Our Changing Environment in First-Year Accounting

Beginning with this issue Accounting Instructors’ Report and continuing in several future issues, Needles proposes to address the effects of changes in accounting education and suggest ways of addressing those changes. It is worth beginning with a look at the factors that have influenced recent changes in accounting education. Read More…

Accounting Instructors’ Report, Summer 2013: Table of Contents

Why Accounting? Questions and The Evolution of Accounting Concepts
Susan Crosson, Emory University ARTICLES
Analyzing Overhead Variance Without Utilizing a Single Formula

James M. Emig, Villanova University
Robert P. Derstine, West Chester University
Thomas J. Grant, Kutztown University TEACHING CASES
A Practice Set for Use With the Cognitive Apprenticeship Approach to Teaching Introductory Accounting and Tests of its Effectiveness

Joseph C. Ugrin, Kansas State University
Katherine Wood, Kansas State University TEACHING TECHNIQUE
Teaching Process Costing
Ronald R. Rubenfield, Robert Morris College Using The Seiler Model for Standard Costs Variance Analysis
Carl Read More…

An Activity-Based Costing Application Using a Video of Olive Oil Production

Anecdotally, most instructors can appreciate that students learn more effectively when they are engaged and involved in the educational process. Creating a learning environment that fosters involvement can be a particular challenge in accounting. As educators in the domain of business, we have natural applications that can demonstrate how the concepts we discuss in class can affect what really happens in business. Since many students have limited experience in business and find it difficult understanding how accounting concepts might be important to them, simulations or other types of activities can help to “place the assignment in an authentic perspective” (Seaton and Boyd, 2008, 110).

We have developed an activity-based costing application using olive oil production as the base to help students understand the manufacturing process. Using a short video, students can immediately identify the collection of activities that ultimately comprise the cost of a bottle of olive oil and understand how the costs involved are created. Read More…

The Use of Visual Aids in Financial Reporting Courses

Existing literature suggests that visual aids increase learning, particularly where complex materials are being presented. Baker, Jones and Burkman (2009) provide a framework that suggests that sense making will be improved by visual aids when the visual aids possess several of the following four aspects: (1) support the four basic human visual perceptual approaches of association, differentiation, ordered perception, and quantitative perception, (2) have strong Gestalt properties, (3) are consistent with the viewer’s stored knowledge, and (4) support analogical reasoning.

This paper discusses the author’s experience with two applications of visual aids in his financial reporting courses. Although he discusses the specific application of these visual aids to the topic of intercompany investments, the general approach should be applicable to other financial accounting topics. Read More…

Principles Versus Rules in Beginning Accounting: Understanding the Lehman Case

The case of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is only one of a number of high-profile cases that have highlighted the role of financial reporting and the issues surrounding earnings management in recent years. The flood of these so-called ‘accounting scandals’ and the alarming increase in accounting revisions and restatements has drawn the attention around the globe by accounting researchers and the popular press alike. The principles-based versus rules-based standards debate is discussed and illustrated with the case of Lehman’s accounting for Repo 105 transactions, which clearly highlights the issues that this debate raises.
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Accounting Standards Codification: Introducing GAAP Research to First-Year Accounting Students (Painlessly)

Because of the previous nature of U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) with its multiple, scattered sources and various formats, accounting principles students have generally experienced GAAP indirectly through textbooks or class lectures. Recent changes in structure make U.S. GAAP easily accessible to first-year accounting students. The FASB Accounting Standards Codification (ASC), the single source for authoritative nongovernmental U.S. GAAP beginning July 1, 2009, provides a new logical, topical format and the Codification Research System supplies an online tool not previously available for performing research. Now, directed research using the Codification Research System can connect even introductory students to the real-world source of GAAP.
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Using the Balance Sheet Concept to Help Students Understand the Current Economic Crisis

In this paper, we present a visual learning approach to apply the balance sheet concept that students usually learn in the first two weeks of introductory financial accounting course to explain what has happened to our economy since mid-2008. By linking the concurrent events of economic crisis to the balance sheet, more specifically, the accounting equation, we were able to create an excitement in classroom discussion and enrich course materials in the first introductory financial accounting. We were encouraged by the favorable students feedback and comments in making a difficult concept easy to understand, and difficult to forget.

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Deploying Formative Assessment in Accounting Principles

Most accounting instructors spend a significant amount of time on summative assessment when evaluating students. However, less attention is afforded formative assessment of student learning as a diagnostic tool that provides feedback for decisive instructional intervention. Documentation of formative classroom assessment can be of value to instructors who wish to show tenure committees that activities to improve instruction are taking place. In fact, this study was initially undertaken as a response to such a request by the author’s tenure committee and now serves as the basis for an ongoing dynamic assessment plan that provides valuable feedback for instructional improvement. Institutionally, requirements are in place to administer student evaluations of instructors near the end of each course. Results of the student evaluations are provided to faculty upon completion of the semester and while these ratings are used by instructors for formative purposes, they are also used by administrators when evaluating faculty. This study attempts to lay the ground work for an effective formative assessment plan that augments the institutional student ratings and provides evidence driving constructive classroom instruction.

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Fair Value: An Essential Topic for Beginning Accounting

The concept of fair value permeates the financial statements and will only become more important in the future. We do our students a disservice if we do not introduce them to it in
the beginning accounting course.

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Accounting Instructors’ Report, Spring 2010: Table of Contents

Fair Value: An Essential Topic for Beginning Accounting

Belverd E. Needles, Jr., Ph.D., CPA
Marian Powers, Ph.D.

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