The Importance of Calculators

Blogger: Kelly McNeil

Some might think it is funny that I am writing a blog on the importance of knowing how to use a calculator, but it is a very important task to know! A few months ago, I was used to using only scientific and business calculators. These calculators were pretty simple to learn. I didn’t know there was any other kind of different calculator. That is until I started my internship and was required to use a 10-key. I didn’t even know those still existed! I felt that it was sort of ancient to use a 10-key.

I went on my first day of my internship very prepared. I brought along with me my TA BA II Plus calculator that I have used since I started college. I figured it would be nice to use my own supplies. The first time I pulled it out to make a calculation, I heard laughter around me. I thought maybe they expect me to do the entire math in my head. My buddy who was another associate that was in charge of teaching me the ways of the company told me she would get me a 10-key the next day. I thought this was nice since I had noticed everyone else using the same brand of calculators and did not want to be laughed at again!

I arrive the next day without my trusty TI and attempted to make a calculation on the 10-key. My supervisor came to my desk and asked me to add up some deductions and then subtract them from the income. Easy enough, right? Nope. I could add up the numbers easily, but could not figure out how to subtract them. My manager stood over my shoulder watching me in desperation to simply subtract some numbers. She got frustrated and grabbed the calculator to do it herself. She got the number she needed and walked away. I was so ashamed that I couldn’t even use a calculator! I was not making a very good first impression. I wish I had learned beforehand how to use a 10-key and avoid this embarrassment.

For those of you who have not used a 10-key, the calculations are like this: For a regular calculator, to calculate 6-2=4, you would enter 6, –,  2, ENTER and receive your answer. On a 10-key, typing in those keys would result in an answer of -4. The subtraction key “-“ on a 10-key acts like a minus sign. You must type 6, +, 2, -, ENTER to get the correct result of 2. It took me a while to get a hold of the concept, but I learned how to adapt. If you plan to take a job or internship in accounting, I advise you to attempt to learn a 10-key in order to avoid the embarrassment that I had to go through!

About txcpa2b

The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional organization representing Texas CPAs. TSCPA has 20 local chapters statewide and has 27,000 members. The Society is committed to serving the public interest with programs that advance the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession. TXCPA2B is a blog written by Texas students in pursuit of the CPA certificate. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily held by TSCPA or our members.
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