New to teaching accounting?

This course is for you if you’re new to teaching accounting in higher education, or are perhaps considering a career move to accounting education.

It’s designed to provide friendly support and to help you take the next steps in building your career, improve your teaching and engaege your students. The course is packed with advice, tips, tricks, and resources from a experienced academics and practitioners.
Toby York and Paul Jennings discuss the Accounting Cafe course New To Teaching Accounting

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From unrequited love to sleeping with the enemy

This Accounting Cafe online seminar on 25 March 2022 explored the future relationship between universities and the professional accounting bodies.

Our guests argued that to protect the future of accounting education a new social partnership is necessary between universities and the professional accounting bodies.

A significant problem is the current accreditation system which constrains accounting academics, risks academic freedoms and suppresses innovations in teaching, learning and assessment.

They claimed that university programmes dominated by professional development learning outcomes deprive students from obtaining essential critical skills better suited to employment opportunities and their future careers.

Their conclusion is that academia and the professional accounting bodies cannot survive without each other, but both must be willing to answer difficult questions and accept constructive criticism.

Their paper, From unrequited love to sleeping with the enemy: COVID-19 and the future relationship between UK universities and professional accounting bodies was published in the Accounting Research Journal in October 2021.

This was interesting session with wide-ranging views from academics, professional accounting bodies and students.

Presentation: Umair Riaz, Mo Al Mahameed and Lara Gee

Seminar hosted by:

  • Dr Muhammad Al Mahameed, Assistant Professor in Managerial Economics and Management Accounting at Copenhagen Business School Muhammad and Visiting Assistant Professor at College of Business Administration at the University of Sharjah, having previously been a lecturer in Accounting, Sustainability and Entrepreneurship in the Department of Accounting at Aston University. Before that he worked in investment banking, auditing and accounting firms in the UK and Syria. Muhammad is currently leading the ‘RWAD’ project, which is primarily designed to supply the disadvantaged Entrepreneurs with financial and analytical skills.
  • Lara Gee, Associate Dean Post Graduate Studies for the College of Business and Social Sciences at Aston University, Birmingham. Lara has worked in professional training and higher education for the past 15 years and specialises in taxation, audit and accounting. Previously she has worked in audit for PwC and The Audit Commission.
  • Dr Umair Riaz, Lecturer in Accounting at Aston University.


Paper: From unrequited love to sleeping with the enemy:
COVID-19 and the future relationship between UK universities and professional accounting bodies

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Innovations in accounting education

Accounting Cafe online seminar on 17 February 2022

This Accounting Cafe seminar was hosted by Susan Smith, an innovative and prize-winning accounting educator and Associate Dean at University of Sussex Business School.

Here are 50 minutes of ideas and practical suggestions to help you to deliver innovative accounting teaching, learning and assessment. This is followed by an informal discussion and experiences from other enthusiastic accounting educators from across the world.

02:51Policy and external influences
04:00Accounting curriculum tensions
12:45Homogenisation of the accounting curriculum?
13:29The purpose of innovation
14:41Active learning pedagogies
    — 16:16    — Team based learning
    — 20:53    — Problem based learning
        – 22:24        – Case method
        – 27:55        – Simulations
        – 29:41        – Simulations: gamification
        – 32:08         – Role play
    — 33:29    — Service learning
    — 44:39    — Summary
45:07Pedagogical lens
    — 45:18    — Phenomenon based learning
    — 46:11    — Storytelling
    — 47:52    — Cross cultural learning

Before introducing changes

Susan ackowledges that innovating can be overwhelming and is certainly effortful, so she advises not to innovate simply for the sake of change. Rather, set out clear reasons for innovating and determine what success looks.

Good reasons to innovate include embedding employability skills, or implementing measures to narrow awarding gaps across ethnicities and social inequalities, to increase student retention, to maintain learning outcomes and/or contribute to the university’s other strategic goals.

An additional complication might be that your modules qualify for professional accreditation and must therefore meet syllabus prescriptions to maximise available exemptions and, at the same time, you want your teaching to be distinctive.

Oh, and be sure to enhance student experience while you’re at it!

Active learning

Active learning provides great opportunities for academics to build expertise in specific teaching areas, but the overarching aim is to engage students productively, and research shows that this can benefit all students (Freeman et al, 2014).

Active learning can be interpretated in different ways and covers a broad range of pedagogies. This article provides a small sample of possibilities.

Team based learning

Students are put into small groups which remain in place for the entirety of the module. Before coming to class, each student undertakes individual preparation and completes an Individual Readiness Assurance Test (IRAT) consisting of short answer or multiple choice questions. They then review their answers to those questions in their groups during which they negotiate and submit agreed answers to the same questions: the Team Readiness Assurance Test (TRAT).

Answers provided in the IRAT and TRAT are reviewed by the teacher and class time is used to fill in knowledge gaps and using exercises to apply and extend learning.

Team based learning is widely used across different insitutions which has been shown to reduce awarding gaps and helps to promote collabortion and engagement. Effective implementation requires careful planning and consideration. It requires a lot of upfront work and to be effective must be implemented throughout the module. Research indicates that team based learning improves students’ academic performance, reduces some achievement gaps, and enriches the learning experience (Cagliesi & Ghanei, 2022).

More information: Team-Based Learning Collaborative (TBLC)

Problem based learning

Problem based learning is an umbrella term used to refer to case method, role play and simulations. It develops critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills. It also supports embedded employability skills.

The problem might be a current news stor or a teacher created problem. To be effective it must engage and motivate students to seek out a deeper understanding of concepts. The problem should require students to make reasoned decisions and to defend them and incorporate the content objectives in such a way as to connect it to previous knowledge.

1. Case method

Cases describe real-world scenarios often centred around a specific problem challenge or dilemma. The case method provides an opportunity for students to consider and apply concepts in a practical context. Faculty members with experience or connections with the profession or industry can write their own cases which may also be submitted for publication, for example, Issues in Accounting Education and Accounting Perspectives.

It may be more effective if embedded throughout the module but can also be adopted on an ad hoc basis.

Capstone assessments allow students to demonstrate attainment of learning outcomes over multiple modules (or even an entire year of study) in a single assessment. A case study can provide an excellent foundation for this type of assessment.

There is a lot of support for teachers looking to adopt the case method. The Case Centre provides resources, training and scholarships for new teachers to case teaching. Published cases also attract royalties.

More information: The Case Centre

The Case Centre: scholarships

Harvard Business Review (webinars)

The Case Journal

2. Simulations

Simulations allows students to practice decision-making in a ‘safe’ environment and requires them to focus on specific learning points.

There aren’t many simulations available for accounting and most of those are “off the shelf”, so may not be suitable. There is a cost consideration too.

A specific type of simulation is games based learning (or gamification):

  • Monopoly has been used to help students prepare for an accounting exam (Bergner & Brooks, 2017)
  • The Colour Accounting Learning System uses a board and activities as the basis for demonstrating accounting concepts
  • AccountinGame is a quiz like board game used in classes (Silva, 2021)
  • LegoSerious Play could be used to create an accounting simulation.

There are also various apps and online simulations.

More information: LegoSerious Play

Colour Accounting

Financial Education for Future Entrepreneurs (FEFE)

3. Role play

Role play is a valuable approach that is not much used. It requires students to take on a role and to consider a scenario or problem from that perspective and to communicate and interact with syudents in other roles.

This is better suited to smaller cohorts. A good illustrative example relates to audit education (Powell et al., 2020).

Service learning

Service learning is also referred to as real world, authentic or experiential learning. Students are given access to a real problem and can provide them with the opportunity to add value.

Finding and managing projects is time intensive and scaleability may be problematic.

Riipen is an international platform that connects companies and students.

More information: Riipen


Bergner, J. & Brooks, M. (2017), “The Efficacy of Using Monopoly to Improve Undergraduate Students’ Understanding of the Accounting Cycle”, Advances in Accounting Education: Teaching and Curriculum Innovations (Advances in Accounting Education, Vol. 20), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 33-50.

Cagliesi, G. & Ghanei, M. (2022) Team-based learning in economics: Promoting group collaboration, diversity and inclusion, The Journal of Economic Education, 53:1, 11-30, DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2021.2004276. Accessed: 23 March 2022.

Duch, B. J., Groh, S. E, & Allen, D. E. (Eds.). (2001). The power of problem-based learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus

Freeman S, Eddy SL, McDonough M, Smith MK, Okoroafor N, Jordt H, Wenderoth MP. (2014) Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111. Accessed: 23 March 2022.

Powell, L., Lambert, D., McGuigan, N., Prasad, A., & Lin, J. (2020) Fostering creativity in audit through co-created role-play, Accounting Education, 29:6, 605-639, DOI: 10.1080/09639284.2020.1838929

Sangster, A., Stoner, G. & Flood, B. (2020) Insights into accounting education in a COVID-19 world, Accounting Education, 29:5, 431-562, DOI: 10.1080/09639284.2020.1808487

Silva, R., Rodrigues, R. & Leal, C. (2021) Games based learning in accounting education – which dimensions are the most relevant?, Accounting Education, 30:2, 159-187, DOI: 10.1080/09639284.2021.1891107

Suwardy, T., Pan, G. & Seow, P-S. (2013) Using Digital Storytelling to Engage Student Learning, Accounting Education, 22:2, 109-124, DOI: 10.1080/09639284.2012.748505

Taylor, M., Marrone, M., Tayar, M. & Mueller, B. (2018) Digital storytelling and visual metaphor in lectures: a study of student engagement, Accounting Education, 27:6, 552-569, DOI: 10.1080/09639284.2017.1361848

Wahid ElKelish, W. & Ahmed, R. (2021) Advancing accounting education using LEGO® Serious Play simulation technique, Accounting Education, DOI: 10.1080/09639284.2021.1905011.

Susan is Associate Dean at University of Sussex Business School, she holds a PhD in Accounting and is a Principal Fellow of Advance HE, and an elected member of the ICAEW.

In 2021 Susan won the Learning Together Award at the University Education Awards for her work with a staff-student partnership.


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Teach accounting with confidence

On 7 December 2021, Colin Leith and Toby York hosted an introductory seminar to a free online course for Level 3 teachers called “Teach accounting with confidence”.

Colin Leith and Toby York outline the course content and the teaching and learning strategies

Colin Leith is Economics, Business and Esports Subject Advisor at Pearson Education and Toby York is a chartered accountant, Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University and founder of 

The seminar outlined the principles of an educational approach, the Colour Accounting Learning System, that makes accounting education accessible, engaging and fun for learners and teachers alike.

The “Teach accounting with confidence” course, which is free of charge, begins on 18 January 2022. There are two streams: BTEC and A Level. When you sign up you will be given the option to select one or both courses.

Time: 4pm on Tuesdays
Duration: 60 minutes
Hosts: Colin Leith and Toby York
Sessions: 8
Dates: 18, 25 January, 1, 8, 22 February and 1, 8 and 15 March 2022.

A Level
Time: 5.15pm on Tuesdays
Duration: 60 minutes
Hosts: Colin Leith and Toby York
Sessions: 7
Dates: 18, 25 January, 1, 8, 22 February and 1, 8 March 2022.

After signing up to the course you will be provided with access to the online learning pages. These include a link to join the live sessions which will also be recorded. You will also have access to royalty free teaching resources, presentations, class activities and assessment practice examples.

Phenomenon-based learning

Accounting Cafe online seminar on 19 November 2021

Liz Marsland, Queensland University of Technology (45 mins)

Liz Marsland is a trailblazer in phenomenon-based learning. She unpacks the methods, the challenges and the benefits to students and teachers in using this multi-disciplinary approach that has wide application across subject areas and throughout educational levels.

Elizabeth Marsland, CPA SHEA from Queensland University of Technology is a renowned TEDx speaker on phenomenon-based learning. She is passionate about innovation in accounting education.

Liz’s presentation (PPTX)

Zoom recording (45 mins)

Jenni Rose, Alliance Manchester Business School (44 mins)

Jenni Rose shares her experiences of teaching accounting through the lens of climate change. She challenges students to think about how accounting should be changed for the future and how climate change accounting works with formative and summative assessment.

Jennifer Rose, FCA BFP PGCert SFHea CMBE, senior lecturer in accounting, is the 2020 recipient of Teacher of the Year in the University of Manchester Distinguished Achievement Awards.

Jenni’s presentation (PPTX)

Zoom recording (44 mins)


Recording (45 mins): Liz Marsland — Phenomenon-based learning

Recording (44 mins): Jenni Rose — Teaching accounting through the lens of climate change

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What’s the ‘gateway drug’ for finance?

Accounting Cafe online seminar on 28 October 2021

Michael Gilmore, The Seven Dollar Millionaire

Michael Gilmore believes that we need a gateway drug to get people hooked on finance.

“The most generous estimates reckon 2/3 of the planet can’t answer some basic questions on finance, but plenty of that 1/3 have guessed their way to those answers with a bit of basic numeracy—the survey is multiple choice, so the planet is doing only slightly better than random!

I would say that 1% or less knows how to take control of their finances to the extent that they can be ‘financially free’, which would be a more meaningful goal than calculating the difference between real and nominal returns.

It can’t be anything we’ve already tried, like fear or greed, because those obviously don’t work. If they did, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

I have two ideas, one less controversial than the other. Universal education is one. Kindness is the other. I would love to hear what you think about those – and if you have any others.”

Discussion, questions and dialogue

Michael Gilmore wrote the book “Happy Ever After” for his daughter, and “The Thousand Dollar Journal” for Singapore-based migrant workers, both under the pen-name The Seven Dollar Millionaire, which is designed to convey how small habits can compound to huge sums. He also writes the Easy Money column for UK magazine The Idler.

By day he is a fund manager, having worked in finance for almost 25 years. He has been passionate about financial education ever since joining the industry and realising how simple, powerful – but untaught – the basic principles are.


Recording of Michael’s presentation on Zoom

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What kind of professional are you? Informed, competent or complete?

Accounting Cafe online seminar on 23 September 2021

Hilary Lindsay, former ICAEW President

Hilary Lindsay contends that complete professionals are those who continue to learn in response to their environments. This requires more than professional knowledge and skills. It requires career adaptability.

Whether you are at the beginning, middle, or coming to the end of your career, this session inspired a re-commitment to life-long learning and self-development.

Using her “Patterns of Learning” model, Hilary demonstrated how to evaluate your strengths 🏋🏽‍♂️ and career goals 🎯.


Recording on Zoom (registration required)

Download Hilary’s presentation (1.2 MB PDF)

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Seminar: Accountants can change the world

Todd believes that accounting is not only broken but is contributing to the destruction of the planet. He is calling on accounting academics to help fix this. 

Accounting Cafe seminar series hosted on Zoom on 8 July 2021

Dr Todd Sayre believes that accounting is not only broken but is contributing to the destruction of the planet. He is calling on accounting academics to help fix this. 

In this seminar he gives a broad sweep of the history of corporations from the East India Company to the modern day questioning current accounting orthodoxies along the way. Entity theory, the role of shareholders and the rightful claimants of retained earnings come under ferocious scrutiny.

This was a provocative, fascinating and entertaining session that challenged how accounting and accountants are generally perceived.

Photo: University of California

Starts Content
00:00Welcome to Accounting Cafe
03:23Introduction to Dr Todd Sayre
04:44Dr Todd Sayre outlines the scope of the seminar
07:20How does financial reporting destroy the world?
11:57How can accountants help to save the world?
12:10–– (1) Is the corporation an association of shareholders?
18:22–– (2) Do shareholders have rights to accumulated profits less dividends?
24:46–– (3) Do shareholders collectively control management?
32:44–– (4) How should reports portray shareholders?
A historical persepctive of the causes of confusion in how shareholders are conceived.

Seminar recording (registration required)

Draft paper: Accounts are helping to destroy the world, but they could help to save it

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Seminar: Deriving profit using a concept map

Toby York and Paul Jennings hosted a Zoom seminar on 20 May 2021

This was the third seminar in a series about using concept maps in accounting education.

Session 1: Concept mapping in accounting education

Session 2: The funding butterfly

This approach emphasises the organisational structure of accounting knowledge, which makes it easier to teach and learn.

In this session we demonstrated how to introduce the concept of profit, using a conversation about its nature and relationship to equity within the accounting framework.


Presentation slides [4.0MB PDF]

Seminar recording [36 mins: Zoom Cloud]

Draft white paper [Concept mapping in accounting education]

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Seminar: The funding butterfly

Toby York and Paul Jennings hosted a Zoom seminar on 18 March 2021

Zoom cloud recording (34 minutes): Toby York demonstrates the “funding butterfly”, part of the Colour Accounting method, which he uses to introduce students to the accounting equation.

02:04The BaSIS FrameworkTM
04:35Where to start
06:10Point of view: the pineapple conversation
10:40The funding butterfly
25:35The accounting equation

Zoom cloud recording (9 minutes): Paul Jennings explains some of the practical issues and experiences of implementing Colour Accounting at Winchester University.


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Presentation slides: PPTX | PDF

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