Posts Tagged ‘Accounting education’

Accounting Education is a British journal published by Taylor & Francis, a profit seeking company. It has just released its issue for June, 2012 (Vol. 21, No 3).  This issue is devoted to academic cheating by students (but not by faculty) and their sensitivity to ethical issues.  A few of the articles sound very interesting.  I would read the entire issue if not for the price.

There are six articles and one editorial.  The download fee is $36 USD per article/essay, or $275 for the entire issue.

Guest Editorial 

  • Academic Dishonesty, Cheating Behaviour and Other Forms of Inappropriate Conduct
    Kenneth J. Smith & Malcolm Smith

Original Articles

  • A Longitudinal Study of Accounting Students’ Ethical Judgement Making Ability
    Maisarah Mohamed Saat, Stacey Porter & Gordon Woodbine
  • The Impact of Honour Codes and Perceptions of Cheating on Academic Cheating Behaviours, Especially for MBA Bound Undergraduates
    Heather M. O’Neill & Christian A. Pfeiffer
  • Challenges to Academic Integrity: Identifying the Factors Associated With the Cheating Chain
    Richard A. Bernardi, Caitlin A. Banzhoff, Abigail M. Martino & Katelyn J. Savasta
  • To Cheat or Not to Cheat: Rationalizing Academic Impropriety
    Jason MacGregor & Martin Stuebs
  • Perceptions of Authorial Identity in Academic Writing among Undergraduate Accounting Students: Implications for Unintentional Plagiarism
    Joan Ballantine & Patricia McCourt Larres
  • Unethical and Deadly Symbiosis in Higher Education
    D. Larry Crumbley, Ronald Flinn & Kenneth J. Reichelt

$275 is a bit pricey for me.  I might pay $15 or $20 to read them all.  If subscribing for a firm, an academic unit or a library, the price is $1,349 USD per year (six issues per year).  And people wonder why no one ever reads a professor’s published academic article.

Truly, I would like to read some of these papers, but the price is simply too high.  I think something needs to be done with the financing model of academic publications.  In this age of the Internet, too many commentaries and research papers are available inexpensively.  Maintaining artificially high prices restricts reader access.  If accounting professors are business professors, why is it that we seem to be ignorant of the law of supply and demand.

Moreover, why is there no blog for this journal?  In a blog researchers could interpret their findings for the public.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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I’ve created a new blog.  The long title is An Accounting Professor Ponders the Classroom.  Call it Accounting Professor for short.  Find it here at http://accountingprofessor.wordpress.com.

Please add it to your bookmarks, and tell all your friends about it.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Accounting and/or financial blogs are a big deal.  As the world evolves and becomes faster paced, long-lived jobs will disappear.   We accountants will adapt by piecing together a career from many project-length opportunities.  I believe it will be a matter of professional life or death for accountants to get on top of evolving current events and stay there.  For there to be life, we all need to make life-long learning a lifestyle.

The ability to think will separate thrivers from survivors and hangers-on.  We accountants will need to think critically (buzzword for analyze and understand what is going on), creatively (inventing solutions) and practically (applying cutting edge skills to implement solutions).

How will we learn to think these ways and grow our thinking?  Independent blogs commentaries like The Summa, and re: The Auditors, and TaxGirl.  Blogs provide input to fuel critical thinking, seeds for creating thinking, and energy for practical thinking.

So, I want to encourage accounting/financial blogging.  Then along came this e-mail. from a Summa reader, asking about my blogging process.  Although I don’t reveal his identity, I’m already aware of his writing and his unifying message.  He has a lot to contribute, and I think he should blog.   So, I wrote this blog piece.   His comments/questions are  in emphasized green, answers in normal font.

Love your blog. I’m thinking of starting one………… How many hours a week do you spend on it?

A simple answer is 20-30 hours, but it really depends. Posts, which frequently become essays, start with a four hour time commitment and grow from there.  Some of the technical essays I did on IFRS could took a week to ten days of writing for a 6,000 word essay.  And this was on top of my already having mentally planned the structure of the essay.  If you aren’t already an expert on something, add research time.

An important factor in budgeting for time is your expectation of the blog post’s permanence.  Quality essays that will still be read a year later require more time to create, or else it will be GIGO.


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On Developing a Worldview is proving to be a blog essay with legs.  It’s time to reveal the impetus for that piece.  In waning days of 2009, I received an e-mail:

Hello Professor Albrecht,

My name is Garrett D.; I am a recent graduate of an undergraduate accounting program currently serving in public practice as an audit associate in the Chicagoland area, and am interested in potentially pursuing a career in accounting academia. I have not applied to any programs as of yet, but am rather looking to acquire a fuller understanding of what it means to become an academic, and an accounting academic in particular. Hitherto, my exposure to this way of life has been limited to Stephen Zeff’s biography of Henry Rand Hatfield, fairly intermittent reading of the Financial Accounting Standards Research Initiative blog, and sporadic digestion of select accounting articles and monographs. Your blog has been of interest to me for a while now, and, upon reading your most recent post, “On Being a Blogging Professor,” I was struck by the emphasis you placed on developing a mature worldview as an accounting academic. Though I might be mistaken, I also recall you discussing the development of a “coherent worldview” as an accounting academic in previous posts. This “worldview development” imperative, alongside an intrinsic interest in education as a process, calling, and as a social phenomenon, is, as far as I can tell, primarily driving my interest in academia.

I am curious, if it is not too much trouble, if you will perhaps aid me in this effort to develop a coherent accounting worldview. Would you mind providing me with a recommended reading list of “accounting essentials” to add structure to my excursions within this discipline?

Thank you for your consideration.

Kind regards,
Garrett D.

Such a well-intentioned request.   I delivered On Developing a Worldview, in which the focus is on the process by which a person can acquire a worldview.  I promised a second essay in which I described the path I took in developing my own worldview.  But I didn’t promise a third essay, offering a reading list so that he could start working on his.  I never said never, I just didn’t say yes.

I delivered (and promised) only in part for two reasons.  First, I immediately saw value in a more general response for readers of The Summa.  I didn’t want to scare anyone off by being too detailed in my first essay.  Second, he was asking for something I didn’t have on hand.  So I shirked.   After I published On Developing a Worldview, Garret wrote back:


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I have occasionally written about the need for a professor to develop a mature worldview.  More so than that, we all (whether professor, student, or professional) should consciously develop a world view.  Yes, a world-view is a good thing.  Although there are three accepted forms for spelling the term, it is not a difficult concept.

A worldview is one person’s mental model of his/her reality.  It is a personal framework for organizing ideas, attitudes and theories about some aspect of the world in which a person lives.  When viewed in its totality, it is a personal description of the way all things work.

When we are young and/or inexperienced, our view is limited because we haven’t seen that much of the world.  Thirty two years ago when I first studied accounting, my worldview of accounting was pretty much limited to what was immediately in front of my nose (an only-in-front-of-nose-view).  Likewise, thirty years ago when I taught my first accounting class, my view of the world of accounting education was very limited.  It was not mature.  Never-the-less, I had a mental model of sorts.  Not a framework, it was more like a clothes hamper where I tossed my ideas and a few attitudes.  Somewhere along the path of my life, I built a few theories for explaining how a few isolated things worked (I always had teaching tendencies).  Eventually the clothes hamper was so crammed, disorganized and messy, I had to develop a framework for classifying and sorting everything.  So I worked on it.  And voilà–I had a worldview.

I’ve been asked to post a reading list for developing an accounting worldview.  I can’t, because it doesn’t work that way.  Here’s why.


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Albrecht is a blogging professor.

I’m a senior accounting professor.  The Summa is my expression of what and how I think about the world of accounting, i.e., the world according to Albrecht.

Why should anyone care?  There are a few ways to answer.

One possible answer is because society has decided that there be professors.  Professors-to-be are charged with studying in a discipline until such time as they are ready to teach others.  What criterion or criteria signal readiness?  I think it should be when he/she has sufficient understanding and wisdom to be able to teach students in the way they should go, or be.  This is a pretty tall order.  Over the years, I’ve claimed this is when a professor has a mature view on the way his/her part of the world works.

A second possibility is because it fits within a professor’s generally accepted professional duties.  The consensus is that a professor has three primary areas of responsibility:


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Are we asking for problems?

I’m busy with grading, so this is very brief.  Over at AECM a discussion has been held about issues related to providing an accounting education within a context of a 150 semester hour requirement.  I think re:  The Auditors put something up on it a while back.

A lot has been written about the not-so-hidden agendas of corporate management, auditing firms, politicians and the SEC.  Everyone is out to maximize their personal position, and no one is looking out for the public good.  Certainly not execs (earnings manipulation, greedy bonuses), nor the Big 4 (IFRS adoption, exoribant fees for shoddy auditing), Obama (bargaining away GAAP for political gain), SEC ( favoring big business and polital agendas).

Now, it is extremely obvious that our accounting programs are birds of a feather!  Many programs have shifted undergraduate accounting courses to the graduate level, and now charge an extra 50-100% premium for the same courses!  And, with graduate admissions requirements serving as a barrier to entry, not all accounting students have equal access to essential accounting courses.

Why have our collegiate accounting programs done this?  They’re money grubbing for extra tuition.  Oh, justification is attempted by saying that the masters credential is important, that higher level thinking is provided in graduate curses, that there is value added in general.

Folks, I’ve been there and much of the time all these reasons amount only to so much BS.  OK, there are some (a few) wonderful masters programs in accounting.  There are many, though, that don’t provide sufficient value for the extra bucks being charged.  I’m sure this comment is gong to make me very unpopular with my colleagues.


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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.

Well, the party’s almost over.  Day 14 of two weeks.  My goals for today are simple.

  1. Catch up on the e-mail I didn’t get to on Friday.
  2. Make progress on writing about the Holy Grail of Accounting, a new blog essay.
  3. Make progress on writing about the accounting theory related to lease accounting, a new blog essay.

5:45-8:15 p.m. E-mail.  I assign papers in my Managerial and Cost Accounting courses, and a frequent topic is productivity.  Interesting article, “Recession or expansion, U.S. productivity continues to soar.”  The author notes that productivity in the U.S. is up 8.1%.  Unfortunately, the productivity increase is recession-driven:  layoffs mean that companies must do as much or more with fewer workers.  The key is to retain productivity gains during and after a recovery.  Professor James R. Martin, though, has assembled some data from World Economic Federation publications that reveal American economic competitiveness has steadily improved over the past 10-15 years to its number one ranking.

Over at AECM, a recurring theme is how huge, obscene government spending programs will eventually lead to multi-trillion dollar deficits, a loss of capital investment and eventual loss of productivity.  A clever and entertaining song from the popular culture doubt the long-term benefit of stimulus plans:

I don’t know if the following song adds value to any discussion, but it entertaining.

Bob Jensen at AECM informs of a song about Mark to market accounting (fair value accounting).  Thanks for the link, Bob.

Bob Jensen also links to a presentation by an invisible woman (Nicole Johnson).  Her message is inspiring.  She encourages all to continue on, even if the absence of recognition or appreciation.  This invisibility is the antidote to pride.  She says that we may never live to see the fruits of our labors, nor may we ever get recognized.  That doesn’t matter, for God sees.  And we see.


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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’m rededicating myself to work today.  Must finish grading projects.  Must plan for tomorrow’s classes.  Nothing else matters.  Only 13.5 hours available, must make every minute count.

Comic published yesterday so perfectly describes how long I’m expected to work.  Thanksgiving isn’t on the list.  PhDComics.com is written for graduate students.  Professors, though, are expected to work as hard and as long as students.

9:55-10:40 a.m. TWILAP.  Established goals for week.

10:40-11:40 a.m. E-mail.  Nothing important enough to cite.

12:25-12:50 p.m.  In transit.

12:50-3:50 p.m. Class preparation for Intermediate Accounting.  During this block of time I have a lot to do.  I write my own homework (HW) problems, hoping that they are more realistic and general that the often picayune problems that accompany most accounting textbooks.  I had to repair solutions for my receivables HW.  I also had to get problems ready for the chapter on inventory methods.  I don’t collect HW from my classes for grading.  No professor should do this, because HW is intended for students to learn.  They shouldn’t be graded on learning attempts, because it is normal to expect imperfections during learning, and not everyone learns as quickly as others.  Instead, professors should wait until after students have learned the material and are ready to perform on tests.  In Intermediate Accounting, I send out solutions so that students can check their work.  Do students work on HW without getting credit?  My experience is that they do.  I wait until the end of the semester, and then require students to show me that they worked at least 80% of all assigned HW problems.

3:50-4:10 p.m. Class preparation for Managerial Accounting.

4:10-4:15 p.m. E-mail.

4:15-4:40 p.m. In transit back home.

5:40-11:59 p.m. Grading Intermediate Accounting projects.  Students are doing well, but grading is still drudgery for professors.

Total:  12 hours, 20 minutes.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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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.

Today is going to be a teaching and learning day.  Notice that so far this week, I haven’t done much on my co-primary responsibility, which is scholarly activity.  There just doesn’t ever seem to be time for that.   I’ll have to tend to that, as soon as possible.  I have two deadlines coming up.  Monday, December 1, for submitting a proposal for an online conference on teaching.  I’ve thought it out, will only take me 30 minutes to get it ready.  Monday, December 8, for submitting proposals for papers, workshops and panel discussions.  This will take some significant amounts of time.  I definitely need to write a paper on this one.  But, the paper is only just begun and no where near where it needs to be.

4:30-5:40 a.m. E-mail.

Sometimes the prof needs to lead and then pull students along.6:00-6:45 a.m. Teaching!  Today will be just like the picture to the right.  In both courses today, new topics (actually new areas), are on the schedule.

In Managerial accounting, up first at 10:30, we’re going to cover budgeting.  Accounting texts do a lousy job of budgeting because they (don’t even try to place students in situations where behaviora and social factors influence the budget preparation process.  It is pretty much taught as crunch a few numbers.  But budgeting is more than that.  It involves making decisions about expanding or contracting certain activities, promoting A or discharging B, and deciding between different strategies such as make or outsource.  No, textbooks just run students through a few number-crunching exercises and that’s it.

So, what am I to do? I refuse to go through some of the number crunching work as it has no value I can see, except it is a way of passing class time.  I will work on preparing cash budgets, as it does tie biz activities to having cash to pay for those activities.  That’s useful, right?  Well, the Managerial Accounting students have been given their reading assignment and I’ve written  two homework problems, actually the ideas are stolen from a better managerial accounting book.  I’ll pull the students right along today, higher and higher up the mountain.


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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.

Monday, and the week begins in earnest.  Today is my “teaching” day.

7:10-7:20 a.m. E-mail.  In box is not out of control, so that is a relief.  Notified of a story, “Center for Audit Quality Defends PCAOB’s Record in Urging Supreme Court to Leave Board Intact“, over at Jim Hamilton’s World of Securities Regulation. It’s a really nice piece laying out the issues to the Supreme Court challenge to the PCAOB.  It is an important issue worth my writing a separate essay.  Fat chance I’ll ever get the time to do it.  Reminds me a bit of Floyd Norris article at NYT from Nov. 6, “Goodbye to Reforms of 2002“.  Yeah, I should reflectively write on this one.

7:20-8:20  a.m Class preparation.  Today I also feel uneasy because I’m past my comfort zone in the courses I’m teaching this term.

Take Managerial Accounting, my first class on tap at 10:30.  I’ve built the course around information needed to make certain types of decisions.  I’ve had lots of interesting things for students to do.  Classes have been interesting, challenging and fun.  Students have responded well, and I’m glad.

Today is going to be more like work.  The material doesn’t lend itself to my strengths in the classroom.  Mostly, I don’t think I can appeal to students’ imagination today.  So, we’ll just go over some problems and I hope that students can discern important truths on their own.  I can’t help them much.

Well, must print out the problems, look over them one more time, and move on.


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This article was published in the American Journal of Business Education.    I am entitled to place a copy on my personal web site, so am placing it here at this time.  Click here for a pdf copy.

The complete citation is:

Albrecht, W. David.  (2008).  Ace Your Accounting Classes:  12 Hints To Maximize Your Potential, American Journal of Business Education, Volume 1, Number 1 (Quarter 3), pp. 1-8.


Many students experience difficulties when they try to get good grades in their accounting classes, and they are searching for answers.  There is no single answer.  Getting a good grade in an accounting class results from a process.  If you know and understand the process-and can apply it–then your chances are much improved for getting a good grade.  I recommend a process that includes twelve steps: (1) know what the professor expects, (2) be your own teacher, (3) work hard from the first day, (4) attend every class, (5) take good notes, (6) participate in class, (7) read the textbook several times, (8) look for patterns, (9) do the homework, (10) study with a friend, (11) study long and hard for each exam, and (12) live healthfully.


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