The Essence of Accounting

While some things are going through significant change, some things in accounting remain the same today as they were thirty or even five hundred years ago. Assets still equal liabilities plus owner’s equity; net income still equals revenues-expenses; and what you own still equals what you started with plus what you added less what you took out. The balance sheet, income statement, and statement of owner’s capital have changed very little through the years.

In this article,  the author discusses the “essence of accounting” and describes a teaching method that he believes helps students better understand accounting for pensions using the “account and amount” method of teaching accounting.

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Towards Constructive Alignment: Mapping the Territory

As part of a larger teaching and learning (T&L) project, a team based at The University of Sydney, within the Faculty of Economics and Business became aware of the significant challenge faced by academics in “constructively aligning” (Biggs, 1996) their teaching programs with the T&L objectives of the university, faculty and discipline concomitant with providing quality T&L outcomes for students. In this article, the authors describe the development of their model for constructive alignment. Read More…

Helping Students with Learning Disabilities Succeed in Higher Education

Due to the increased awareness of learning disabilities and the educational assistance being provided to children in elementary and secondary schools, increasing numbers of individuals with learning disabilities are enrolling in and pursuing degrees at colleges and universities. These students, accustomed to a variety of K-12 classroom and/or examination accommodations, frequently arrange to have these accommodations continued by their new college or university through that organization’s office of disability services. While faculty members usually understand and are comfortable with accommodations made for students with physical disabilities (e.g., provided a recorded examination to a blind student), they are frequently ill at ease or even feel intimidated when they receive paperwork for a student with no visible disabilities.

The teaching strategies discussed in this article help promote a supportive and inclusive learning environment. Using teaching strategies that focus on multi-sensory means of presenting information, that provide organization of course material, and that offer opportunity for student interaction can be very important for students with learning disabilities. Combined with appropriate accommodations, these teaching strategies can help students with learning disabilities succeed in higher education. Most important of all, providing a flexible, supportive learning environment can enhance the learning of all students.

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Using Supplemental Instruction in Accounting Principles Courses

In teaching accounting principles courses, I have successfully utilized Supplemental Instruction in order to assist and empower my students in comprehending and learning the concepts and terminology covered in the course. Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a cooperative learning method in which students work in small groups (6-15 students) outside of the class, in order to improve course performance and retention. Typically, three one-hour sessions are held per week for a three-credit course. SI is proactive, not reactive. It assists students before they encounter academic difficulties in the class and not just after. Specifically, SI is designed to increase students’ knowledge and command of the course material by improving their learning, organization, and problem-solving strategies, and enhancing their critical-thinking, reasoning, and study skills. A trained SI leader facilitates the SI sessions.

In this article, the author describes how, in his experience, SI has proved to be a successful method in not only improving students’ academic performance in his accounting principle courses, but also in improving their attitude and motivation with respect to the course, and in providing them with tools, skills, and strategies necessary for their personal, academic, and professional development.


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Accounting Instructors’ Report, Fall 2007: Table of Contents


Trends: Motivation and Technology
Belverd E. Needles, Jr., Ph.D., CPA   ARTICLES Helping Students with Learning Disabilities Succeed in Higher Education
Carol B. Gaumnitz, Ph.D., CPA, Associate Professor, Department of Accounting, St. Cloud State University
Bruce R. Gaumnitz, Ph.D., CIA, CMA, CPA, Professor, Department of Accounting, St. Cloud State University
Sheri L. Zalar, M.A. (in special education) The Essence of Accounting
W. Terry Dancer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Accounting, Arkansas State University Using Supplemental Instruction in Accounting Principles Courses
Edwin R. Etter, Ph.D., CPA, Assistant Professor of Accounting and Finance, Eastern Michigan University Read More…

The Five-Minute Ethics Exercise: A Simple and Effective Approach to Incorporating Ethical Discussions into an Accounting Course

Business schools continue to face criticism from various constituents for failing to incorporate more content-related ethics and social responsibility topics into their curricula. The authors responded to the continued criticism by designing and class testing a pedagogy that can be used in any or all accounting courses without adding burdensome classroom time or instructor preparation time.

The objectives include reinforcing and refining student knowledge and skill in evaluating ethical dilemmas. The pedagogy consists of presenting an ethics case via a short newspaper article or other sources limited to one minute of reading time on the part of the students. The instructor selects one of three identified approaches (or any other approach that works best for the instructor) to allow students to sharpen their skills. Then the instructor uses one minute to summarize and recap the results. Class testing and anecdotal evidence indicates the pedagogy to be a very effective tool to help students refine their knowledge and skill in assessing ethical dilemmas.
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Is it Time to Add a Fraud Examination to Your Accounting Curriculum?

Recent accounting scandals such as Enron and Worldcom and new laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have greatly increased the demand for anti-fraud professionals. Some highlights from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) 2008 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud & Abuse clearly demonstrates the need for accounting students to receive instruction on this important topic: U.S. Organizations lose approximately 7% of their annual revenues to fraud (almost one trillion dollars per year). Occupational fraud schemes tend to be extremely costly and continue for years before they are detected.

The implementation of anti-fraud controls appears to have a measurable impact on an organization’s exposure to fraud. Lack of adequate internal controls was most commonly cited as the factor that allowed fraud to occur.

The seriousness of the problem and the need for accounting students to learn about fraud, including its prevention and detection, is demonstrated by the July 2008 issuance of Managing the Business Risk of Fraud: A Practical Guide. The Institute of Internal Auditors, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the ACFE sponsored this “guide”.

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Chapter Pre-Study Guides: An Alternative to Content Lecture in Introductory Accounting

The objective of content lecture in the introductory accounting courses is to inform students of and comment on content for which they will be held responsible. However, content lecture consumes valuable classroom time for a reading and writing activity that students will perform given specific direction and a nominal incentive. This paper discusses chapter pre-study guides, directed reading and writing assignments completed by students prior to related classroom activities, and a unique incentive system I use in introductory managerial accounting to virtually eliminate content lecture. Read More…

Using Actual Software in Your Accounting Courses

If actual accounting software is used early in the accounting curriculum then it will become easier to integrate its power as an analysis tool in subsequent accounting courses. Actual software applications will provide the relevant business process framework necessary to build business literacy and accounting fluency in students. This article will give brief overviews of the most widely used accounting software programs and share my strategies for adding actual accounting software into undergraduate accounting courses without losing any precious class time. Read More…

Course Coordination: A Mainstay in Accounting Education

Coordination of multi-section courses offers educators a mechanism for providing consistent learning experiences to all students in all sections of the same course. Consistency across sections ensures that all graduates are taught the same core competencies. While course coordination has long been a topic of interest in higher education, the process may be even more relevant today due to assessment priorities, resource constraints, recruiting and retention efforts, varying delivery methods, and other related issues. This paper presents a model of the course coordination process that includes three stages: planning, implementation, and evaluation. At each stage of the coordination process, best practices can be employed to make the coordination process beneficial to all stakeholders: faculty, students, and programs. Read More…