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engaging the broad accounting community

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    Julie Smith David
    How do we attract adequate numbers of high potential,...
    question posted November 9, 2010 by Julie Smith David, last edited February 10, 2012 
    1082 Views, 2 Comments
    question:
    How do we attract adequate numbers of high potential, diverse students/talent into the accounting profession and retain these students throughout their educational and professional pathways?

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    • Joe Hoyle

      I have taught for 40 years in college and my observations are that most accounting majors become attracted to the field in their first accounting course in college (which is usually a Financial Accounting course).   So, the more help that you can offer the people teaching that course, the more attractive the major becomes.   I would suggest that you get the 20-40 best financial accounting teachers in the country to each make a couple of subject videos on the various topics covered in Financial Accounting.   For example, my good friend C. J. Skender at UNC would be a great example.   Put these up on a website and make them easily available to every financial accounting teacher in the country/world.  Do NOT have videos on "why you should major in accounting" because that just comes over as propaganda.  Have videos on real life topics such as "how are accounts receivable reported?" and "why are contingencies a reporting nightmare?" because that is where the real flavor and challenge of accounting is found.   Then, after covering a topic in a college class, the teacher could simply say "to get further information on this topic, or for review purposes, go to the AAA website for a free video."   It seems to me that the quantity and quality of the students being drawn into the accounting profession is extremely dependent on the quality of the individuals who teach that very first course.   Help them to be better and, I believe, the number of students majoring in accounting will rise immediately.   Joe Hoyle

    • Robert E Jensen

      Email – February 17, 2011
      “I am only sending this note to my students who made a C or less on our first test. As you and I both know, this grade was only a small part of your grade. There is no reason why you cannot turn your grade into an A or (at least) a B. However, my experience is that students tend to keep their same grades unless they make some changes. Without changes, the first test is a pretty decent indicator of the final grade. And, I don’t like that – I didn’t get into this business to give Cs, Ds, and Fs. I want As and Bs. “So, what changes can you make? And, I realize that I have already talked with several of you about this. And, even better, several of you have already started to do the following . . .
      Joe Hoyle, "A Critical Moment," February 18, 2011 ---  http://joehoyle-teaching.blogspot.com/2011/02/critical-moment.html 

      Jensen Comment
      Joe essentially asks the students to determine what they do not understand well and instructs them to seek more help on those fuzzy things in his office hours. I think the students receiving low grades must take on more responsibility for themselves. Firstly, these students must be honest with themselves about the difference between "effort" versus "concentration (sweat) effort." Some students seem to think that sitting in the library with their books open constitutes "effort," when in fact they're more than likely day dreaming, chatting with friends, watching the mini skirts, and falling for all sorts of other distractions. "Concentration (sweat) effort" entails shutting off everything other than focusing at the task itself.

      The second thing in learning accounting, as with learning mathematics and piano playing, entails practice, practice, and more practice until learners can honestly say that they got it down pat. Understanding a few assigned textbook problems is not enough. Nor is writing down what you don't understand and running for a professor or friend enough to "get it down pat." If there's no sweat on the brow then a student probably does not really "get it."

      When I took my first two calculus classes and my first two intermediate accounting classes (using the Finney and Miller textbook) I think I worked every problem at the end of every chapter and then asked for permission to check my answers with the answer books. This was overkill, but it worked for this farm boy! Both subjects came easier for me after that, although while a senior I studied for the CPA examination in much the same manner (in those days in Colorado we could take the CPA examination before we graduated). That's how I learned to equate sweat with learning. As a result I never had to bother my instructors much outside the classroom. And I got by the CPA examination on the first try before I graduated as a senior.

      To my musician mother's disappointment I never worked up a sweat when I put in hours practicing the piano. It was wasted time, and to this day I can only play one song (badly) on the piano. I never did "get it" with reading music and playing what I read. Day dreams took over for concentrated effort during my "practice sessions." My mother, on the other hand, could play any sheet of music propped up on the piano at our church. She could also play requests "by ear" when she played a big Wurlitzer in the center of a roller skating rink on Friday and Saturday nights. She also gave private lessons to music students on a weekly basis. But I was a hopeless case. Sigh!