TWILAP, Two Weeks in the Life of an Accounting Professor. Most people think I only work a few hours per week, just the time spent in the classroom. They aren’t aware of all the behind the scenes activity. In this series, I’ll journalize on what it’s like to be a professor.
I wonder what kind of day will be today? Will it be it be teaching related or scholarly related? I have a huge stack of papers/projects to read and grade. And, I could write new homework problems and prepare word-processed notes for each of my classes. On the other hand, there is certainly much to read and comment about on the scholarly side of things. I’ve been contacted about my view on the GAAP/IFRS issue, and I’m tempted to write a couple of essays/articles about that. Of course, I could get my paper on holistic education off the ground.
The problem for me is that I want to do both. Either one separately could consume my undivided time and attention. Speaking honestly, it probably takes 100% focus on only one in order to do it well. But to do both simultaneously has been difficult for me. I don’t think I’ve handled it well over my career. I tend to get distracted and spin my wheels a lot.
I think today has to be mostly about class-related support activities.
6:40-8:00 a.m. Interview preparation. I’ve been contacted by Professor Mark Holtzblatt of Roosevelt University (Chicago/Schaumburg, IL) to participate in a class project. Student teams at both Roosevelt University and San Diego State University are preparing video presentations on various issues related to IFRS adoption and implementation in the U.S. They contacted me as someone knowledgeable about IFRS resistance in the U.S.
8:00-9:30 a.m. Interview conducted via webcam and Skype. Unfortunately, technical gremlins popped up and ruined the recording. We’ll try again later. This is good for me, as I think I sucked. There is a huge difference between speaking in front of a class of students that have become my friends, and speaking in front of a camera. Very huge.
9:30-10:00 a.m. Wrote this TWILAP update.
10:00-noon E-mail. Francine McKenna’s Sarbanes-Oxley For Everyone: To Be Or Not To Be? at re: The Auditors. She quotes the excellent Floyd Norris analysis from November 6, in which he describes legislative attempts to lock in SOX exemptions for a majority of smaller (if you can call them small) SEC listed companies. He calls it gutting the 2002 reforms. In my opinion, the legislative amendment offered is a knee-jerk reaction to the SEC announcement of no more small biz exemptions. I agree that if we are to have SOX, then everyone should have to do it. I also believe it is needed at the smaller companies. On the plus side, supposedly, SOX implementation and auditing are less expensive than when first implemented.
This issue has implications for IFRS, also. Will there be a size exemption for smaller companies so they don’t have to convert to IFRS but can continue to use U.S. GAAP? How happy are people with the prospect of using IFRS Lite (IFRS/SMBE). Not very, I think. In the interesting McCann story at CFO.com, IFRS: Jeckyl or Hyde a small biz exec is quoted as saying that for his company, IFRS has zero benefits and substantial cost.
12:45-1:10 p.m. In transit to office/coffee shop for work.
1:10-3:00 p.m. E-mail. I’m waking up, am able to more efficiently process stuff. Interesting update (but nothing new) from Sarah Johnson at CFO, “Congress Waters Down FASB-Oversight Plan
From last week is news that Sox 404 rollbacks are still alive and in the House version of a bill, “CFOs High-five on 404 Rollback Bill“. Are readers surprised to find out that both are related to and necessary for IFRS adoption in the USA?
3:50-4:00 p.m. E-mail. The holiday effect has started already. E-mails have started dropping off. So has web traffic to The Summa. It’s all happening a day too soon.
4:00-5:15 p.m. Grading papers for Managerial Accounting. The assignment:
Part 1: Quality can be important to any business. The key terms for any manager attempting to manage the costs of quality are: conformance, external failure, design, appraisal and internal failure. Please define and describe these terms and provide generic examples of each. Then, let us say that you wish to be considered a quality student. What does that mean, to be a quality student? Suggest examples of various types of quality costs associated with being a student, and suggest how you would minimize your total costs of being a quality student for maximum benefit.
Part 2: A great deal has been written about total quality management (TQM). Define and describe it.
Part 3: Identify a company that has had a difficulty with quality. Explain how significant was the quality issue, and what the company did to remedy its problem. Your write-up of this company’s quality issues should integrate the various types of quality costs as well as issues related to TQM.
Why do I assign papers in an accounting class (there will be one later in the course on productivity? for several reasons. Students need an context for using accounting terminology. Students can discover what they think and firm it up by writing about it. Also, writing papers puts students in a situation where they can think about affective factors. Affective factors deal with liking accounting or a topic. Also, students can sometimes figure out something about themselves.
In the first two papers I graded, I discovered that neither really understood the big issue about quality–that external failures lose sales. And the value of lost sales can dwarf most other business expenditures. Although I guided classroom discussion to this, obviously it didn’t stick. I’ll be interested in seeing if this is a trend throughout the class. Also, can you see that in 75 minutes I graded two papers? I’ll speed up a bit, but will never get better than 20 minutes a paper. This means many hours of grading devoted to this assignment.
5:15-5:45 p.m. In transit.
6:15-8:00 p.m. Grading above papers.
Total: 11.25 hours.
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht