5 Important Steps to Decipher an Accounting Assignment
What is important to remember when deciphering an assignment in accounting is that you should have the basic accounting concepts at your fingertips. These ensure that the application when it comes to writing your paper is much easier. There are generally accepted accounting principles (GAAPs) that will govern most accounting problems and their solutions.
The formatting and general structure of accounting assignments do not differ much from that of other papers you will write at the college level. The main body and concepts applied are what bring along the difference.
1. Read through your assignment instructions
The first step in writing your accounting assignment is to read through the prompt or set of instructions given in the assignment. Reading through the instructions gives you an idea of what is needed of you in the paper, as well as what tools you will need to employ for proper execution. It will allow you to determine what kind of assignment it is, whether a research paper, an application of concepts assignment or mathematical problems to be solved.Instructions inform you of what the purpose of your assignment is. For example, an application paper on how a business can use financial ratios to monitor performance will need different execution from one requiring you to create a balance sheet. Reading through the assignment will determine what kind of research you need to do, and what kind of materials you will need, be it class notes or other research papers. It will allow you to plan in terms of the time needed to execute the paper as well as ask for clarification from your instructor in case anything is unclear. Planning is key to submitting a well-done paper on time.
2. Understand and Review Your Topic
To be able to decipher your assignment, it is important to understand your assigned topic. While reading the instructions gives you an overview of how your paper will come to be, understanding your topic guides your research. Define any technical terms that are in your topic to make it easier to dissect them once you begin writing. For example, if your research paper is about say, the going concern of a company, define from your class notes what that means or from your understanding of the concept.
Having an understanding of what your topic requires of you will make the research easier since you know what to look for. For mathematical problems or more technical ones, try to solve them as much as you can before you start your research. This can be a way for you to learn and understand concepts even better. The best way to start your assignment would be to try writing in your own words what you think of the assignment. That way, you can easily identify pieces of your research that are more relevant to your assignment. It will also be relevant in creating the outline of your assignment.
3. Create an outline for your assignment
When writing, having an outline helps you keep track of the information in your assignment. Especially for research papers where you have large tracks of information, having an outline will help you organize it. Creating an outline also aids the writing process by;
- Helping you organize your ideas
- Helping you have a logical format for the material to use
- Organizing the relationship between ideas in your writing
- Having an orderly overview of your writing
For example, when preparing financial statements, one is derived from the other, i.e. you can only prepare a cash flow statement once you have a balance sheet and an Income statement. For this reason, having an outline of your expected work will help you have an easier flow when you begin writing.
If your paper is mainly text on the application of accounting concepts, then your outline will dictate what research you need to put in for the different sections of your paper. A paper with purely mathematical problems and equations requires an outline, as it will enable you to predetermine what tools you will need to execute them, like mathematical tables and calculators.
4. Do your research
Once you have the outline, research is needed to ensure that every concept represented in your assignment is credible. The research can be from other academic papers previously written, notes taken in class, web sources, and books. Ensure that you only pick concepts from sources that are credible. Accounting is mainly governed by International Accounting Standards (IASs) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) so that is a good place to start your research.
Take your time when researching as it eases the whole writing process. Ensure that the information you choose to use in the assignment is relevant to the topic you are writing on and that it is also reliable. When researching mathematical problems, choose sources that give examples of how to solve them for ease of solving your won. For example, if your assignment involves the use of financial ratios, choose sources that indicate the formulas for this, as well as a practical example of how to use the said formula. This makes it so that you make fewer errors when you begin the writing process.
5. Write your assignment
Most assignments at the college level take the same format, i.e. the introduction, body, conclusion, and references if any. Accounting is no different. For the perfect assignment, writing should take several drafts. The first draft will be where you write down all the research you have, paraphrasing the ideas you got to ensure they are original. The first draft also involves filling out the outline you had created. It is the first take at the accounting problems given, indicating accounting formulas where necessary and taking the first crack at solving them. When writing the first draft, you do not have to check for grammar and punctuation problems or the correctness of your sentences. It is mainly about putting the ideas gotten on paper.
Once the first draft is created, the next step in the writing process is to revise it. Going through your paper again confirms that your writing is correct and that it answers the assignment question. Revising your work is a step that should not be skipped. It allows you to correct errors in your writing if any. Here is where you determine whether the ideas presented in your paper have a flow in them. Most concepts in accounting follow a specific flow. For example, the format of most financial statements such as balance sheets, income statements, and cashflows are constant. Make sure to revise your draft to ensure that this is followed.
6. Review your workReviewing involves proofreading your document to check for errors. The main principle to apply when proofreading your work is to have a list of what you are looking for. That is, what did the assignment require of you, how was it supposed to be presented, and what questions needed to be answered? Ensure that your final assignment has the correct essay structure, font and font size, and format and that it follows the stated referencing style. This is also the point where you go back to the instructions previously issued as they give out the necessary way to format of your work.
Employ online resources that check for grammar and spelling, as well as the correctness and clarity of your work. Ensure that there are necessary references in the text of your work where you may have paraphrased another author’s work as well as at the end of your document. Reviewing will also enable you to check the readability of your assignment. Make sure that what you submit is properly arranged to make it easier for your instructor to follow the flow of your work.