Accounting Information Systems Skills Guide

Recommended High School Level Background Courses

  • Business Math
  • Bookkeeping
  • *Economics
  • *Algebra I
  • Accounting
  • *Composition
  • *Algebra II
  • General Business
  • Speech
  • Recordkeeping
  • Business Law
  • Keyboarding

* Courses available in the Academic Achievement Center or the
High School Completion Center.

Basic Skills in the Program and on the Job


Strong reading skills are important in this program. The accounting texts, which are a central part of the course work, are written at a college level. Tests are based on a combination of text and lectures. Texts are accompanied by practice sets which require following sequential instructions.

In addition to their texts, students will read spreadsheets and use computer software manuals for spreadsheet and word processing programs. They may be required to read articles from business magazines and trade journals such as the Wall Street Journal. In the work place, they will also refer to source documents and input documents for financial data.

View more information on reading skills in the Accounting Information Systems program.


Fundamentals of Oral Communication (SPC 101) is a program requirement. Other speaking activities may include oral reports on accounting-related magazine articles. In the work place, accountants will interact on a one-to-one basis with coworkers. They may also be required to explain their accounting procedures to an auditor.

Two semesters of English are required: Composition I (ENG 105) and Composition II (ENG 106). These courses involve extended writing assignments ranging from personal experience essays to research papers. In their accounting courses, students may be required to summarize, interpret, and analyze journal articles. Humanities courses may require book reports or research papers, while science coursework may include lab reports.

On the job, accountants may compose business letters, memos, and disclosure notes to accompany financial statements.

View more information on language skills in the Accounting Information Systems program.


A strong general math and algebra background is essential for the two college-level math courses required in this program; therefore, either two years of high school algebra, MAT 073 (Elementary Algebra II), or MAT 141 (Finite Math) is a program entry requirement. In Principles of Accounting students learn to solve simple linear equations such as the basic A = L + OE (assets equals liabilities plus owner's equity). More complicated algebraic formulas are used in Intermediate Accounting and Income Tax Accounting; these formulas are also used in the work place in the preparation of financial statements. When they complete the last two years of their four-year degree, students will be introduced to statistical analysis in auditing.

View more information on math skills in the Accounting Information Systems program.


Good time management skills are crucial to this program because accounting courses require three to four hours of homework for each hour spent in class. Strong reasoning skills are also important. Students must learn to follow sequential instructions carefully; the accounting cycle proceeds in a specific order, and accounting-related software also requires a specific sequence of steps. Students use observational and comparison skills to red-flag errors in financial statements. They must then use cause-effect reasoning to find the source of the problem and correct the statement. Inferential thinking is used to consider the implications of irregularities in statements.

View more information on learning skills in the Accounting Information Systems program.


Good keyboarding skills and familiarity with standard computer programs used in business settings are imperative in this program and on the job. ADM105 (Intro to Keyboarding) and CSC 110 (Intro to Computers) or the equivalent are strongly recommended prior to program entry. In the program, in addition to required computer programming courses, students take Computer Accounting (ACC 311), and Accounting Spreadsheets (ACC 361). The first semester is crucial to long-term success in the program.

In the work place, accountants use email, word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet programs extensively, including the graphics component to present financial data pictorially.

View more information on computer skills in the Accounting Information Systems program.

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