Accounting Myths

Gaea FerrerBlogger: Gaea Ferrer

Accounting students face so many misconceptions about the accounting field and the people who make careers within it. Through television and movies, many people seem to develop this caricature of an accountant: the introverted math expert that is probably really busy during tax season. That’s why this blog post is dedicated to dispelling just a few of the many myths about accounting.

Myth #1 — You have to be good at math to be an accountant.

Just about anyone who isn’t an accounting major immediately associates math with accounting. It’s only natural – numbers are a recurring part of the job, but it’s more about managing and interpreting what the numbers mean, not just what they add up to. Some math whizzes may have a natural affinity for the accounting world, but it’s not simply because they can function as human calculators.

Accountants use math on a daily basis to the same extent that many other careers do: basic arithmetic and an excel spreadsheet. Accountants aren’t ever forced to accomplish intense math problems in their heads, there are literally apps for that. Accountants rely on software that does the heavy mathematical lifting.

Like I said, it’s about recognizing what exactly all the numbers mean. Interpreting what provides a better visual of exactly how a business is operating; revenue, expenditures, assets, liabilities, etc. Accountants provide businesses a solid understanding of their own affairs and recognize pieces of a larger puzzle that can help obtain improved outcomes.

Myth #2 — Accountants are really boring people/don’t have social skills.

So accountants are not natural mathematicians. So what? It doesn’t mean they are interesting, affable, or sociable people…right?

Just about every type of accountant has to have a solid set of communication skills. If the first part of an accountant’s job is to recognize the patterns and trends they are trained to look for, the second part of an accountant’s job is to relay this technical information into understandable terms to individuals with non-accounting backgrounds.

On a daily basis they all have to communicate to clients, coworkers, vendors, and various stakeholders in a business. Accountants also tend to work as part of a team, and constant effective communication isn’t just effective, it’s required to get work completed.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s a list of some notable individuals from wildly different fields who dabbled in accounting:
Chuck Liddell – If you don’t know him by his Ultimate Fighting career, you’ll probably recognize the haircut. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Kenny G – Smooth jazz virtuoso and one of the best-selling artists of all time, Kenny Gorelick worked as an accountant.
Arthur Blank – Current owner of the Atlanta Falcons and co-founder of the Home Depot is a Certified Public Accountant.
John Grisham – Every pre-law student’s favorite law drama novelist. Before he went to law school he earned a degree in accounting.
Thomas Pickard – former acting director of the FBI. Also, a Certified Public Accountant.
Ray Wersching – NFL field-goal kicker. CPA during the off-season.

Myth #3 — Any accountant can do your taxes.
The reality of this myth is a real heart-breaker for spouses, friends, family, and basically anyone who knows an accountant. The short and simple answer is: no, not all of us are able to do your taxes. In fact, most accountants are not any more qualified to prepare a person’s taxes than a random person off the street.

Why? Specialization within the field of accounting. If all every accountant had to do was tax work, they’d likely get a degree in tax preparation, not accounting. While there are many accountants who specialize in tax preparation, it is merely one narrow slice of the pie that is the broad accounting field.

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How to Obtain an Accounting Internship

Samir BasariaBlogger: Samir Basaria

One piece of advice people give over and over again, which I can’t stress enough, is to start networking your freshman year. Many students assume their freshman and sophomore years are too early to network or attend career fairs, but that is usually the correct time to start. Gaining experience talking to faculty, joining clubs and organizations, and attending job fairs will only make you more comfortable once it’s finally time to start applying for internships your sophomore/junior year. Some people have trouble with communication and aren’t as comfortable talking to professionals when they start looking for internships during their junior/senior year. Getting a head start your freshman year is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of gaining experience and building networks that could push you ahead of another prospective student fighting for the same position.

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Three shots at pocketing $10K. Are you in?

The AICPA Accounting Competition is back, and it’s sweeter than ever. Each of the finalist teams will earn $10K, a trip to Washington, D.C. to present in front of a panel of accounting elite *and* a monetary award for their school.

In this year’s competition, you and your teammates will be playing the role of management accountants —acting as strategic advisors to Humble Pies, a pie company looking to tackle bigger and better business opportunities.

Enrollment ends at 10:59 a.m. on Sept. 29, so start wrangling some folks with the strategic savvy of a management accountant. Getting your team lined up early will make signing up as easy as, well you know…

Get the Details

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CPA Exam Information Webinar – Oct. 17

Are you thinking ahead to the CPA exam? We know the registration process for the CPA designation can be confusing and taxing! Becker CPA Exam Review  and TSCPA are here to help!

On Friday, Oct. 17 from noon to 1 p.m. they’ll be hosting a free webinar to help answer questions and set you on the path toward becoming a CPA. Topics will include: the value of a CPA designation, Texas requirements and the application process, strategies for exam preparation, and more.

P.S. – TSCPA student members receive a $300 discount on Becker’s CPA Exam Review Course.

Get the details
To sign up, please RSVP.

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Starting Strong

Zack HansenBlogger: Zack Hansen

Hello everyone!

My name is Zack, and I finished my undergraduate degree in accounting this past May. I am currently taking classes towards my Master’s degree and will start studying for the CPA exam next spring. A little bit about me…..

I was born in Houston, but have really enjoyed living in Dallas and cannot wait to start my career here. Unlike most accounting students, I started off as an accounting major and haven’t looked back. My main passion outside school is playing soccer. I came to UT Dallas to play on the men’s soccer team, and I am starting my final season playing for the school. Most weekends you will find me watching some sort of soccer game and the #1 item on my bucket list is to attend the World Cup. This is my first time blogging, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with everyone.

Now for the explanation of this blog post’s title. Going back to school after summer vacation has always been a struggle for me. I always end up procrastinating things and having to catch up over the rest of the semester. Having a slow start to the fall semester seemed to be a tradition during my undergrad years. I know this is natural after a long lay off from school, but it is something that is beneficial to avoid. I have gotten better at getting back into the swing of things over the years, and I have learned some helpful tips. Here is my advice for avoiding the summer break hangover:

• Buy your books as early as possible. I started buying my books before class would even start. This way I could hit the ground running and wouldn’t have to worry about finding my books when I should be studying. If you are worried about teachers saying the book isn’t used in this class on the first day of school, then make sure to look at the return policy when you buy your books. A bunch of the book stores allow two weeks for returns, and I have definitely taken advantage of this policy.

• Write down all your tests and homework assignments in a planner before class starts. This allows you to see when you are going to be really busy and plan out your semester accordingly. If you do this before class starts, you won’t waste valuable time doing it when you could be studying.

• Try to get back into a decent sleep routine. This is easily the one I have struggled with the most as I am not a morning person. If you can get back into the habit of not waking up at noon before class starts, then you will hit the ground running during the fall semester.

• Force yourself to study. This is definitely easier said than done after spending all summer hanging out with your friends. Even if you had an internship all summer, studying is a different beast than going to work all day. The best way I found to do this was to head to the library during the first couple of weeks of classes even if you don’t have homework. This way I got into a good habit before the homework started to pile on.

I hope everyone has a good semester and starts strong after the summer away from school!

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Meet Our Newest Bloggers!

Introducing the newest group of TXCPA2B bloggers from the University of Texas at Dallas! Read more about this fine group of future accounting super stars on the Meet the Bloggers page, and stay tuned for insight and wisdom from their personal journeys to the CPA credential.

Group

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TSCPA: A Day in the Life

CPAs throughout Texas work in a myriad of organizations, large and small, in countless capacities. Check out TSCPA’s new series called “A Day in the Life.” See how CPAs across the state “show their letters” working in most any and every kind of enterprise in Texas.

Read more about how one TSCPA member uses her experience and expertise to “show her letters” for a few of her family’s businesses in the Austin area.

 

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