Curriculum and Programs

To Flip or Not to Flip: That is the Question

Guest Contributor: Beverly Amer, Northern Arizona University. For as long as there have been students, there have been teachers trying to engage them in learning. The Socratic Method has stood the test of time, as have many others that have followed. One of the latest such methods to hit the halls of higher education is called the “flipped” classroom. In a flipped classroom model, the responsibility for information-gathering – traditionally controlled and delivered by the instructor in front of the class – moves to the student outside the confines of the classroom lecture hall. No more does the instructor Read More…


Teaching After-Tax Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis

Cost-volume-profit (CVP) analysis is generally defined as a planning tool by which managers can evaluate the effect of a change(s) in price, volume, variable cost, or fixed costs on profit. Additionally, CVP analysis is the basis for understanding contribution margin pricing, related short-run decisions, target costing, and transfer pricing. As one of managerial accounting’s most basic analytical tools, CVP analysis is covered in all introductory managerial accounting texts.
 
Traditionally, equations are used to teach CVP analysis and to solve CVP problems. Because the equations method requires a before-tax set of equations and an after-tax set of equations, CVP analysis is frequently classified as before-tax and after-tax. While the before-tax equations are relatively straightforward, the after-tax equations are relatively complex and difficult for introductory managerial accounting students to understand and use. As a result, introductory managerial accounting textbooks either omit after-tax income CVP analysis or treat it separately, usually in an appendix, such that it can be easily omitted. Yet, income after taxes is the measure of wealth created by operations which managers cannot ignore and should not be omitted from introductory managerial accounting when a better method of teaching the topic is available.
 
This paper discusses an alternative method that is used in introductory managerial accounting classes to teach CVP analysis and to solve CVP problems – the contribution margin income statement. As the paper demonstrates, including income after-taxes using the contribution margin income statement for CVP analysis is straightforward, logical and is accomplished without additional effort or confusion. The equations are unnecessary and do not add value. They are eliminated.
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The Penultimate Cash Flow Problem

This article contains a cash flow statement problem which, while innocuous at first glance, should challenge even the most experienced statement preparer. The point of the exercise is that one attribute students need to acquire in the accounting curriculum is the ability to solve daunting technical problems. Tasks such as the penultimate cash flow problem require the solver to have insight into the articulation of financial statements as well as extensive knowledge of accounting algorithms. The article serves as a challenge to the reader to create the “ultimate” cash flow problem. The “penultimate” cash flow statement presented in this article, and the ultimate cash flow problem yet to be created, are intended for use in intermediate accounting. Let the contest begin!
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Financial Markets: Curricular Struggles with Ethics and Regulation

Since the internet stock bubble burst in the NASDAQ in 2001, there has been a flurry of activity. Prosecutions for various financial transgressions, Congressional inquiries, academic studies and a general sense that ethical and regulatory failures contributed to significant damage are all features of the financial landscape since 2001. One of the critical features of this post bubble financial landscape has been the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. There are lessons to be gleaned from this experience for the teaching of business ethics in the business curriculum. The purpose of this paper is to examine those lessons as they apply to the curriculum in teaching accounting, economics and finance topics in the business curriculum.
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Strategies for Effectively Teaching Online Accounting Courses

Kung (2002) stated that distance learning courses can be an effective means to acquire knowledge outside of the classroom environment for many academic disciplines. Students who choose to take online courses might do so simply for career development. Time constraints, distance, and finances could also be other factors why students enroll in distance education. Since many students will often be non-traditional students working full time, taking traditional accounting courses might prove to be extremely difficult considering their schedules and increased responsibilities. Additional motivators could include the quality of the instruction and the material provided (The changing, 1993).
 
Sometimes students will choose distance education courses because of the technology perks instead of the need for education and may choose distance learning (and
particularly online accounting courses) for the wrong reason (Katz, 2002; Vamosi, Pierce & Slotkin, 2004). If students choose online accounting courses for technological convenience rather than a more appropriate course delivery for their individual learning style, student success might be compromised (Haugen & Becker, 2005; Hogan, 1997; The changing, 1993). It would help faculty members who teach online for the first time (or more) to understand major student issues from the perspective of online students. After teaching her first online course, the author (in addition to conducting several research projects on student success in distance learning) completed 5 online graduate accounting courses at two different universities in order to better understand what it can be like on the student side of a distance learning course. This paper summarizes those efforts.

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Statement of Cash Flows

The statement of cash flows is a required financial statement, just like the income statement and balance sheet. Its purpose is not to measure the quantity of the cash flow during any given accounting period; that could be obtained simply by comparing the total of all cash increasing activity with all cash decreasing activity during the accounting period. The statement of cash flows examines a qualitative feature, specifically the reliability, of cash flows during the accounting period.
 
This paper covers the classification of the statement of cash flows, as well as methods of compiling the statement of cash flows. It also provides an example of the methods used for Operating activities.
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Teaching Auditing Students About Internal Controls From an Internal Audit Perspective

In the Sarbanes-Oxley era there is a real need for a good understanding of the different responsibilities and reliances that can be placed on the work of others. External auditors must have a good comprehension of the types and extent of work that internal auditors do. Since most universities do not provide a stand-alone course on internal auditing, students must rely on what they learn in the mainstream auditing class to obtain their understanding of what an internal auditor does. This paper provides auditing instructors a vehicle for teaching the need for, and the approach to, how internal auditors do their jobs.
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Implementation of the Wall Street Journal Project in Intermediate Accounting Courses: A Follow-Up

Robert Morris University (RMU) offers a bachelors degree in accounting and has established a good reputation for preparing students for entry into the work force. RMU
is successful in placing graduates in a variety of accounting positions ranging from public accounting, to management accounting, to internal auditing, to government.
 
Krause (2006) reports that the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) project gives students an awareness of emerging professional issues, an understanding of the importance of staying current, and improves their written communication skills. Use of the WSJ project in Intermediate Accounting courses that I have taught also demonstrates to students that they are capable of reading and understanding the WSJ, that the topics we discuss in class are relevant both to the practice of accounting and to business in general and that ethical business behavior is very important, if not critical, in the current business environment.
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Can You Teach Ethics in Beginning Accounting?

I often ask the following question at accounting educator conferences: “Can you teach ethics?” In response, I get a variety of answers, but many, perhaps a majority of instructors say: “No, you can’t teach ethics. Ethics is taught at home” or “Ethics is learned long before college.” This leads to the question: “What is ethics?” It is of course rooted in a person’s basic values and morals. Ethics relates to the decisions that people make based on their values and morals. Accounting teachers have little to do with affecting the values and morals that students bring to class. Read More…


Building the Income Statement from the Bottom Up: Explaining to Students the Purpose of Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis

The intent of this paper is to suggest a method for assisting Accounting faculty when making the transition from Financial to Managerial Accounting, more specifically when introducing the concepts of cost behavior and cost-volume-profit analysis for the first time. In the teaching of most Accounting courses, instructors focus of getting students to understand that the calculation of net income or operating income or any income related amount is a top down calculation. By this I mean we teach our students that to determine the profitability of a business (to prepare an Income Statement), we start at the top with revenues. Working our way down the income statement, we next subtract expenses. In our earliest financial accounting classes we stress the basic concept of determining profitability is to subtract total expenses from total revenues and in all succeeding financial accounting courses, while we may add some additional intricacies, we continue to follow that approach: Revenues minus Expenses = Income.

 
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