How to Survive (AND EXCEL) In Accounting

Student blogger: Iraj Ullah

Some people are terrified to start their accounting classes in college. They think of the tortuous debits and credits, the formulas, AND ALL THE MATH. However, I think with these seven tips anyone can fall in love with accounting!


I cannot begin to stress how important this point is. Not being interested in the various accounts, journal entries and taxes makes accounting seem even more petrifying and ends up becoming a miserable experience. Before studying a topic, I recommend you take an extra thirty minutes and try to find how this area is in the news today and how it can affect you. This will make the topic seem more relevant and you’ll naturally seem more interested. Trust me, it’ll save you a lot of time in the long run.


While taking notes, I think it’s necessary to annotate and color code. It has many perks. First, it looks neat. Second, annotating ensures you know what you’re reading and helps you summarize your main points. Research studies have shown that color can actually improve memory recall and cognition.


In my experience, I have realized that I cannot work in complete silence. It makes time go impossibly slow and my brain zones out every few minutes, so I recommend playing the focus genre on Spotify. They have various focus playlists like peaceful piano, atmospheric calm, study vibes, deep focus, etc. Each playlist has its own rhythm and mood geared toward a particular study technique. For writing journal entries, I usually listen to calming acoustic. The playlist is filled with chill instrumental covers of popular songs, and it really helps me get pumped about journal entries.


Doctors may say caffeine is bad for you, but they obviously don’t remember how they survived college. Drinking coffee is just what your brain needs to focus on the task at hand and has really motivated me in the past to get organized and to start working. Any coffee is fine — just make sure it’s not bland or bitter — and it’s something you enjoy. You’re about to do A LOT of journal entries, so make sure there’s enough sugar and there’s extra whip to keep you motivated for the next three to four hours.


Don’t wait until your final semester to look at what accounting jobs are out there. Plan about a year or two in advance in order to avoid the stress and panic of life after college. The Accounting field is HUGE, and having a few ideas about what fields you want to go in is a great way to become more informed and prepared in your career search. Bonus: it will also make you more interested in future accounting classes that relate to your interest!


I really can’t stress how important this one is – especially to freshmen. Yeah, college is great because attendance isn’t mandatory, but for a class like accounting, you need to go to class. Even missing one day in an accounting class can have a huge impact. The instructors are qualified accountants who have gotten their CPA certification or are Ph.D.’s in the area so they know what they’re teaching you and they know how to teach. They want to see you do well and convey the information in a way you can understand it. Simply put, to get an A you have to go to class.


I think time management is something college students struggle with the most. I like to keep a planner that tells me which weeks are Exam Hell and typically start studying a few weeks earlier. DO NOT push off studying for your accounting tests. You do NOT want to cram for these tests. Simply put, it cannot be done. And if it is done, it’s too painful. It’s extremely difficult to memorize all the formulas, journal entries, production cycles, etc. Save yourself the migraine and start studying a week before.

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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