What should i know before starting an accounting degree?

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ibr82
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Hello, I would like to do an accounting degree at university next year but I have very little/no basic knowledge about it. What should I know and understand before applying and starting the degree? Are there any good books that would help?
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MindMax2000
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Things I would recommend you to know:

  • There's little maths involved, unless you have a stats module/doing a BSc; then you might need to know AS Level maths
  • Knowing how to use Excel is good (there is the Microsoft Office Specialist qualification you can look into), especially for the job (learning about accounting software will help tremendously)
  • It's more about how to allocate and analyse costs than doing complicated maths
  • Look at what sort of accounting job you want, as it will help you decide which modules to take and what sort of professional accounting qualification to go for; the modules you choose will allow you exemptions for certain modules
  • You need high A Level grades and at least a 2:1 to get into most grad programs
  • Try to get an internship and sign up for insight weeks when possible; deadlines are at the end December during your first year - failing this, try to work for an employer somewhere over the summer as a bookkeeper
  • When applying for graduate roles, you will be competing against people who have never studied accounting before, but when to the best universities in the country with high grades
  • Typical employers graduates tend to look for are the Big 4 accounting firms, and places tend to be competitive - look at the job descriptions before applying, know what they are, and try to match them up with your module options
  • Most accounting degrees don't require you to do Maths A Level, but you might want to check with the individual uni and degree program
  • Learn how to do double entry bookkeeping, as this will help with some of the coursework as well as work - you want to pick up a bookkeeping book that trains you from beginner all the way up to getting the equivalent of getting a professional bookkeeping Level 4 qualification e.g. AAT, IAB; there are a few YouTube videos that would be useful for this
  • Most accounting degrees will teach you from the ground up, as many people are enrolled even when they don't have the same or relevant A Levels
  • Understand the marking criteria at university - this is different from A Levels - read How to Write Great Essays by Peter Levin should you need to
  • Work hard and don't stop working hard - your grades can suffer because of this; try to score a 1st class during your second year, so you won't have to work extremely hard in the 3rd to get the 2:1
  • In all likelihood, you will be using the following books: The Principles of Macroeconomics by Gregory Mankiw, and Cost Accounting by Colin Drury (the 2 major books that I would consider buying; the others I would just use at the library)
  • Read the recommended further reading where possible, as it's likely your assignments will be based on the recommended reading
  • Layout of your answer will be pivotal in how you will be marked
  • Do not use a Dummies book or Wikipedia as references, even though they might do a better job than most books on the subject - use whatever material you can find in the library, and use journal articles where possible, especially if there is recent research on the topic
  • Reading in academia means selective reading - only read bits that are relevant to what you need to know
  • You don't need an accounting degree to get into accounting as a profession
  • Go through as many practice questions with good accounting books from the university library as possible as revision
  • Network with accountants and people in accounting as much as possible, before, during, and after uni
  • If your degree allows you to choose options outside of the accounting department, I'd try a language at beginner's level that you haven't done before. However, if you're strictly focused on getting as many exemptions as you can, then it's up to you, so long you get high grades. If you know you will be weak or won't like certain modules, then try not to do them during your degree, as it can drag down your grades.
  • Accountancy Age is a free magazine subscription you can look into
  • Speak to someone in accounting with hiring experience regarding your CV before sending it off to employers - it's key it doesn't give the impression that you don't know what you want and you're just applying for any job at any company
  • If you have a full professional accounting qualification, you can teach accounting at university level i.e. it equates to a master's in accounting, but a master's in accounting won't equate to a full professional accounting qualification
Let me know if you have any specific questions.
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ibr82
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(Original post by MindMax2000)
Things I would recommend you to know:

  • There's little maths involved, unless you have a stats module/doing a BSc; then you might need to know AS Level maths
  • Knowing how to use Excel is good (there is the Microsoft Office Specialist qualification you can look into), especially for the job (learning about accounting software will help tremendously)
  • It's more about how to allocate and analyse costs than doing complicated maths
  • Look at what sort of accounting job you want, as it will help you decide which modules to take and what sort of professional accounting qualification to go for; the modules you choose will allow you exemptions for certain modules
  • You need high A Level grades and at least a 2:1 to get into most grad programs
  • Try to get an internship and sign up for insight weeks when possible; deadlines are at the end December during your first year - failing this, try to work for an employer somewhere over the summer as a bookkeeper
  • When applying for graduate roles, you will be competing against people who have never studied accounting before, but when to the best universities in the country with high grades
  • Typical employers graduates tend to look for are the Big 4 accounting firms, and places tend to be competitive - look at the job descriptions before applying, know what they are, and try to match them up with your module options
  • Most accounting degrees don't require you to do Maths A Level, but you might want to check with the individual uni and degree program
  • Learn how to do double entry bookkeeping, as this will help with some of the coursework as well as work - you want to pick up a bookkeeping book that trains you from beginner all the way up to getting the equivalent of getting a professional bookkeeping Level 4 qualification e.g. AAT, IAB; there are a few YouTube videos that would be useful for this
  • Most accounting degrees will teach you from the ground up, as many people are enrolled even when they don't have the same or relevant A Levels
  • Understand the marking criteria at university - this is different from A Levels - read How to Write Great Essays by Peter Levin should you need to
  • Work hard and don't stop working hard - your grades can suffer because of this; try to score a 1st class during your second year, so you won't have to work extremely hard in the 3rd to get the 2:1
  • In all likelihood, you will be using the following books: The Principles of Macroeconomics by Gregory Mankiw, and Cost Accounting by Colin Drury (the 2 major books that I would consider buying; the others I would just use at the library)
  • Read the recommended further reading where possible, as it's likely your assignments will be based on the recommended reading
  • Layout of your answer will be pivotal in how you will be marked
  • Do not use a Dummies book or Wikipedia as references, even though they might do a better job than most books on the subject - use whatever material you can find in the library, and use journal articles where possible, especially if there is recent research on the topic
  • Reading in academia means selective reading - only read bits that are relevant to what you need to know
  • You don't need an accounting degree to get into accounting as a profession
  • Go through as many practice questions with good accounting books from the university library as possible as revision
  • Network with accountants and people in accounting as much as possible, before, during, and after uni
  • If your degree allows you to choose options outside of the accounting department, I'd try a language at beginner's level that you haven't done before. However, if you're strictly focused on getting as many exemptions as you can, then it's up to you, so long you get high grades. If you know you will be weak or won't like certain modules, then try not to do them during your degree, as it can drag down your grades.
  • Accountancy Age is a free magazine subscription you can look into
  • Speak to someone in accounting with hiring experience regarding your CV before sending it off to employers - it's key it doesn't give the impression that you don't know what you want and you're just applying for any job at any company
  • If you have a full professional accounting qualification, you can teach accounting at university level i.e. it equates to a master's in accounting, but a master's in accounting won't equate to a full professional accounting qualification
Let me know if you have any specific questions.
Thank you so much that helped alot. Im writing my personal statement soon and i have no work experience. Also i have low predicted grades so when applying to uni they will probably just deny me straight away,so could i take a gap year and apply with my real grades next year? I would like to focus on getting good grades, take a gap year and do some work experience,write a good personal statement and apply next year if thats possible.
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MindMax2000
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My recommendation has always been if you can get better grades, wait another year, or resit the year. Most employers will also look at your A Level grades, if you had them. Typical minimum grades for some employers would be BBB, but some roles require AAA or A*s.

Having said that, you can also go to uni after doing an AAT course, as they would accept that in place of A Levels with some unis (you need to check yourself). To become a qualified bookkeeper, you typically need a year's experience post qualification. If an apprenticeship helps, it's all good.
Also, each level of the AAT is usually supposed to last one year's of study, but I think you can do them intensively with some companies (in my opinion, AAT Levels 1-4 shouldn't take more than 6 months if you work at it like crazy).
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