“Each learning area has its own language or languages. As students discover how to use them, they find they are able to think in different ways, access new areas of knowledge, and see their world from new perspectives.”
The New Zealand Curriculum, p. 16
What would you think of the word accounting when you first heard about it? Some might say that accounting is a subject that combines several different fields like mathematics and statistics. Or else even might say that accounting is all about number crunching. However, the more I learned into this subject, the more I realized that accounting is in fact a study of language. Just like anything else, for example, computer science is a language of technology in which people could read and write through computer programming in order to create or interpret the behavior of machines. Dancing is a language of soul by body movement and it has the ability to portray feelings in a dancer and convey them to the audience. Chemistry is a language of natural and it interprets the natural phenomenon to people in the form of complex formula and chemical elements. As I pursued my study in accounting major in Michigan State University, I have come to realized that this subject offered me not only the detective and analysis skill, but also broaden my view in a business perspective which brings me into a new vision. And that’s why I rather describe accounting as a language of business which involves of literacy learning. Accounting literacy allows people to analyze the implication behind the big data, and to arrange the company in a more efficient way.
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It all started from the young age. My father has been working in the accounting and auditing field for two decades, and my mother teaches commercial laws and economics at a local community college. Therefore, my life path was influenced and altered by these two of the closest people in the world to me. When I was young, the school did not offer any economics-related courses, and the knowledge in this field I could grasp is not that comprehensive enough. Yet I have absolutely interested in math learning ever since my father told me that math is not only about numbers, but the way to understand the world around us. Even after attending college, a lot of students were so excited to get rid of math because they found math is absolutely abstruse and boring since they were in middle school. If we think of math is simply just “solving problems”, we might found it hard and abstract. Indeed, learning math allows us to explore the relationship within data, quantities and space, and to express this relationship in ways of making a difference in the world. To me, mathematics is an important fundamental step of pursuing my interest in accounting.
Most of people will say that an accountant makes a good living, has abundance of security on his/ her job, and often claim that a good accountant deserves a good reputation and salary. However, some typical stereotypes treat the career of accounting as more like a math geeks who sitting in chairs and trying to figure out the meaning behind the steams of numbers and endless calculations. Most of the false impression treats accounting as a study that has nothing to do with writing. In fact, accounting do not only have the function of managing money and making the decision of the financial flow, but also involves in writing. It is essential for an accountant to possess the skill of written communication. For instance, an accountant might be assigned to write in the form of a memo, a client letter, or a position paper. And a lot of things should be concerned such as the languages and the audience, which could be quite different.
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After the first year of studying accounting in here in MSU, I comprehend the deep meanings behind numbers in ways of understanding accounting literacy. When reading terminologies like GDP and PMI on the newspaper, I tried to connect the data to the changes in my surroundings. When reviewing balance sheets and accounting source documents samples, I attempted to see the big picture of business operations so as to detect potential irregularities. Because accounting is a fundamental part of business, good communication skills are vital in this field. Students are able to learn that from doing basic accounting practices such as preparing budget, recording payroll and reporting bills, etc. When doing a case study (or a simulation), students are often asked to write a memo or brief report as response. In the real career life, accountants are required to write footnotes after they record accounts in the journal. They all need to be presented properly to the manager and clients to make sure that they understand the reports. After accounting majored students graduated from college, the recruiters are not only looking for their grades on each courses they took; the hiring companies care more about what abilities and skills graduates have and how they will benefit the companies.
Most big accounting firms expect high technical ability and educational level from their new hires. Good writing skills are imperative to the success in accounting. For example, big public accounting firms tend to hire those who passed the certified public accountant exam (CPA). And the CPA Exam requires the candidates to demonstrate their writing skills. “One of the top five core competencies CPA wants to demonstrate, Communication and Leadership Skills, is the ability to give and exchange information within meaningful context and with appropriate delivery and interpersonal skills. These core values and competencies are instrumental in providing the five core services outlined in the CPA Vision Project: Assurance and Information Integrity, Management Consulting and Performance Management, Technology Services, Financial Planning, and International Services”. ()
Numerous surveys of accounting professionals have established the importance of writing skills for accounting graduates, and challenge business schools to revise curricula accordingly ( ). In this case, colleges started arranging and planning for students’ careers by having different courses and programs to help students earn credits, get some practice for the examination, and meet the high expectation of employers. In Michigan State University, many accounting core courses are offered, and specifically, both Financial Accounting (ACC201) and Managerial Accounting (ACC202) are prerequisites for undergraduate students in business school. In addition, a writing class (WRA) is just as important as accounting core courses. Writing literacy allows accounting students to strive for a higher level of career achievement and to make them ready for accounting profession. Not only does the accounting program in MSU allow them to sit for the CPA exam but also helps them to be familiar with business step-by-step. Thus I seek further education on pertaining topics as a prospective undergraduate, so one day I can personally make a difference on my future career like my parents do.
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