Accounting Information Systems: Cases and Readings

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9780130352897: Accounting Information Systems: Cases and Readings

Addressing technology's impact on traditional clerical and decision-making accounting processes, the authors of Accounting Information Systems Cases and Readings have, through their experience in the field, compiled a casebook of current AIS cases. The cases—featuring undisguised companies, real companies whose identities are disguised in order to allow the case specifics to be geared to the classroom, and fictitious companies used as a gathering of separate, but real issues reflecting the authors' practitioner experiences— provide an effective method whereby readers can glean real-world insights and knowledge. AIS cases covered include Cougar Collection Agency (A & B), McKracklin Aerospace (A-B), State Parks (A-D), Carey Manufacturing (A, B & C), Health Corporation (A), and Intel's Operations Service Center. For accounting professionals and systems analysts.

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The Setting:

There are many forces at work threatening to change the very nature of the accounting profession. Technology is evolving at an exponential rate, changing or eliminating traditional clerical and decision-making accounting processes. This and exploding globalism are altering drastically the commercial landscape, and the values that organizations place on traditional and emerging assets (3). There also has been a steady decline in audit engagements, the basic foundation of CPA activity.

These and other factors have created what many consider to be a crisis in accounting education. In their treatise sponsored by the American Accounting Association, Steve Albrecht and Robert Sack exhort academics to rethink the manner in which the dwindling numbers of accounting students are educated today (1). One persistent clarion call has been that classroom lectures must be augmented by "real-world" accounting experiences.

There are many ways of imparting real-world experiences to accounting students in a typical curriculum or course offering. Students can be encouraged to enroll in internship or cooperative education experiences with business or public organizations. Accounting professors can invite to their classes practitioners working in the accounting profession. Accounting courses may include student team projects involving analysis and description of the day-today accounting activities of a local area business organization. Case studies have proven to be another effective method whereby accounting students can glean real-world insights and knowledge.

"Cases provide a degree of realism in which theoretical textbook situations can be applied to real-world situations" (2). Students individually or in groups investigate real-world issues, discuss these issues in a group setting, evaluate alternatives, then present solutions. These solutions can be compared to what actually happened in reality. Case studies are not new to accounting education. However, there seems to be a scarcity of current Accounting Information System (AIS) cases such as the ones included in this book.

The Book:

The AIS cases in the book fall into three organizational categories:

  • Undisguised companies (e.g., Intel)
  • Real companies whose identities are disguised in order to allow the case specifics to be better focused to the classroom (e.g., Fidelity Health Corporation)
  • Fictitious companies used as a gathering of separate but real issues reflecting the authors' practitioner experiences (e.g., Carey Manufacturing Company).

These cases can be used in part, as an isolated unit, or as a continuous series to experience the entire life cycle of the project (e.g., PARKS (A) through PARKS (D)). Each case includes political and personal characteristics that often complicate implementation of logical, reasoned decisions. Each case "tells a story," with real or disguised actors. Story telling has long been recognized as an effective method for pushing facts and concepts into long-term memory.

Finally, this book contains a feature not found in most case study collections. There is an appendix that contains expanded descriptions of the companies used in the cases. This allows both student and instructor to expand investigation beyond the constraints imposed by the case narrative.

To The Instructor

There always has been some controversy on the effectiveness of the case study ' methodology. For example, some suggest that the case study approach is not nearly as ' effective at the undergraduate level as it might be at the graduate level. We have designed this book so that both advocates and skeptics of the case study methodology can use it. For example, you can use these case studies as lecture material or merely for homework assignments.

These cases are focused towards 16 different learning objectives found in most Accounting Information System (AIS) textbooks (e.g., documentation techniques or application of internal controls). We have designed this book with a specific AIS text in mind (4), but it can be used with any AIS textbook, or it can be used as a standalone book in a second-level AIS course. Many of our cases focus on relatively new AIS subject matters such as E-commerce, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) models, and valuation of IT resources.

There is an extensive instructor's guide available upon adoption of this book for an academic class. This guide includes the following elements for each case:

  • Educational objectives of the case
  • Basic pedagogy (e.g., recommended course, time needed)
  • Case summary
  • Key issues
  • Theoretical linkages to issues (e.g., short literature review)
  • Suggested answers to assignments
  • Suggested student responses (e.g., writing assignments)
  • Teaching tips (e.g., board layout, role playing, distributed learning use)
  • Bibliography/ "For Further Reading"
  • Epilog What actually happened in real world
  • Exhibits (e.g., transparency masters)

Merle Martin
Monica Lam

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