A degree in accounting is a great way to ensure that you are on the path to a stable career with plenty of opportunities for advancement and promotions. No matter what the state of the economy is, accountants are always in demand. The mistake many prospective accounting students make is that they believe they must be excellent at maths. While accounting is all about numbers, there is really no need for an accounting student to be a math whiz. Let us take a look at the differences between maths and accounting.
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Despite what the common perceptions are of maths, most mathematicians will think of their field as more of an art than a science. Mathematicians will regularly use formulas and numbers to bring about certain conclusions. There is no pattern to what mathematics equations will be needed, and the subject is a great deal vaguer than what some imagine.
If ever there was an exact science, it would be accounting. It uses numbers and set mathematical formulas to get answers to certain questions. These formulas do not vary. For example, if you want to come up with the balance sheet of a company, you will always follow the same steps and use the same mathematics formulas. In that sense, accounting is an extremely precise and clear cut subject.
Similarities and Differences:
While both accounting and maths rely on numbers, equations and certain problems that must be solved, the approaches to both subjects could not be more different. There is a defined purpose to everything that you will do in the accounting field. These formulas are a means to a set end. Whereas in mathematics, the picture is vague and unclear. Formulas can be used to solve anything from the amount of fuel required for a plane or how long it will take for a human to reach the moon on a shuttle.
To take a simpler example, look at the difference between a cowboy and a horse jockey. The cowboy will be riding a horse to perform various tasks, while the horse jockey is simply interested in getting that horse from point A to point B as fast as possible. Both are using a horse, but they are doing very different things.
Do you Need Math Knowledge for Accounting?
A certain amount of math is required to be an accountant, but only the very basics. If you are aware of the principles involved in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, you already have enough math knowledge to be an accountant. There is limited algebra involved, but nothing more. There is no need to know integrals, differentials, or any other complicated mathematics properties and/or equations.
Accountants will spend more time concerning themselves with information such as tax laws, financial records, and other fiscal terms. They will memorize the basic accounting formulas they need to know, and refer to them when they are completing their work. Almost all accounting work is now done on computers and Excel spreadsheets, which means even less math work for accountants.
As long as you are an organized individual, pay great attention to detail, are able to handle a great deal of work in a short space of time, and do not have a problem crunching numbers, you will do just fine as an accountant. The notion that an accountant needs to be some sort of mathematics genius is completely false. Maths students have a deep understanding of complex mathematical principles, and have the ability to problem solve and use deductive reasoning in a theoretical/abstract manner. None of these qualities are necessary in accountants.