If you’re considering an accounting career even though you’re still in high school, you want to start preparing yourself for success as soon as you can. While high school accounting classes are often criticized for their lax standards, they are still among the best high school courses for aspiring accountants. Devoted students can learn important principles from high school accounting courses that will help them in their future careers and in managing their personal finances.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of High School Accounting Courses
A high school accounting class is a great way to become familiar with the basic principles and practices of accounting. These courses introduce students to financial statements and the importance of documenting transactions, often for the first time. Some experts in accounting education, however, fear that the typical high school accounting class is too basic and too easy – so much so that students find them boring and lose interest in the course and, perhaps, even the career.
Three Important Principles in High School Accounting Classes
Despite the criticisms of high school accounting courses, these classes can provide a great deal of value to students who are considering an accounting major and career. Three common takeaways from high school accounting classes, in particular, can help shape a student’s future, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- For many students, a high school accounting course is the first exposure to an income statement. Learning how to report profits and losses is essential not only to developing a basic understanding of accounting principles, but also to learning the skills to manage business and personal financial decisions. Understanding the value and purpose of an income statement can also help students gain a better perspective on the personal money management skills needed to balance a household budget.
- Like income statements, balance sheets have a place in both business and personal finances, and learning about them in high school accounting courses is a big advantage. Students learn the definitions of assets, equity and liabilities and how each affects an individual’s or business’s net worth.
- In high school, many students may not have access to other forms of currency besides cash – like credit cards – but they certainly know those things exist. Now, before many other kinds of assets enter the picture, is the perfect time for students to lean the expression “cash is king.” By taking this advice to heart, high school students can understand the importance of liquid assets and how to manage cash to avoid unnecessary debt – an important concept for them to know both for their personal money management and for helping their future accounting clients.
The coursework in a high school accounting class might not be as rigorous or interesting as students would like, but it can provide the foundation you need to excel at the more challenging and thought-provoking work you will do in your college accounting classes and throughout your accounting career.