Teaching tips

Tips and resources to help in the classroom

We have collected lots of ideas from our community to help you teach accounting in engaging, accessible and effective ways.

Firefighting the ChatGPT storm

Samantha Bell is a senior lecturer in accounting at the University of Bristol. Sam Bell considers the impact of AI in accounting coursework assessments. She explores how questions and rubrics can be adapted to deter improper use of Large Language Models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT, Google Bard and BingChat. She…Read more

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Stick man speaking

Using learning science in accounting education

I was recently invited to address accounting educators at a conference about using learning science in accounting education. My presentation was immediately after lunch. Anybody with teaching or training experience knows that these postprandial slots are challenging. You’re up against the biological processes of metabolism — your audience feels sleepy…Read more

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A man between two women sitting at a pondering at Post-it Notes spread out on a round table

Pop-up Symposium 2023

Accounting Cafe members met in person near Oxford on Friday 21 April 2023, for its “Pop-up Symposium 2023” It was a delight to spend the day with enthusiastic, energetic, and creative accounting educators at Accounting Cafe’s Pop-up Symposium. Oxfordshire’s beautiful countryside helped, as did the inspiring and engaging content. Lightning…Read more

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Diagram showing a simple transaction cycle.

Using role play to teach accounting transaction cycles

How role play in accounting education creates an effective and engaging lesson about a topic that can feel very dry. This example uses a case study to explore the processes involved in simple transaction cycles. I introduced this activity in an Accounting Information Systems (AIS) course for first-year undergraduates studying…Read more

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Connecting the body with learning

Right after Christmas your body reminds you, uncomfortably, of all the extravagant dinners you’ve had. But have you thought about connecting the body with learning? Susan Hrach [pronounced ‘rock’] does so in her book ‘Minding Bodies’. [Ref. 1] She makes two claims. One, the body needs to be in a…Read more

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Cartoon of six hats of different colours colours: blue, red, white, green, yellow and black

Creative thinking in accounting education

Last month saw the IgNobel awards for “achievements that first make people laugh, then make them think”. My personal recent favourite is the 2019 award to economics researchers who tested which country’s paper money is best at transmitting dangerous bacteria. It’s precisely this ‘silly but serious’ theme that struck me…Read more

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A pile of disorganised lego bricks

The Chart of Accounts in teaching

This article explains what the Chart of Accounts is and how it can be used in teaching and assessments. It’s a topic that’s addressed in Accounting Information Systems courses, but has relevance to more general accounting education too. It’s an important part of the plumbing system that connects each piece…Read more

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A Yapanese fei stone

Accounting is not just bean-counting; it creates money

This is a brief introduction to the nature of money and its relationship with accounting. It explains how accounting creates money. This is a fun way to introduce accounting, making learners think differently about accounting. Accounting isn’t just about counting beans — it makes them too. It may be hard…Read more

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Embedding a single company case in an IFRS course

Alice Shepherd is an Associate Professor of Accounting and Finance at Leeds University Business School, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an award winning teacher with specialised knowledge of online and distance learning. Embedded case study A single company case study is embedded into the course, so that…Read more

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Working capital is widely misunderstood

Working capital is a widely used but often misunderstood term. To teach it well, the term needs careful scrutiny. The problem starts, as it usually does, with language. “Working” isn’t a helpful term. Working capital suggests that this capital works and the rest of it doesn’t. “Capital” is ambiguous and…Read more

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Teaching liabilities

Paul Jennings gives some useful tips and sequences for teaching liabilities. The elements of financial statements are the building blocks of financial statements.  If your students understand what the elements are then they will understand the basis for reporting events in financial statements. Those elements – assets, liabilities, equity, income…Read more

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Accounting Cafe

Supply chain finance

Supply chain finance is making the news for all the wrong reasons. Although it is a centuries old form of finance, it has played a part in the demise of Abengoa, NMC, Carillion and most recently, Greensill. Here is a simple slide that explains the basic concepts behind factoring and…Read more

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Explaining “qualitative characteristics” from the IFRS Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting

Helping students to understand, rather than just memorise, IFRS principles. This article is also relevant to FASB’s Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 8: Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting. The IFRS Conceptual Framework underpins what international financial reporting standards say and why they identify a particular accounting treatment. Students must…Read more

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Accounting Cafe

Goodwill explained in three words

Goodwill represents those ‘unidentified flying assets’ that can’t be individually identified. Goodwill is one of those slippery concepts that accounting students can find confusing. Accounting for it brings the student in front of a number of difficult questions and misconceptions in accounting, such as the nature of an asset and the…Read more

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Assets are rights

With gratitude to Paul Jennings for this clever idea. Some students find it difficult to appreciate that assets are rights, not things in and of themselves. I used to tell students that in the old days we put motor vehicles on balance sheets but they kept falling off. It didn’t…Read more

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