Table of contents(19 chapters)
This chapter provides an approach for teaching the income statement within an earnings quality framework in an intermediate accounting course. Not only is the approach rich in content, but it also is an engaging pedagogical device. The article provides a broad outline and then fills in the details with discussion, information, and examples.
I have presented an inventory of Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases (AAERs) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for accounting educators to incorporate into their auditing, accounting, ethics, or financial accounting courses. I have organized the AAERs by audit issues in a manner consistent with the order of topics typically covered in a financial auditing class. Accounting educators can bring a dimension of realism into the classroom by using AAERs to discuss issues concerning audit planning, audit testing, accounting ethics, fraud, and financial accounting.
Tax software versus paper return: the effect of a computerized decision aid on cognitive effort and student learning
This study examines the effect of using a computerized decision aid on student cognitive effort and learning in the first tax course. Students at a mid-western university in the United States prepared a 1040 tax return using either paper or tax software from a given set of taxpayer information. Students using paper forms reported higher levels of cognitive effort than did students using the tax software, however, no association between self-efficacy and cognitive effort was found. A test for association between decision aid type and inferential (higher-level) learning (the third level of Bloom's taxonomy) found cognitive effort to be statistically significant. The study also found a significant interaction between cognitive effort and experience. These results suggest that paper forms, which require students to work through task processes, may be better instructional tools for helping students acquire a deeper understanding of subject matter. Although tax software provides potential benefits of increased accuracy and speed, practitioners should be aware of its limitations as a learning tool.
Changes in the public accounting labor market and accounting student demographics motivate updating our understanding of the student profile most attractive to CPA firm recruiters. In this exploratory study, public accounting assurance recruiters evaluated hypothetical job candidates with varying educational path, age and gender. We investigated whether accounting courses taken in a non-degree or post-baccalaureate certificate programs are valued differently than the same courses taken through a degree program. We also studied the effect of age and gender on recruiter decision-making. Our results indicate a recruiter preference for Master in Accounting and Management Information System degrees, and the post-baccalaureate certificate was not valued any differently from a bachelor's degree. Although gender appeared to have no effect on the recruiting decision, older students appeared to be assessed less favorably on some dimensions than their younger counterparts. These results are important to both accounting program administrators and students for the insights they provide into program design and counseling.
The ability to correctly interpret legal text and reconcile conflicting authorities is an essential skill for students learning to do tax research. As with other complex tasks, these abilities develop more effectively through instruction that focuses on concepts and strategies; contextually relevant and repeated practice; and tailored, explanatory feedback. This chapter describes an innovative, new instructional web resource that incorporates each of these teaching perspectives to help students interpret and reconcile tax law. Scores on in-class exercises suggest that using this tool improves student evaluative skills.
Over the last twenty years, many studies have examined the impact of structured writing programs on improving accounting students’ writing skills. In this chapter, we extend this research by using writing assignments that are representative of the workplace writing experiences that students encounter in their professional careers, by developing an evaluation instrument to assess the effectiveness of structured writing programs, and by using business advisory board members to evaluate improvement in students’ writing. Our results suggest that our new approach to designing writing assignments representative of workplace writing helps students improve their writing skills. Our business advisory board members’ ratings indicate that the overall quality of the students’ writing improved over two semesters of completing a series of workplace writing assignments. Specifically, our structured writing program improved students’ business writing skills in the areas of organization (paragraph unity, layout, and conclusion) and style and tone (conciseness and word choice). Students also improved in their ability to explain technical aspects of accounting work and in certain aspects of spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The results and tools provided in this study should assist other programs in either implementing or improving a structured writing program.
Integrating tax and financial accounting: three exercises for use in tax and financial accounting classes
In this chapter, we present a series of exercises designed to help students integrate their understanding of tax and financial accounting. The exercises describe a small business, Nuñez Security Services, Inc., that has chosen to operate as a corporation. These exercises can be used separately or together, and require identification of items that will result in either permanent or temporary differences in financial and tax reporting. The exercises also help students develop an understanding of the implications of these differences on the calculation of tax expense for financial reporting purposes and the calculation of taxable income for tax reporting.
Professional organizations are encouraging accounting educators to better prepare their students for their professional careers by improving students’ interpersonal skills. Although accounting instructors are responding by including group activities in their courses, they may not be considering the negative impact of the phenomenon known as “groupthink” on the outcome of group problem solving. Our search of the Social Science Citation Index (2007) provides evidence that groupthink continues to be an area of research interest in academic disciplines other than accounting. Our search provides no evidence that accounting educators are acknowledging or addressing the potential influences the groupthink dynamic may have on students working in groups. The dynamics involved with groupthink have the potential to affect the quality of decisions made by accounting students in their classroom assignments as well as in their future professional lives. We describe the dynamics leading to groupthink, provide examples from our own experience, and offer accounting educators guidelines to discourage the impact of groupthink on the process of student work groups.
This study explores the effects of fraud triangle behaviors (pressure, opportunities, and rationalization) on students’ self-reported propensity to cheat in class. We found each fraud triangle factor to be an influence on the students’ propensity to cheat. Additionally, we observed a statistically significant three-way interactive effect indicating that all three factors jointly influence the students’ propensity to cheat. These findings provide insights for accounting educators concerned with preventing classroom cheating. They also confirm the call by Statement on Auditing Standards No. 99 for auditor focus on fraud triangle variables. This exploratory study also suggests that future research is needed to examine the interactive effects of personality characteristics with fraud triangle factors to better understand student cheating behaviors.
Current factors and practices related to instructional approach in the introductory financial accounting course
For nearly two decades, accounting educators have debated whether to continue with a preparer approach, or adopt a user perspective, or a blended model in the introductory financial accounting course. We examine the extent to which accounting programs have chosen to employ each approach, the factors that influenced their selection, as well as the relative importance of each factor. We also explore institutional and course characteristics associated with the choice of instructional method.
Our results indicate that one-third of programs employ the user perspective, and one-fifth the traditional preparer approach, while nearly half use a blend of the two. Programs using the preparer approach tend to focus on the accounting major (e.g., performance and career goals). In contrast, user approach institutions appear to emphasize performance issues and career paths of non-accounting majors.
It is broadly accepted that ethics should be incorporated into accounting programs. Most CPA firms rely on colleges and universities to teach ethical behavior. Utilizing a quasi-experimental approach, this chapter examines the effectiveness of ethics instruction delivered via a combination of lecture and active learning methods. Specifically, the impact of ethics instruction on behavior in business settings is investigated. Though similar studies have addressed this issue, this study tests the effectiveness of a particular curriculum in a post-Enron environment. Further, a new instrument to measure moral reasoning ability in work situations is introduced. The study's findings suggest that ethics instruction is effective in increasing moral reasoning ability, particularly in upper-level accounting courses such as accounting information systems and auditing.
This study replicates the portion of Albrecht and Sack's “Perilous Future” monograph (AAA, 2000) that examines the knowledge, skills, and abilities desired by employers of entry-level accounting graduates. Its purpose is to determine if Albrecht and Sack's (A&S) results are sufficiently generalizable to guide curriculum development in meeting stakeholder needs at a regional state college. We administered a survey instrument similar to that used by A&S to employers of accounting graduates to determine what knowledge, general skills, and technology abilities are important to their hiring decisions.
Our findings reveal that large, national, and international employers desire knowledge and skills that are different from those required by smaller, local, and regional employers. The study also found that desired knowledge and skills differ between employer industries. Finally, significant differences also were noted in the knowledge, general skills, and technology ability requirements. These results suggest that A&S findings should be interpreted in the context of each educational institution's own unique environment.
Using a technology-mediated approach to create a practice–feedback–interaction process for use with accounting courses
Teaching Net Generation accounting students is a challenging experience. They anticipate that technology will be an integral part of the teaching–learning processes that we offer them. This chapter focuses on how to use technology tools to create innovative course materials, delivery methods, and collaborative processes.
The chapter explains how I combined traditional instructional methods and technology-mediated learning (TML) techniques to create a practice–feedback–interaction process for use with two undergraduate auditing courses. I taught the first course (Auditing) during Fall Quarter 2006 and the second course (Advanced Auditing) during Winter Quarter 2007. I taught both courses in a blended instructional format.
This chapter shows how I used the practice–feedback–interaction process with individual and team writing assignments in the two auditing courses. I explain how the TML process works and describe technology tools used at each step of the process. Student comments provide feedback about how they reacted to using the technology-mediated teaching–learning process.
This instructional tool provides management accounting instructors with an efficient and practical way to teach the Balanced Scorecard using experiential learning. This exercise requires students to visit their college or university bookstore, meet with store managers, and develop a Balanced Scorecard for the business. Students address contemporary performance measurement issues in a simulated consulting engagement as they research industry trends, analyze store operations, interview employees, and prepare a written report for store management.
The requirements of this active learning assignment address many of the analytical, communication, and experiential competencies recommended in widely discussed calls for accounting education change. Instructors appreciate the convenience, practicality, and rigor offered by this exercise. Students value the opportunity to engage in a realistic exercise that allows them to draw upon their own consumer experiences. The authors used these materials in both undergraduate and graduate accounting courses, and received positive feedback from students and bookstore managers alike.
A preliminary study of learning objectives across the curriculum: an analysis of various accounting textbooks
This study examines 117 verbs associated with 2,872 learning objectives, and 377 questions taken from 24 textbooks across the accounting curriculum. To determine the level of cognitive ability associated with the individual learning objectives I analyzed the verbs based upon Bloom's Taxonomy. To reach across the accounting curriculum I chose texts from Financial Accounting, Intermediate Financial Accounting, Advanced Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Cost Accounting, and Auditing. Results of the analysis found that the authors used verbs at the lower learning levels of the cognitive domain. The verbs used by the author teams depend upon individual preference rather a specific segment of the cognitive domain. In addition, as the student progresses through the accounting curriculum some topics in upper level textbooks use learning objectives at the same level as in introductory level textbooks.