You can generally choose the best accounting dictionary based on ease of use, clarity of the word meanings, and how recently certain entries have been updated. Just as with any type of language use, the vocabulary and lexicon of accounting can change over time due to current trends in the profession. The best accounting dictionary for you also depends on your purpose and level of expertise in this particular subject. If you are taking an introductory accounting course with no previous experience, the best dictionary would have terms and definitions similar to those covered in your textbook and class lectures. A dictionary geared towards accounting professionals usually has more specialized and detailed terms related to topics such as tax codes.
Choosing an accounting dictionary often involves deciding if a digital or a hard copy version would be best for you. Traditional printed accounting dictionaries are usually available among the reference books at your local book store or library. A printed dictionary carries a certain level of reliability because each version generally undergoes a thorough editing process to ensure the highest possible accuracy. Many accounting dictionary writers and editors also have expertise in the accounting field. One of these dictionaries does have a drawback of becoming outdated after a certain length of time, requiring you to invest more money in an updated version.
A digital version of an accounting dictionary is a popular alternative to a printed book. These dictionaries are usually published as websites or as stand-alone software applications available for you to download. A few online accounting dictionaries offer full access at no cost, although others may require a fee. Accounting dictionary applications can usually be purchased for a lower price than a printed book version, and they often have the added convenience of readability on your laptop, tablet computer, or mobile phone. The accuracy of these digital dictionaries can be more varied in terms of word usage and definitions, so comparing reviews of several different ones can often help you make the best choice.
Good quality accounting dictionaries have a few common characteristics regardless if they come in printed or electronic formats. Each term should usually include any relevant history of the words' origins, which is known as etymology. Accounting terms with acronyms ideally have both the acronym and the words fully written out. Dictionaries for both beginners and advanced accountants also have clear and concise definitions along with notes about common usage within the profession.