Accounting uses common language in specific and uncommon ways

Many students unfamiliar with accounting believe they need good numeracy skills. This is true, but they also need good language skills.

Knowledge domains such as science and technology use specialised words and language to describe phenomena. Students learn to use this language in the context of its domain.

Accounting does not. Accounting language uses common words in specific and uncommon ways, which is a cause of confusion and difficulty for students. Consider these examples:

  • Equity is not valuable
  • Income is not cash received (and doesn’t come in)
  • Prepaid expenses are not expenses
  • Deferred revenue is not revenue
  • Expenses are not the same as expenditure

Accounting Cafe takes the language issue seriously and never assumes a prior understanding of words and terms. To provide a clearer understanding for students, we challenge the terms and definitions provided by regulators and textbooks.

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Accounting is not just bean-counting; it creates money

This is a brief introduction to the nature of money and its relationship with accounting. It explains how accounting creates money. This is a fun way to introduce accounting, making learners think differently about accounting. Accounting isn’t just about counting beans — it makes them too. It may be hard…Read more

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face of a confused woman pressing her hands into her cheeks.

Top 5 most confusing things about accounting

At Accounting Cafe we’re discussing how we can clear up the confusing things about accounting. Terms that we take for granted are confusing for students. Make their learning journey faster and easier using these simple tips. Here are our top 5 most confusing things about accounting: 1. The most valuable…Read more

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Accounting Cafe

Goodwill explained in three words

Goodwill represents those ‘unidentified flying assets’ that can’t be individually identified. Goodwill is one of those slippery concepts that accounting students can find confusing. Accounting for it brings the student in front of a number of difficult questions and misconceptions in accounting, such as the nature of an asset and the…Read more

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DEAD CLIC: it’s time to kill it off

Let’s be clear. Nobody learns the fundamentals of accounting by using DEAD CLIC. Mnemonics may have their place, but this isn’t one to keep. Let’s kill it off. A friend told me that when she was learning accounting, she dared to ask, “Why do debits increase both expenses and assets?”…Read more

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