Our international guest blogger, Crystal, discusses how learning the language of accounting is similar to learning a foreign language.
My friend Julia just started her MBA journey. She was very worried about accounting before she started but she recently told me that she enjoys accounting a lot. This makes me happy to hear because the field of accounting is an important part of the business world and learning the basics of accounting can be beneficial to anyone wanting a better understanding of how business economy works.
I still remember one morning in college when Professor Xie, a famous Chinese accounting scholar and my first accounting professor, discussed the beauty of accounting in my first accounting class. I dont remember everything he said during the lecture, but one point he made stuck with me: accounting is a language that communicates business information in a very precise and concise way.
Imagine a world without accounting. How much time would it take for a person to understand what is going on in a business? How would a person recognize financial risks or abnormal changes in an efficient way? How would an investor or a creditor compare different entities from a comparable standpoint? Without accounting knowledge, the business world would be completely lost.
I also believe that studying accounting is very similar to learning a new language. First you must learn a few terms and understand their meanings, then you familiarize yourself with scenarios where you would use those terms. You then move towards learning basic principles or rules that apply to these terms and then use them until you understand their context and meaning.
Also, just like learning a language, it takes time to understand how accounting works in the real world. With enough practice, its possible to gain a full understanding of the basic accounting rules in order to apply them to every day situations. As with any new language, eventually, the accounting terms and applications will become second nature to you.