Undergraduate Blog

Common Myths and Frequently Asked Questions about Financial (COMM 2010) and Managerial Accounting (COMM 2020)

Kathryn, a McIntire Ambassador and Accounting TA, dispels the myths surrounding the two accounting prerequisite courses.

student looks at laptop

Students study in the Reading Room.

“Financial Accounting” and “Managerial Accounting” are both taught online. For many students, this will be their first experience with an online class. This new experience seems to cause stress and uncertainty. To help alleviate any anxiousness, I have addressed common myths about the courses and answered questions we frequently receive about accounting:

“The most important McIntire prerequisites are the accounting classes.”
This is a myth many students have heard and may cause unnecessary stress to many of them. This is not true. All McIntire applications are evaluated holistically! No one grade will make or break your application. All of the courses matter in your application, but so does your essay as well as your activities. The admissions committee is creating a class that is diverse in experience, intellectually curious, highly engaged, and emotionally intelligent. These considerations cannot be seen just in a student’s accounting grade, even if it is an A. If the accounting class does not go well, do not be discouraged. There are other parts of your application that matter too!

“Accounting is the hardest McIntire prerequisite.”
Accounting has received a bad reputation for being a challenging class. All students are different. Naturally, some students will enjoy accounting, and others will not, just like with any other class. Every student is different and has different strengths. For students who find they are struggling with accounting, there are many resources available to help!

When should I take accounting?
Most students will take “Financial Accounting” in the fall of their second year, followed by “Managerial Accounting” in the spring. But you do not have to follow this pattern if it does not work with your schedule. It is worth considering that “Managerial Accounting” slightly builds off of “Financial Accounting,” so it might be appropriate to take them back to back. Having a long summer break in between the two classes might cause students to lose some of their accounting knowledge.

Some students also worry about not having managerial accounting completed by the time they submit their application. It is okay if a student has not completed all of the prerequisites before submitting their application. All of the prerequisites just need to be completed before enrollment in McIntire.

Can I take accounting over the summer?
Both of the accounting classes are available over the summer. When students are deciding if they should take accounting (or any prerequisite) over the summer, they should consider why they are doing so. Is it because they cannot fit the class in their schedule, or is it because they want more time to devote to the class? The admissions committee wants to see students take the prerequisites during a full course load (when possible). This provides the committee with an opportunity to see how students manage courses while having the other demands of a regular semester. If these courses really do not fit in your schedule, do not stress. Taking them over the summer will not break your application!

How do assignments in online accounting work?
Every week, students are assigned one (sometimes two) chapters to learn. First, students read the corresponding chapter in their online textbook. Then, Professor Martin posts videos that review key points in the chapter as well as work through problems for students to watch. Students work through a set of online practice and homework problems that are due Sunday evening. There are three exams in the course–two midterms and a final. In the weeks leading up to exams, students are encouraged to reread chapters and rework problems. Students also have access to old exams. Students have a window of two days to complete the exam online through Examity, an online proctor site that allows students to be monitored by a proctor to ensure all exams are fair, and the integrity of the exam is not compromised.

What type of resources are available for accounting help?
There are many resources available for students who need help in either accounting class. A team of TA’s holds office hours five days a week. Students can ask questions and receive help with assignments. Professor Martin also holds office hours and a weekly review session, during which he goes over important parts of the assigned chapter. Students may also submit questions at any time via Piazza, and a TA will quickly respond. The week of exams, there are also additional office hours and review sessions for students to attend.

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