My head's about to explode...
October 28, 2007 5:20 PM   Subscribe

Can someone please point me in the right direction to find practice test papers for Financial Accounting? (Balance Sheets, Income Statements, Statements of Returns on Equity, Cash Flow Statements, Depreciation, Ratios, etc. etc.) Assorted business schools worries inside.

Coming from a liberal arts academic background, I'm starting to really feel the pressure from my recently-started international business masters and get the impression I need to study ten times as hard as my classmates, most of whom have studied the subject at undergraduate level. At the moment, I'm fretting over Financial Accounting. Please help me to understand this subject!

Extra points for whoever can help me with Corporate Finance...

I was never strong at mathematics in school. Though I'm pretty good at mental arithmetic, I found the subject boring and didn't pay attention in class. Now I'm faced with the daunting task of getting to grips with Corporate Finance and have some decent books to help me, all of which cheerfully claim that the author needs no prior knowledge of Finance, just a knowledge of algebra! At the risk of appearing extremely dumb... I can't remember any algebra! What do I need to learn in order to understand the nimiety of equations by which I'm beginning to feel very overwhelmed?
posted by Zé Pequeno to Education (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: "author" should, of course, be "reader".

PS. I realise many people will, perhaps, think I'm out of my depth in a business school, given these apparent deficiencies; but I'm determined to do well in this subject, so please cut me a little slack!
posted by Zé Pequeno at 5:23 PM on October 28, 2007

Best answer: The biggest thing to remember: accounting is not paticularly hard, the concepts are not hard to grasp, but because most people have had no accounting experience it is not intuitive. It requires studying the books. I've had higher level math classes I've studied less than some of my accounting classes.

One of the things I've advised friends going into b-school from a non-business background is to throw out pre-conceived notions of concepts like "credit" and "debit." How we internalize what these words mean in our day-to-day lives is often opposite of how they appear on the books. Credit = money in, debit = money out.

It also helps to realize that accounting is no more than tools to analyze what is going on with a company. Try to figure out what is happening with cash flows, why it is important that it is being counted and what effects it might have on other parts.

Mathematics really don't go beyond the 2 + x = 5, at least not at anything you're likely to encounter.

Everyone hates financial accounting. It is boring and hard to grasp in a classroom setting. It is one of those things that are easier to comprehend when you are actually in a situation that requires accounting and it comes naturally. Of course if you apply yourself, you should do fine. They should have given you a little booklet that is a crash course. Learn it, memorize it, make it your bible.
posted by geoff. at 6:08 PM on October 28, 2007

Oh, I recommend reading up on Enron and forensic accounting. It is sexy, and it is how I got through accounting classes. I kept thinking to myself, "how can I cook these books?" and then I'd learn the material.
posted by geoff. at 6:09 PM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Everyone hates financial accounting.

Not me. I love financial accounting--it's the only thing keeping me sane in this chaotic world.

Only in financial accounting is there truly and literally balance.

For every dollar in assets there is a dollar in equity or liabilities. For every credit, there is an equal and opposite debit.

Life is war, poverty, disease, injustice. But on a balance sheet, there is order and equilibrium.

No transaction is too complicated to upset my financial statements. Goodwill, minority interest and equity accounting are my forms of meditation.

In my financial models, I subtract Total Liabilities & Shareholders' Equity from Total Assets and, because I have discipline along with my faith, the result is always 0.000. With every iteration of that calculation, I come closer to eternal peace.
posted by mullacc at 6:56 PM on October 28, 2007 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Financial accounting - thing to remember is that it is based on a set of rules - learn them, apply them consistently and don't overanalyse it. You'll be surprised that even if you don't always understand why when you first learn this stuff if you are consistent you're not going to be far out a lot of the time. Think times tables...

Corporate finance - I suggest you start by reading the text between the equations. Find out exactly what your exam requirements are - you may not have to manipulate these equations...

once you know what is required work out what you need to know to do what is required. This may entail getting a business maths textbook and working through it to come to terms with the concepts.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:22 AM on October 29, 2007

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