with a potential future in the insurance industry, the statutory accounting principles are a must-know.

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Accountants will spend more time concerning themselves with information such as tax laws, financial records, and other fiscal terms. They will memorize the basic accounting formulas they need to know, and refer to them when they are completing their work. Almost all accounting work is now done on computers and Excel spreadsheets, which means even less math work for accountants.

  • There are similarities and differences between these countries’ Remembrance Day and America’s Veterans Day.
  • This means you’ll have to have good interpersonal skills as well as strong writing skills so you can get your message across clearly.
  • Soft skills also set you apart from other applicants in the accounting job market.
  • Similar to customer service roles, some companies have to up their tech support staff over the Christmas break, anticipating a larger volume of people than usual engaging with their products and services.
  • In Marketing Management and a background in digital marketing for healthcare, nonprofit, and higher education organizations.
  • If Shelbie has a cup of tea, a good book, or a deep conversation, she is a happy camper.

Duties will include speaking to customers/clients, routing calls, arranging appointments and so on. Data entry roles lend themselves nicely to remote work, and providing you can work under your own steam and don't mind repetitive tasks, they can be a great way to make a little extra cash in the run up to Christmas. While many of these roles will be phone based, many also involve speaking with customers via text chat, so don't be too put off if speaking over the phone isn't your thing.


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