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Essay in Accounting: Complete Writing Guide

Looking for effective strategies to approach an accounting essay?

Digital technologies have changed the role of accounting and now computers do a lot of bookkeeping work which we used to think as “accounting”. Being an expert in the financial theory is not enough to become a good accountant and have a successful career. These days, finance and accounting professionals devote significant time to documenting the results of research, analysis, and procedures they performed. Written communication is vital in accounting and finance, and companies value employees that are experts in effective business writing because even a well-executed analysis that is based on general accounting principles and laws and done with appropriate tools can lose its value if the findings were not effectively summarized and communicated in a final document.

That’s why written assignments are incorporated into accounting courses and include different types of essays and research papers. The main purpose of written tasks for accounting students is to teach them to communicate in writing in a manner that is appropriate to the business. When writing essays in accounting, students learn important skills that are necessary for success in their professional careers such as selection of relevant information, synthesis, description, summary, answering a question, explanation, argument, proper structure, formal style, and more. These skills will be useful in business writing that may include writing memos, emails, letters, audit reports etc.

In this article, you will find a complete guide on how to write an essay in accounting. We will discuss how to analyze your prompt and how to choose a topic for your essay, suggest some good topic ideas, give advice on how to organize each stage of the research and writing process and explain how to structure your essay and make an outline. Besides, we will provide you with some useful tips on writing accounting essay parts, editing, and proofreading.

Steps in Writing an Accounting Essay

An accounting essay is a piece of writing that answers a certain prompt or a question. It shows how well you understand your basic course material, how deep was your research on the essay’s topic, and how analytical you were in choosing information and evidence for your essay and in evaluating the material that you used.

When writing your essay, you should follow the following key steps:

  • Analyze the prompt given by your instructor or choose your topic;
  • Do a research and gather information;
  • Write your thesis statement and make an outline;
  • Write a draft of your essay;
  • Revise your essay (edit and proofread).

How to Analyze Your Prompt

If the topic for your essay or essay prompt was given by your professor, you should analyze it to understand what kind of essay you have to write and what to focus your reading on. It’s a very important step that will help you in doing research and making a working outline.
You should read the essay prompt and underline the process words to understand what you are required to do, for example, discuss, outline, analyze, explain or compare and contrast etc. Then, you should analyze the key concepts of your prompt to understand what you are to write about. Some essay questions may also have limiting words that will tell you what material is relevant to your writing.

How to Choose a Good Topic for an Essay in Accounting

Choosing a topic for an essay might be challenging for the majority of students but this essential step has a great impact on the outcome of your writing. The easiest way to find topic ideas is to consult a textbook for your accounting class and look through a table of contents to find some topics or key terms that you can use for searching the databases in the university library or online.

You can also look for ideas in online daily sources and try to find some interesting information that may spark your own imagination. A good idea is to find a topic that is not familiar to you but you wish to know more about it. Try to find a topic that you are interested in because, in this case, you will enjoy doing research and writing and will work more productively.
You should evaluate the potential topic and determine if you can find enough sources to do a research and gather relevant examples to prove your arguments. If your topic is too broad, you should narrow it to a manageable size that you can address in your essay (here you should take into account the essay’s length).

Accounting Essay Topics

Here are some interesting accounting essay topic ideas for your inspiration.

  1. Decision Making Approaches in Accounting
  2. What is the Difference between Financial Accounting and Management Accounting?
  3. Credit Risk Assessment Strategies
  4. Pros and Cons of IFRS
  5. Tax Concessions for Small Companies
  6. Disadvantages and Advantages of Budgeting
  7. Formats of Financial Statements for Different Businesses
  8. Factors that Influence Dividend Policy
  9. Risks of e-Banking
  10. Types of Earnings Management

Doing Research and Planning your Essay in Accounting

After you have chosen your topic it’s time to do a research. You should do a lot of reading for your research because the content of your essay, particularly your thesis statement and your arguments, rely on scientific works of other researchers and writers. You can start with reading your lecture notes and relevant chapters in your textbook as well as use recommended reading list given by your instructor. You can also check the catalog of your university library and look for the latest information on the internet.

You should manage your time productively and use skimming and scanning techniques to determine if the texts are useful and are worth reading them in detail.

Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?
  • Use scanning when you need to find a specific term, a date or a name. When scanning, you don’t actually read the text, but look for some specific item. In this way, you can also identify which sections of longer texts are important for your research.
  • The purpose of skimming is to get an overall impression of the text. To do that, you should read the title, the first and the last paragraphs, and the first sentence in several body paragraphs. You can also look at some tables or graphics to decide if the text is relevant to your topic and prepare yourself for a detailed reading to make it more meaningful.

These techniques will save you a lot of time and help you immerse in your topic. After you have defined the most relevant sources, you should read them carefully and make notes of the most valuable ideas which you can cite or paraphrase in your essay with proper referencing. At the end of the research process, you will have a comprehensive understanding of your topic and will be able to express your own ideas, give arguments and criticism.

How to Organize Your Accounting Essay

There is no specific template for an accounting essay and like many other business papers, your essay should have a standard structure that includes an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Plan your essay and make a working outline. First, you should write a thesis statement to define the idea that you are going to argue in your essay. Then think about the structure of the body paragraphs. Each paragraph should contain one main point and consist of:

  • a topic sentence which states the subject of a paragraph;
  • supporting sentences that define and explain the major point and support it with relevant examples;
  • concluding and linking sentences that introduce the subject of the next paragraph and give your readers an idea of where the discussion will lead them.

Last, you should think about the conclusion where you will sum up your argument and give an answer to your research question. When making an outline, you need to structure sections of your future essay in detail because it will help you develop your argument when you start writing.

How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

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A strong thesis statement is important for your readers because it helps them understand your main point and it is crucial for you because it helps you organize your argument more effectively. Practically any essay needs a thesis statement – the exception is the taxation essay where you are asked to explain how a particular tax issue works. In this case, you may just provide a summary of the necessary information.

Most essay assignments in accounting include a question that your instructor is asking you to address. When developing a thesis statement, you have to provide an answer to this question. Your thesis should summarize the most important points of your accounting essay clearly and in a simple way. You should also present your original opinion about the essay’s topic and establish a tone appropriate to your purpose, topic, and audience.

Structure of an Accounting Essay

Introduction

The introduction of an accounting essay should begin with more general points and end with more specific points. The length of this part of an essay depends on the total word limit and generally, it is about 10-20% of the whole essay’s length. First, you should grab your reader’s attention and present the exact subject of your essay, explaining its significance and specifying author’s goals. You should include a thesis statement (hypothesis) and present a brief description of what you intend to argue. You should also briefly outline the structure of your essay.

Body

In the body of your essay, you need to present your argument in a series of linked paragraphs logically and coherently. In this part, you show the results of your research, authoritative quotes, relevant examples, and convincing evidence. If your research question has more than one part, you should answer each part of the question in a separate paragraph.

Conclusion

The conclusion should provide your audience with a summary of the key moments of your argument and create a feeling of closing or rounding the discussion by giving a broad statement about the future implications or giving a recommendation about future directions for research. Never present any completely new ideas or information in your essay’s conclusion. Remember that it is a final review of the essay.

Reference List

Any academic essay must contain references to all works that you have cited or paraphrased in your essay. You have to give credit to authors whose ideas you use in your own writings to avoid plagiarism. You should organize your references according to the citation style specified by your instructor.

Editing Your Essay

Editing and proofreading are necessary stages of the writing process. When your first draft is ready you should revise and rewrite some parts of your essay to improve your content and make sure that you have answered your topic question. You may need to perform an additional research if you feel that you need more evidence to strengthen your argument. When you feel that you are satisfied with your draft, you need to make a final check.

  • Reread your draft and make sure that you have followed instructions and guideline and answered the research question supporting your argument with relevant evidence.
  • Check the logic and the flow of your essay and make sure that you use transitions words between the paragraphs.
  • Eliminate repetitions and unnecessary words and improve word choice to make your essay clear and concise.
  • Check the sentence structure and fix fragments and run-on sentences. Make sure that you didn’t overuse the passive voice and verb tenses are used correctly.
  • Check punctuation and spelling and consult a good dictionary and reference grammar. You can also use a good online spelling and grammar checker.
  • Check reference style and fix inconsistencies. It’s crucial that all your paraphrases and quotes were properly referenced (check all the required information, full stops, commas, italics, and question marks).
  • Proofread your final draft to fix minor grammar and spelling mistake and typos.
  • Make sure your accounting essay is formatted correctly (check margins, spacing, font etc.)

Some Easy Tips for Effective Writing from Our Writing Experts

  • When planning your essay, keep balance and include various viewpoints. Examine and evaluate opposing views and arguments and explain why some arguments are more convincing.
  • First, write the body paragraphs of your essay. It is much easier to write the introduction and the conclusion when you already know what your essay is about.
  • Avoid excessive quoting. Use only relative part of the quotation to provide evidence and always explain the relationship between the quotation and your claim that you want to support with it.
  • Avoid wordiness and try to be as concise as possible but make sure you don’t omit the important content.
  • Use active voice when it is possible because, typically, active voice is more lively and concise.
  • Have a break for at least a couple of days before doing the final check and proofread of your accounting essay.
  • Don’t leave your essay in accounting to the last minute. Start early and you will have enough time to read over your work and edit as you rewrite.