Current Topics in Accounting Sample Syllabus

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Professor Richard White, Utica College

Course Description

Our primary focus will be on increasing your competencies in the accounting field. The AICPA core competency framework identifies the required competencies for students entering the accounting profession. Competencies are categorized as functional (technical competencies), personal (individual attributes and values) and broad business perspective competencies (relating to understanding of internal and external business contexts).

The functional competencies include:

  1. Decision Modeling
  2. Risk analysis
  3. Measurement
  4. Reporting
  5. Research
  6. Technology

Personal competencies include:

  1. Professional Demeanor
  2. Problem Solving and Decision Making
  3. Interaction
  4. Leadership
  5. Communication
  6. Project management

Business perspective competencies include:

  1. Strategic/Critical Thinking
  2. Industry/Sector Perspective
  3. International/Global Perspective
  4. Resource Management
  5. Legal/Regulatory Perspective
  6. Marketing/Client Focus

The intention of this class is to include some of these competencies that may not have been covered in extensive detail in other classes and to provide you the opportunity to expand in these areas. The research, reporting and technology area is a critical item in the functional area that we can include in this class; the research skill allows you to access and apply information and the technology skill includes accessing electronic databases. These skills are also useful in the other competencies areas.

In addition, many practitioners rank reading comprehension and written skills as important skills for practice. Reasoning skills in terms of developing sound logical conclusions are very important in the accounting profession. Continual self-learning to maintain skills and discipline is also an important part of working in a profession that is always changing. The CPA exam includes research and written communication skills, so this class will help you in those areas. I will be working with you as a coach and facilitator of your learning process.

The bottom line is that you should be developing more than just subjective matter knowledge in our program. The AICPA has listed three areas of focus, but you could also list the learning categories as:

  1. Subject matter knowledge and skills
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Problem-solving
  4. Effective communication
  5. Lifelong learning skills

Please note that I have included a series of short tasks and cases on the course website. Some of our tasks will come from these cases and I will create a few others based on your interest. You should become familiar with the FASB online resources for accessing authoritative GAAP as well as other resources I will post. During this course I will expose you to additional online resources.

Course Objectives

The chief objectives of the course are:

  1. Include individual and groups tasks that allow you practice some of the AICPA competencies skills such as research, reporting and technology.
  2. Include current topics such as the pronouncements of the AICPA, FASB, SEC, and other organizations and the analysis of their effects on the contemporary accounting environment.