Is Accounting Hard?

As an accountant and accounting tutor, it only makes sense that I’m asked all sorts of accounting-related questions. One question I’m frequently asked is: “Is accounting hard?” It’s asked many different ways, but all the questions revolve around the same idea. For example, when consulting with small business owners, they typically ask questions like “How hard is accounting?” Or “Why is accounting so hard?” When talking with soon-to-be college students, I’ll hear questions like “How hard is accounting class?” Or “How hard is Accounting 101?

This is a tough question to answer because there are a number of variables to consider. Accounting is described as “the language of business,” and I often describe accounting as a math class and a foreign language class combined. Accounting requires you to use your math skills, but I’m not talking about crazy math skills here. For the most part, you’ll just need to know when to use addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication.

Additionally, you’ll be required to learn and apply various “rules.” These rules are referred to as concepts, terms, and principles. Some students find the math and rules easy, while other students find them to be nearly impossible to understand.

During our first tutor session, I ask my students about their struggles. This helps me identify their specific needs and allows me to customize their tutor sessions. For the most part, I see three types of responses. Maybe you can relate?

3 Students’ Answers: “ Is Accounting Hard?

Below are typical responses I get when I ask my first-time tutor students, “Is accounting hard?

I guess it’s hard. I mean, I thought I understood the material, but then I took the test, and I’m not sure what happened.– Frequently, I’ll hear this response from a student after their first test. They receive their first test grade, are confused, and then contact me to start tutoring sessions. This response is so common and reinforces the need to practice test questions. Often, the questions students are asked on tests differ significantly from the example problems covered in the textbook or homework questions. Test questions are designed to be tricky. If you’re not used to seeing these “tricky” questions, you may end up struggling on your test.

I don’t think accounting is hard, but I feel rushed to complete the test, or I run out of time.– A lot of times, I’ll hear this response from a student who’s done all of the homework and has a good handle on the material. Like the previous situation, the student receives their test grade, is confused, and contacts me to start tutoring sessions. The problem here is efficiency. If given enough time, a lot of students can figure out the answers to test questions. Unfortunately, most tests have time limits and test more than your knowledge of the material. Tests assess your efficiency with the material. The goal is to be able to apply what you know, quickly. So, another area we focus on in tutoring sessions is developing techniques to solve accounting problems efficiently.

I thought it was pretty easy in the beginning, but then I felt lost.– I usually see a response like this from students that are half way through their accounting class. The first couple of weeks are easy. The next weeks are a mix of feeling like the information is easy, but also, there’s an uneasy feeling about some of the material. The weeks after are full of self-doubt. There’s a feeling where you think you understand some of the material, but a random test question or two can easily confuse you and derail your confidence. A situation like this needs to be addressed immediately.

The fundamentals are key in a situation like this. Accounting is a class that builds on itself. By that, I mean Chapter 2 is going to be a struggle if you don’t understand Chapter 1. Typically, I’ll work with a student to reinforce what they already know and build on that foundation to push forward to the new material.

Is Accounting Hard?

You Might Be Surprised To Know

Despite being a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) with a master’s degree in Accounting, accounting classes weren’t always easy for me. In fact, my first accounting class was a wake-up call! It can be extremely frustrating to try so hard and still get poor grades. I can’t tell you the number of times I asked myself, “Why is accounting so hard to understand?” as I struggled on a test!

Eventually, I figured out the answer to “Why is accounting so hard for me?” In my case, it was the lack of good concrete examples and a lack of repetition. You see, when I was in school, we only had a couple of homework problems to illustrate the concept we were supposed to learn. This seemed great at first – fewer homework problems meant less time doing homework!! But it also meant that if I didn’t understand the concept after only a couple of tries, I wouldn’t understand the concept when it came time for the test.

Additionally, the homework problems didn’t provide an effective way to learn. For example, I remember questions where they’d ask for the value of Assets, and we’d be given numbers like $5,000 in Cash, $25,000 in Accounts Receivable, and $25,000 in Accounts Payable. The answer is $30,000, but I remember initially struggling with the $25,000 amount. I remember thinking, “Do I use the $25,000 from Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable?” This really frustrated me. I put in the time and effort and I truly felt like my textbook should have had better examples, more concrete examples.

Once I started tutoring accounting students, I realized students still faced the same issues I had. This is why I started tutoring students and why I developed my self-paced tutorial and test prep site Pass Accounting As a result, I’m able to help even more students pass their accounting classes!

Why Do Students Find Accounting So Challenging?

As I mentioned earlier, accounting is hard to learn because it’s similar to a math class and a foreign language class combined. Each student has their own struggles. For many students, this is a completely new experience, and they’ve never encountered a class like this. Accounting class may start off like other classes, you know, new vocabulary and an overview of the subject you’re learning. It seems fairly straightforward, but then it takes a drastic turn in the next couple of weeks. What once was a “normal class” turns into a headache… the phrase “mental gymnastics” comes to mind!

Initially, it doesn’t take so much effort to comprehend the material, complete the homework, or pass the test. But weeks later, accounting class dominates your time, thoughts, and efforts! In many instances, accounting teachers tell you to study all the information, but they don’t tell you how to study. Learning how to study accounting is the trick.

For most students, accounting is so hard to learn because they haven’t been shown how to study accounting. My Pass Accounting Class program shows you how to study accounting and focuses on the smart way to learn!

My Foolproof Process for Helping Students Pass Accounting Class With Ease the FIRST Time

Wouldn’t it be nice to not worry about your accounting class? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you can get your questions answered and that you’ll REALLY understand the material and do well on your tests? There are two main ways that I help students. First, I offer one-on-one tutoring where we work together to get you up to speed and comfortable with the material. We focus on what makes accounting hard for you and work to strengthen those areas to improve your grade, quickly. More information about my tutoring services can be found here.

Second, my Pass Accounting Class self-paced tutorial and test prep website offers a variety of relevant on-demand video lessons that walk you step-by-step through questions you’ll likely see on your tests and the option to schedule live, one-on-one tutoring sessions with me. The video lesson below is one of many video lessons available in the Pass Accounting Class program. More information can be found here.

How does my tutoring and test prep website help students pass accounting class? It’s simple, I focus on the things that matter! Many times, students struggle to sort through all of the accounting information to find what’s important. Then, you have to figure out how to study the information so you’ll retain it. Over the years, I’ve developed resources to show students which information is important and how to best learn it, the first time. These resources are designed for students to learn how to study accounting in an efficient manner.

The focus is on fundamentals, which leads to efficiency. My students experience great results when we apply this method to those “tricky” test questions, and their grades and confidence improve!

What Students Say After Using Pass Accounting Class/Working With Me

Relief! Most of my students are relieved once they see that accounting doesn’t have to be so hard! For years I’ve been able to help accounting and non-accounting students pass their accounting classes. Yes, they’re excited about getting better grades, but they’re even more excited about getting on with life! Below are just some of the comments I’ve received after helping my students.

You’ve come to the right place if you’re struggling and wondering, “Why is accounting hard?I’m here to help you succeed. I’m here to help you pass accounting class! Stop feeling stressed because there’s never enough time to finish all the questions on your accounting quizzes and tests and, instead, efficiently solve these problems with confidence in the allotted time. I want to show you how to do this with my Pass Accounting Class program.

My Pass Accounting Class program features short, targeted video tutorials with learning materials and the option to schedule live, one-on-one tutoring sessions with me. Click the button below to get started!

Scott Meister

I’m Scott Meister.  I’m a CPA, have a master’s degree in accounting, and I’m offering to show you what to study, how to study, answer your questions, and guide you to passing your accounting class. I'm an Advanced Certified ProAdvisor for QuickBooks, Udemy instructor, author, and I have my own consulting business helping companies use QuickBooks.