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…

Business Data Analysis With PivotTables

The primary objective of an accounting system is to “summarize transactional data into useful management reports that management can use to manage the business” (Kieso et al., 2006). A powerful vehicle that helps us to achieve this objective is the Microsoft® Excel PivotTable. It provides us a powerful tool to organize and summarize data, and display the output in different views. Displaying summarized data in different views allows us to make comparisons, explore relationships, and identify trends, i.e., convert data into information.

The purpose of this paper is two fold; one is to demonstrate the ease of creating a PivotTable report, and the other, to illustrate its essential features, i.e., the use of PivotTable to count frequency, perform calculations, sort data, group data, collapse/expand data, and filter data. Instructors teaching accounting information systems or computerized accounting may spend a session on PivotTable.

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.

Read More…

Integrating Assessment of Student Learning into the Accounting and Finance Curriculum: A Course-Embedded Technology Project

The AACSB Eligibility Procedures and Standards for Business Accreditation (AACSB 2007), approved in 2003 and fully implemented in 2005, explicitly recognize the importance of assessment of student learning in the continuous improvement of the curriculum in its Assurance of Learning Standards. This change in the Assurance of Learning Standards requires all business schools (those currently accredited by AACSB and those seeking initial accreditation) to adapt their assessment activities to meet the new standards. In response to the new Assurance of Learning standards, we have developed a capital budgeting project appropriate for cost accounting, intermediate accounting, or financial management courses to assess students’ ability to use technology appropriate to their discipline.

Read More…

What Do You Need To Know About IFRS?

International financial reporting standards (IFRS) are here: The SEC now accepts IFRS as issued by International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) from foreign company registrants. Further, the AICPA says that IFRS are high quality accounting standards under the ethics code and may be used currently by non-registered private companies in lieu of U.S. GAAP. Also, the SEC has announced a roadmap to decide in 2011 whether registered public companies are permitted or will be required to use IFRS as a substitute for U.S. GAAP as early as 2014. One clear conclusion from these developments is that, for at least a period of time, knowledge of both U.S. GAAP and IFRS will be required. Since most business students take only beginning accounting, IFRS is not a subject that can be reserved for upper level courses. IFRS must be integrated into the curriculum starting with the first accounting course. What do you as an accounting instructor need to know about IFRS? And what should you tell your students?
Read More…

The Use of Peer Review to Develop Writing Skills in an Introduction to Accounting Class

For more than two decades, accounting professionals have called for improvements in the education and skill development of accounting students. This paper focuses on one approach to address the development of written communication skills, peer review of student papers. Peer editing or peer review has been widely used in composition and business communication classes, but it has not been widely adopted in accounting classes.

This paper briefly reviews the calls for improved written communication skills, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of peer editing of writing as a skill development tool, describes the application of peer review in an introduction to management accounting course, and includes documents that may be used to support a peer editing process.

Read More…

Using Analogies to Help Students Learn Fundamental Accounting Concepts in the First Week of the First Accounting Course

Hanson and Phillips (2006) provide evidence that using analogies can be a powerful method for teaching accounting concepts. Prior research (Gentner 1989; Ross 1984) has shown that people often develop analogies that share superficial similarities between the source topic (what the student already knows) and the target topic (what the student is attempting to learn). When students first learn about business balance sheets, they often draw upon their pre-existing knowledge and form an analogy between the business balance sheet and personal net worth. This choice can be very helpful, but part of their pre-existing knowledge does not apply to the business balance sheet. Zook (1991) has demonstrated that students may focus on irrelevant features when analogies are used. Thus, it is important that students understand the parts of the analogy that can be helpful.
Paris and Glynn (2004) demonstrate that analogies are more effective when they are elaborate. Elaborate analogies fully elaborate on the structural features of a target
topic that are also present in a source topic. They show that elaborate analogies contribute to students’ more fully comprehending new concepts. This paper describes an
elaborate analogy that may be used during the first week of a first financial accounting course to help students understand fundamental accounting concepts. This analogy is used in the form of two related in-class exercises that may be used in a single day or used on separate days.

Read More…

Accounting Instructors’ Report, Summer 2008: Table of Contents

What Do You Need To Know About IFRS?
Belverd E. Needles, Jr., Ph.D., CPA, DePaul University
Marian Powers, Ph.D., Northwestern University
Read More…

Integrating Gift Cards into the Accounting Curriculum

Gift cards have become an increasingly popular way of conducting business. Tower Group estimated that $97 billion was spent on gift cards in 2007. Although this figure was expected to decline to about $88.5 in 2008 it still represents a sizeable portion of the retail industry. Since many students are familiar with these cards accounting instructors have a unique opportunity to enhance students’ comprehension of both business and accounting concepts. This paper will discuss the two types of gift cards, review gift cards in comparison to other ways of transacting business and explain the accounting for these cards. The paper concludes by offering suggestions for the effective use of these and for establishing a more consistent accounting for them.
Read More…

A Visual Representation of the Statement of Cash Flows

In this article, the authors present a visual representation of the statement of cash flows, which can be used as an illustrative demonstration of related concepts in accounting courses.

This article is from the Accounting Instructors’ Report, an electronic journal that provides teaching tips and insights to those who teach accounting and other business courses.

Dr. David O’Bryan, College of Business, Pittsburg State University
Dr. Jeffrey J. Quirin, School of Accountancy, Barton College of Business, Wichita State University

Read A Visual Representation of the Statement of Cash Flows.