THE RELEVANCE OF MATHEMATICS TO PRINCIPLE OF ACCOUNTING IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

          The subject of “accounting” consists of three key elements: accounting theory (underlying concepts), principles (rules) for how to apply the concepts, and the specific procedures that implement the rules. The type of introductory class that you take will determine which of these elements receives the most emphasis. For example, bookkeeping classes emphasize procedures, particularly for recording and organizing financial data. Accounting principles classes or basic accounting classes usually provide a more balanced content that includes all three elements. These classes provide a less specialized, broader understanding and the opportunity for some study of financial statements and the use of accounting information. Introductory financial accounting concentrates more on theory and principles and the preparation and use of financial statements. For any particular class, you can get a good idea of its content emphasis by reading the school catalog, contacting the instructor, and looking at the course textbook in the bookstore.

The discipline of accounting is concerned with accurate numerical measurement of precisely defined operational concepts. It follows that practitioners of accounting should be comfortable with mathematics in general and numbers in particular. Most accounting educators believe that arithmetic skills are important for students to understand accounting systems and financial statement analysis. It seems obvious that academic and professional success in accounting will be facilitated by a high level of mathematical skill.

Most business schools have implemented mathematics requirements in basic calculus and matrix algebra, but the amount of application of these techniques tends of be limited in many business courses, with the result that some students may postpone taking required mathematics courses until late in their college careers. A perennial debate topic in faculty lounges concerns the usefulness of higher mathematics in the applied business disciplines, and the extent to which mathematical techniques could and should be utilized in coursework. Professors of accounting finance and economics tend to be aligned in these debates against professors of marketing and management Jones and Fields, (2001).

Although accounting educators tend to be more favorably disposed toward mathematics than some other business educators, none of the contributions to the professional literature on determinants of success in accounting have singled out mathematics ability for special emphasis. The most voluminous component of the determinants of success literature examines factors influencing performance of students in principles of accounting courses: Danko, Duke and Franz (1992); Norton and Reding (1992); Jones and Fields (2001). These authors statistically document strong positive relationships between performance in principles of accounting and the following independent variables: ACT or SAT scores, Grade Point Average (GPA), majoring in accounting, grade in Principles I courses (relevant to Principles II performance). Weaker and more problematic relationships have been found between performance and secondary school courses in accounting, sex (normally female students do better than male students), personality characteristics, effort measures, and intervention variables such as supplementary instruction.

While none of the above-cited studies differentiated between verbal and quantitative SAT and ACT scores, there exists a certain amount of evidence that suggests the special importance of mathematical ability. For example, the annual NASBA report Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination includes the table “Performance of First-Time Candidates by SAT and ACT Scores,” which clearly manifests the strong positive relationship between both verbal and mathematics SAT/ACT scores and performance on the CPA examination. However, it is impossible to determine from inspection of this table the relative importance of verbal versus mathematical ability. The only thing that can be safely concluded is that both have strong effects. Another indication of the relevance of mathematics is the finding by Pritchard, Potter and Saccucci (2004) that students with majors in accounting and finance exhibit better computational and algebra skills, as measured by special-purpose math tests written by the authors, than do students majoring in marketing and management.

Ballard and Johnson (2004) cite six prior studies indicating a positive effect of mathematics ability (usually measured by the quantitative SAT/ACT score) on performance in accounting courses. The innovation of the Ballard-Johnson study is to use student performance on a specially devised mathematics pre-test as a predictor of success in principles of economics courses. One advantage of this approach is that it enables insights into the relationship between economics performance and specific types of mathematical operations presumed to be especially important in the study of economics: ratios, algebraic manipulation, graphical illustration and interpretation, and so on. A similar study by Pritchard, Romeo and Saccucci (2000) looks at the relationship between a special purpose math pre-test and performance in introductory finance courses. In this study, we report results from an analogous research project involving principles of accounting.

Working knowledge of arithmetic and a small amount of basic algebra will allow a student to successfully complete any introductory accounting courses, which are described below. The reason for this is that although accounting information consists of numerical data, the math tools used to record the numerical data are very simple, really just addition and subtraction. The reason that you need to know a little more math than this is that doing accounting requires first analyzing transactions before recording them. It is the initial analysis of transactions to determine correct amounts to record that requires the basic math skills that you see below. Only at very advanced professional levels would you need more mathematical experience than this.

So why does introductory accounting seem challenging (and a lot of work)? There are two reasons, and they are not about math. First, you are simply learning a lot of ideas, rules, and procedures that are specific to accounting and that are new to you. Secondly, although accounting doesn’t require much math, it does require thinking that is careful and logical (remember “word problems?”). In this sense, accounting has some similarity to math and this is probably why taking math classes helps with accounting classes. However this kind of careful thinking can definitely be learned with practice in accounting classes, without ever having to become some kind of expert mathematics student.

 

 

Statement of the Problem

The relevance of mathematics to principle of accounting is a very important term to our modern society, The tremendous growth of the business world which increased the complexities of accounting and financial reporting required skillful personal to teach the subject or handle the financial records. As a result, students’ performance at is consider as the basis to determine competent personal to teach or manage the financial records through mathematical terms. The discipline of accounting and mathematics are concerned with accurate numerical measurement of precisely defined operational skills.

Jubril (2011) discovered that the mathematics and accounting are resemblance within the educational settings. Sani (2011), Musa and Adamu (2012) earlier reported that approach in mathematics in principle of accounting will serves as the foundation for student’s success in accounting.

Despite the importance attached to mathematics in principle of accounting on students opting for accounting, the general complain of students with myopic knowledge of the importance of mathematical prerequisite in learning of accounting, is that emphasizing on it is a strategy for proper understanding of some mathematical terms to principle of accounting and have no impact on student’s academic attainment.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relevance of mathematics to principle of accounting in public secondary schools in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State. The study had the following objectives;

  1. To examine the relevance of mathematics to principle of accounting in secondary schools
  2. To determine the effect of mathematics to principle of accounting through the performance of students in secondary school?
  3. To ascertain the teacher understanding toward the teaching of principle of accounting through the use of mathematical equation in secondary schools.

 

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study could be beneficial to the teachers, students, the school administrations and the government as a whole. The significance of this study will make Accounting teachers to be aware not only to the level of approach but also the immense potentials of showing the relevance of mathematics to principle of accounting through the use of mathematical equations that related to the teaching of principle of accounting. Also, this study will help students’ to be fully prepared for the challenges ahead and apply what they have learnt to their day to day activities after graduation.

The research of this nature is likely to help the state, nation, educational sectors and the world in general benefit from as adherence to the recommendations and implementation will help produce youths who would be better leaders of tomorrow in accounting field.

Finally, the research when completed may add to available literature and may encourage further research on the topic.

 

Research Questions

This study is designed to provide answer to the following questions

  1. Do students understand the relevance of mathematics to principle of accounting in secondary schools?
  2. Does application of mathematics to principle of accounting have any effect on academic performance of students in secondary school?
  3. Do will have competent teacher to teach financial accounting with full understanding of the relevance of mathematics to principle of accounting in secondary schools?

Research Hypotheses

The following null hypothetical statements are made with respect to the objectives of the study:

  1. There is no significant relationship between students’ understanding and relevance of mathematics to principle of accounting in secondary schools.
  2. There is no significant relationship between effect of mathematics in principle of accounting and students’ academic performance.
  3. There is no significant relationship between the teaching the principle of account and relevance of mathematics to principle of accounting.

Delimitation of the Study

This research work is on the relevance of mathematics to principle of accounting in public secondary schools in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State and the figures provided therein are based on the responses of the teachers and students of the selected schools, which is believed to cover the entire Local Government Area. This research is limited to this area as a result of some constraints e.g. financial challenges of the research and inadequate time frame allocated for the period of this research.

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