A practice set is a packet of accounting materials involving one business. Its purpose is to give you the opportunity to practice on a hypothetical company's accounting records, using what you have learned from the text and presentations by your instructor.
The advantages of completing a practice set during your accounting education are:
- You are working for the same company.
- You are able to maintain the continuity of the accounting cycle.
- The materials are designed to simulate the records you will see on an accounting job.
- The practice set may provide source documents to generate transactions to bridge the gap between textbook materials and real-world experiences.
- It is rewarding to see your studying of text topics come together in a complete picture.
- Completing the practice set is an excellent review of accounting.
Whatever practice set or sets your instructor chooses for you, here are some tips for working a practice set.
You will be most confident and successful if you first open the practice set, find the introduction, and answer the following questions:
- Where is the business located?
- What is the owner's name?
- Is it a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation?
- Does the company sell services, products, or both?
- What is your job title?
- What are your duties?
- Where do your duties fall in the accounting cycle, or will you be involved in the entire cycle?
- What is the length of the fiscal period?
- Are the books on the accrual basis?
- What date are you beginning work?
- In what format are the directions? In narrative form or in memos written to you?
- Are the transactions in narrative form or will source documents generate the transactions?
- Are there check figures?
- What is required by the practice set? That is, what is the story behind the set-recording, finding errors, organizing? What is it trying to emphasize?
- What subjects does it cover?
- Is it manual or computerized?
- How long is it expected to take?
- Are you expected to file paperwork? Are there checkpoints where you must submit work?
Now it is time to begin the practice set. Follow these steps throughout the practice set to help ensure a more pleasant and rewarding experience:
- Read the instructions carefully, sometimes more than once. As you read, circle or highlight important words or phrases. Use this same technique when reading documents as you analyze the transaction generated by the document.
- Check off each instruction as you complete it. In the case of documents, initial each document as it is journalized.
- List questions that occur to you, and take them to class to get answers.
- Write words and numbers clearly; this will avoid some errors. Remember, this is an opportunity to show your best work.
- Follow the rules of accounting precisely-the step-by-step procedures you learned during the prior weeks in class will save you time.
- Talk yourself through the analysis, journalizing, and posting of amounts.
- Maintain an awareness of where you are in the accounting cycle.