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What To Look for in an Accounting Tutor and How To Find One

Accounting tutor: A woman works on her computer and uses a calculator

Accounting is a lucrative and worthwhile skill to learn, especially if you’re considering a career in finance, law, or business. Still, many people need extra help when learning the calculations, formulas, and strategies required for the field.

An accounting tutor can help you master the most important principles involved in creating financial statements. They can also help you become more confident in your planning, budgeting, and financial decision-making skills. If you need extra help and you’re considering working with a tutor, you’re probably wondering how it works.

Here’s what to look for in an accounting tutor, plus what to expect and how to make the most of your experience.

How To Find an Accounting Tutor

Tutoring can be a helpful supplement to your financial and accounting education. A skilled professional can help you understand foundational accounting concepts and formulas while elevating your knowledge of Excel.

An accounting tutor can also serve as a go-to support system when questions arise regarding your own studies. The first step toward finding the right tutor is clarifying your own learning goals.

Consider the following questions:

  • Why are you interested in studying accounting?
  • What outcome do you expect from the experience?
  • Are you studying for a specific exam or certification?
  • Do you have previous experience with a tutor?

Reflect on these answers to gain a clearer understanding of what you’re looking for in a tutor. This will help you narrow down candidates as you dive into your search. Next, consider whether you’re open to college students or would prefer a professional.

For example, college students majoring in accounting can be a great fit for high school students taking accounting courses. Someone studying for the CPA exam, however, would probably prefer a licensed CPA who’s already taken the test and worked as a professional accountant.

Types of Accounting Tutoring

Next, think about the type of accounting you need help with. Since there are so many ways to specialize in accounting, it’s important to find a tutor who is experienced in the field you’re studying or want to pursue.

If you’re interested in working for a business or starting your own business, managerial accounting can ensure that you’re equipped to measure and interpret important financial information regarding an organization. In comparison, financial accounting is a broader genre and can qualify someone to work in the public sector, as well as with non-profits and educational institutions.

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to learn and what type of accounting is most relevant, you can begin to parse through an accountant’s qualifications.

Qualifications for the Best Accounting Tutors

Accounting tutor: A student listens to her computer with headphones and writes notes

If you want to ensure an optimal tutoring experience, it’s important to choose someone with the proper qualifications. However, not every accounting tutor is created equal. The experience between two qualified tutors can vary greatly, depending on education and work history.

Let’s take a look at the most common professional qualifications you can expect to see from tutors and what it all means.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A certified public accountant (CPA) is someone who has taken the CPA exam. While each state creates their own exam based on local regulations and standards, the test is always rigorous and requires a certain level of knowledge and expertise. Individuals who pass the CPA exam can pursue a range of fields and industries.

For example, CPAs can go into forensic accounting, litigation, government, non-profit work, business, or more. The field a CPA pursues isn’t relevant to you as a student, unless you’re specifically interested in learning about one area of accounting.

Accounting Certifications

You don’t need a full-time accountant for help with accounting, especially if you just need support in a high school or community college class. If you aren’t in the market for a certified professional, check how many years of experience someone has had learning or teaching about accounting.

For example, someone may have an Excel certification, such as the IOFM Certified Excel Specialist in Accounting or Advanced Excel: Practical Applications for Accounting Professionals. Such a certificate can demonstrate a person’s aptitude even if they don’t have a formal degree in accounting.

Relevant Experience

There are a number of other experiences that can qualify a person to become an accounting tutor. For example, a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance indicates that a person has a deep mastery of the subject.

Plus, a relevant master's degree (like an MBA) can demonstrate that someone has taken multiple accounting classes at an advanced level. Someone without a degree in accounting, but with real-world experience managing cash flows and balance sheets, may be just as qualified as someone with an official degree.

When searching for a tutor, keep an open mind and consider all the potential experience and backgrounds that could qualify someone to support your learning goals.

Lastly, consider hiring someone who has experience tutoring. While it doesn't necessarily mean that someone without experience won't be a good fit, teaching or tutoring experience can increase the chances that the person you hire will be able to assist and support you when you're struggling with certain concepts or need a different teaching approach.

Where To Look

Accounting tutor: A student works with an online tutor on his screen

Accounting tutors exist nearly everywhere. Yet in the digital age, internet access means there’s a wider and more diverse pool of tutors to choose from. This gives you access to a broader pool of tutors and makes it easier to find an online accounting tutor who is right for you, regardless of location. It means that someone in New York doesn’t have to only search for experts locally. They can consider someone as far away as Los Angeles or San Diego to help with their needs.

Cost

The cost of a private accounting tutor ranges widely. The tutor’s education, certifications, and work experience are the three main factors influencing how much it costs to hire them. It also depends what you’re looking for from regular tutoring sessions.

The cost of an accounting tutor who’s still in college will be lower, but as with any tutor, you get what you pay for. A top-tier accounting professional may charge much more for each tutoring session, but you’re likely to get better results. The more formal education and workforce experience someone has, the more they are likely to cost. If you want more predictable rates, opt for an online tutoring service where you can buy a tutoring package and save on each session.

How To Study for Accounting

If you’re in need of accounting help, a tutor can support you along the way. But to continue improving your accounting knowledge when you’re not with your tutor, consider supplementing with your own homework. Personal study is an effective compliment to tutoring because you can spend your time reviewing and reinforcing concepts you’ve learned.

When you get stuck, you can bring those questions to your tutor to ensure you’re not missing anything important. Your tutor can also advise you on what books and material to review so that you’re studying the right content at the right time.

The Right Accounting Tutor for You

If you want to improve your accounting knowledge and skills, an accounting tutor is a great investment. Hiring a tutor can ensure that you understand the most important accounting principles — whether it’s calculating balance sheets or mastering your role in business administration.

Plus, a qualified tutor can help you feel confident making financial decisions. Accounting professionals can also be a helpful resource when studying for a big test or certification that can define your career. For more information on tutors and to find one who's right for you, visit TutorMe.