Archive for September, 2012

Howard Andrew “Andy” Williams (December 3, 1927 – September 25, 2012) has died at age 84.  Although well known for hosting a TV variety show from 1962-1971, he is best known for singing Moon River.

He is not known for any direct ties to the accounting industry.  Neither has Moon River anything to do with accounting.

When I was growing up, I would watch his TV show.  During junior high dance nights, I would slow dance with a pretty girl to his recording of Moon River (I wonder if a very pretty blonde girl named Nancy still remembers).

Andy, you enriched my life.  I bid you a fond farewell.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Gwen Jorgensen, former E&Y tax accountant, is sometimes referred to as the Olympic Accountant.  She participated in the recent Olympic games in London in the women’s triathlon.  Given that she was the reigning two-time World Cup champion, some were hoping for her to medal.

Alas, that was not to be, as a flat tire during the biking portion of the race put her so far behind that she had no chance to catch the leaders.  She eventually finished 38th.

In this recently released video, Gwen discusses all aspects of her Olympic experience.

Go Gwen Jorgensen!

by David Albrecht

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Chanting CPA at the Emmys

The Big Bang Theory is a CBS sitcom about some Cal Tech physicists.  Come on, if a sitcom about physicists can be so popular, then surely a show about about accountants can be more so.

As if to prove my point, The Big Bang Theory recently aired a skit about Ernst & Young accountants at the Emmy awards.

Here is a clip from the show that is destined to be the most higgly rated BBT show of the season.

The E&Y representative, John the human spreadsheet, blew out his clicking finger during a power point presentation?  Like that has never happened before.

Thanks to Barry Rice on AECM for the tip.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Many of the business schools in the United States are accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).  Generally speaking, AACSB accreditation is dominated by larger B-schools who are able to attract doctorally trained business faculty.  I have been at AACSB schools for most of my career.

When B-schools are up for accreditation or renewal, one of the usual problem areas is assurance of learning.  An evaluation of assurance of learning addresses whether students learned what they were supposed to learn, and how well.  It is a problem area because no professor likes to do it, so most don’t.

Assurance of learning can take place at the program level or course level.  For accounting programs, many schools rely on the passage rate of their students on the CPA exam.  This of course is a very diffuse measure, as student performance on the CPA exam is affected by many factors other than what happens in a student’s recent course of study, and not necessarily by what happened in the students accounting school.

There are problems with an evaluation of assurance of learning at the course level, also.  One such problem is that learning for the long run is considered by some as a desirous goal.  But surveying students a few years after a course ends is difficult.  Perhaps because of the many problems, and because it is a lot of work, most professors do not generate an assessment of learning for their courses.  I think they should.  What follows is what I do.

I evaluate assurance of learning as I go along during a course.  My blog essay today is based on the assumption that my course is set up to teach what is supposed to be taught.  Although I’m not doing it here, evidence for this stage of the evaluation can be gathered from the course syllabus and its section on detailed course learning outcomes.

The basics of my evaluation of assurance of learning from within a course is to gather evidence of measurements (scores and/or grades) from summative tests and projects (after learning has taken place and where letter grades are assigned) to form an opinion as to whether student learning has taken place for each specific course learning objective.  Wow, that is a long sentence.

In the following report on my evaluation of assurance of learning for my recent cost accounting course, you can see how I’ve used numeric scores from each test question (or group of questions) to assess whether each course learning outcome has been satisfactorily met.

Albrecht Report on Evaluation of Assurance of Learning
for recent cost accounting test.

I will release the test with answers later today.

Of course, one might question what test question scores really mean.  Much of the time I log and count each different student answer, and list how many points were awarded for that answer.  Although I have not done it for this test (hey, I’m tired already), it is the only way of documenting what level of student performance has actually taken place on the test.  Rest assured, I have been doing it for years.  And, I don’t use multiple choice questions, only problems and questions requiring written answers.

You might ask, is all of this really necessary?  Well, such reports are in many ways like auditor work papers.  And yes, they are necessary.  But as I said, no professor likes to do it, and most professors don’t do it.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Less than three months ago I started a free trial subscription to Netflix.  Since then I have continued paying a minimal monthly fee ($7.99) to continue the service.

Netflix streams video (TV shows and movies) to subscribers like myself.  There are hardly any new releases, yet there are many films that missed my notice when they first appeared as video rentals months or years ago.  Some of these are most definitely putrid.  But a few are both interesting and entertaining.

One such tiny little gem is a low budget (est. $60,000, IMDB) independent comedy film titled, Memron.  In style, it reminds me of The Office.   It is sarcastic, cynical, mocking, and unpredictable.  It is also funny in a guilty pleasure sort of way.

Memron takes aim at Enron with its crooked executives and clueless employees.  At the start of the film, a text announcement mentions the 60,000 employees who have lost their jobs.  Memron, surviving in name only, sponsors “Where is my parachute,” career seminars to help former employees who are now unemployed and destitute.  After hearing a suggestion that they should start a business, a small group dreams up AirFlow, a company that sells fresh natural air.  The air is captured in plastic garbage bags at a local park, resulting in one arrest for theft of a natural resource.

The new Memron CEO (who was ordered by the ex-CEO  to spy on the group) steals the idea.  Airflow then makes millions for Memron.  At film’s end, company stock has rebounded making former executives filthy rich.

Actor Michael McShane portrays ex-con, ex-CEO and perpetual fraudster Ken Clay.  It is McShane’s film and he does a fine job in the lead role.  He isn’t memorable for any prior role, but he really nails this part.  Nor are any of the other actors recognizable except for Claire Forlani (who appears in a small role) and Tim Bagley.

This film is worth a view.  You will find it at Amazon and on Netflix.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Cheating.  About 99.9% of humanity does it at one time or another. It’s common in education.  It’s common in business.  It’s common everywhere.

Accounting is one profession where honesty and integrity is part of the job description.  Yet, cheating exists.  A friend, former accountant and CFO Sam Antar, orchestrated much of the splashiest fraud of the 1980s at Crazy Eddie. Accountant cheating, as in financial statement manipulation, is pandemic.

In my surfing, I came across a website with this catchy banner:

Pic credit: WeTakeYourClass.com

WeTakeYourClass will take your on-line class and guarantee at least a grade of B.  It says it will get you an A 99% of the time. It specializes in taking math, business and sciences.  It specifically mentions accounting.

It is frustrating for me to know that while I spend my life trying to teach students to do the right thing, there are people trying to get them to do the wrong thing.

Pic credit: WeTakeYourClass.com

The site claims to get a student an A about 99% of the time, and it also claims to be risk free to the student. Are they being honest about cheating?

A comment to a similar story at Carpe Diem says, “I … found out that there are many sites that offer this service. One quotes a fee a low as $695 for grad level courses and only $430 for undergrad economics courses.”  Hey, that’s affordable.

If you are a student and are reading this, please don’t do it.

I prefer F2F classes where a student can look you in the eye while he/she cheats.  It’s more honest that way.

Thanks to Jim Ulvog for the tip.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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A meme is an image or recording packaged in such a way as to communicate a message or capture the fancy of those who see/view/hear it.  It is communicated via the Internet.   Their explosive impact has come of age in today’s social media world.

A few minutes ago I received an e-mail from Auntie Bev, into which she had pasted several meme images.  One caught my eye, and I’ve since been able to determine that it’s a true viral phenomenon, posted to thousands of blogs and Facebook accounts.

I’m not sure about the message of this meme.  Perhaps it is that some cheaters are unstoppable.  Or, masterful cheating is admirable.  Perhaps the message is that because cheating is unstoppable, it’s OK to do it.

Using my screen capture utility, I have snipped the following image from another viral meme.  It delivers quite a different message.

I suppose the message for this one is that opportunistic cheating is everywhere.  Or, it might be that cheating is due to teacher carelessness.  Whatever, the meme is funny.  Darn kids.  If this one would only try to learn as much as he tries to cheat.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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On Friday, September 7, Accounting Today released its list of Top 100 Most Influential People in accounting.  All honorees have risen to a level of leadership and responsibility and all wield some sort of influence.

An accounting influencer is a thought leader who communicates those thoughts through a communication channel or from a forum.  In the 21st century, blogging has become the medium of choice for those with influence.

Of the Top 100 most influential people, 26 express themselves via a blog!  Imagine that.  I have queried groups of students, accounting professionals and professors before about blogging.  In no group has more than 1-2% indicated they are bloggers.  Yet, the blogging rate is much higher for those who are influential.  There’s a lesson to be learned here.

Four of the 26 were named to the Top 100 for their blogging activites.  They are:

Bloggers & media

In the following group, three of the 22 only share their thoughts on internal-only blogs.  All supposedly write their own articles on a blog:

Debit and credit – -David Albrecht

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Pic credit – Accounting Today

On Friday, September 7, Accounting Today released its list of “Top 100 Most Influential People” in accounting.  All honorees have risen to a level of leadership and responsibility and all wield some sort of influence.

The editors of Accounting Today describe the list as a work in process.  As the profession changes, whether due to societal, technological or other factors, they claim the list evolves to capture the contemporary stage of the profession.

As technology grows more important in accounting, we include new IT experts; as new regulatory bodies are formed, we add new regulators; as more Millennials and Gen Ys rise to positions of importance, more of them will appear among the Top 100; as the profession explores more new specialities, we’ll add experts from those fields; and as more women and minorities (hopefully) join the profession, we’ll add more women and minorities.

By my count, 75% of the list is male and 95% is Caucasian.  Although the editors mention change, in broad composition the list is similar to last year when it contained auditors, regulators, vendors, etc.  Change has taken place at the individual level, though.  When some previous members retired, they were replaced on the list by their successors.


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Pic credit – Accounting Today

On September 7, 2012, the Accounting Today released its 2012 list of “Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting.”  Professor David Albrecht (that’s me) made the list.  I was also named to the list in 2011.

Thank you very much, AT, for awarding me this tremendous honor.

I made the list for blogging on The Summa about IFRS, accounting education, and social media adoption by the accounting profession.  Last year I was recognized also for innovative teaching.

Pic credit – Accounting Today

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Explaining My Absence

ProfAlbrecht hopes this is true.
Pic credit – Zazzle.com

Dear reader,

You’ve noticed that my posting frequency took a big dip in August.  That’s what happens when a professor takes a new job.  I am now a full professor at the University of South Carolina – Upstate, in Spartanburg, SC.  Specifically, I’m at the George Dean Johnson, Jr., College of Business and Economics.  How has this disrupted my blogging routine?

First, there is the moving.  In this case, from my Fargo, ND, apartment back to the family in Bowling Green, OH.  Then, my work stuff from Bowling Green down to Spartanburg, SC.  Eventually, I will be able to move everything and everybody from the family home in Bowling Green down here to Spartanburg.

Second, there is the start of a new semester.  Every university seems to have its own way of doing things.  In addition, there are new colleagues to befriend and new work routines to learn.  Oh, and new students to develop relationships with.  I intend to write about the Upstate students who are great!

Third, there is learning how to live in a new city.  I love it down here.  I especially love playing in the local bridge clubs in Spartanburg and nearby Greenville and Tryon.

I’ve been keeping a list of blog posts to write, and it just hit 30.  I better start working on the backlog.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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