Why Accounting Makes Sense In Class But Not At Home

Why do financial accounting concepts make sense when we hear them in class, but the sense of accounting seems to get lost when we apply the same accounting concepts at home. I know I experienced this when learning accounting concepts. As I wrote down each step in an accounting process on paper along with the instructor in class, it made perfect sense but looking at that same problem again at home often turned up many questions. Part of the reason accounting concepts make sense in class is because there are many skilled accounting instructors that can present the material clearly, confidently, and correctly on a board. What we often do not see, however, is all the knowledge that is in their head that they are drawing on. The accounting instructor has a visualization of the trial balance, the normal balance of each account, and the effect on net income from each transaction through practice. It is generally impossible to put this knowledge on the whiteboard because it would take up too much space and time. Therefore, the instructor must limit the information presented, resulting in things like a simplified accounting equation, floating journal entries, and tables to summarize data. Things like floating journal entries, journal entries that are not posted to a general ledger or trial balance, are a good tool at times but most learners do not have the visualization of the trial balance necessary to understand what the floating journal entry means. Putting a floating journal entry on the board is similar to holding up one chess piece to the learner and explaining how you will move that chess piece during a game without showing the board on which the peace will move. If we have plaid enough chess to visual the board, this is fine, but we will need to have clocked in a lot of chess hours for this to work. Books often try to present shorter accounting problems to make things easier and to format the material for tests, but the only way to shorten problems is usually to remove the trial balance, to remove the board. It is often good practice to work longer problems that have a trial balance but which also break the accounting concepts into small peaces so we can learn them one step at a time while still seeing the big picture. It also helps to use Excel and preformatted worksheets because they are more transparent than a database program. In other words, it is easier to see the connection on an Excel worksheet then on a database program. For more accounting information see website. http://accountinginstruction.info/

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