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Cost Accumulation in Small Businesses: Experiential Learning Project

Advances in Accounting Education: Teaching and Curriculum Innovations

ISBN: 978-1-78441-588-4, eISBN: 978-1-78441-587-7

Publication date: 5 January 2015



The subject area of the assignment is cost accumulation. This instructional tool enhances coverage of cost accumulation topics in graduate level Introductory to Management Accounting courses.


The assignment entails visiting a small business and interviewing the owner to learn about the company’s process for determining costs of products and/or services. Such active learning hones leadership and critical thinking skills by requiring students to employ interviewing and listening techniques as they act as business advisors to discuss cost accumulation processes with small business owners. The assignment provides flexibility since a range of business types can be used from a landscaping business operated out of one’s garage to a mid-size manufacturing company.


Students see how a small business accumulates costs and gain experience analyzing the effectiveness of cost accumulation systems and providing recommendations.

Practical implications

A list of supplementary materials is included, covering teaching notes, assessment data, and grading rubrics.


Student feedback suggests that students value the opportunity to engage in a realistic exercise that allows them to draw linkages between textbook material and the real world, while also acting in a consulting role to apply class concepts to small businesses. Furthermore, assessment data based on grading rubrics indicate that all students meet or exceed instructor expectations, thus increasing the viable use of this course project.



Lafond, C.A. and Wentzel, K. (2015), "Cost Accumulation in Small Businesses: Experiential Learning Project", Advances in Accounting Education: Teaching and Curriculum Innovations (Advances in Accounting Education, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 45-63.



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