ACCT 522: Seminar: Current Topics in Financial Reporting

ACCT 522: Seminar:
Current Topics in Financial Reporting (Rev 1-8-02)
January 8 through March 11, 2002; Tuesdays, 6-9 PM
ST 512, 323-343-2847
Hours: T 4-6 PM
Dr. Wm. Bruce Schneider, CPA
Required text: Counting What Counts by Marc J. Epstein and Bill Birchard, Perseus Books,
Objective: The objective this course is to explore and develop an in-depth understanding of
many of the critically important current topics (problem areas) in financial reporting. The
purpose is to develop an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles and the complex and often difficult economic events that financial
accounting should identify, measure, and report in a dynamic economic, political, and social
Method of instruction: The primary in-class method of instruction will be discussion of
topics based on student research. Each student will prepare, distribute and present research on
a topic of importance selected in consultation with the instructor. Presentations will begin in
the fifth or sixth week.
Student responsibility: Each student will select a topic for research. During weeks 2 and 3
the research effort will be discussed in consultation with the instructor and the class. The
research effort will result in the preparation of a 30-40 page research paper that will be
distributed to the other members of the class by e-mail. The first draft (partial) is to be sent
no later than 8 AM, Monday, 29 January. A different paper will be presented and will be the
subject of discussion each week beginning in weeks 5/6. The discussions will be cumulative.
A short essay on a topic of general interest will be required each week.
Possible topics:
The current state of financial reporting
Intangibles: Research and Development Costs; “Intellectual Capital”
XML/Custom financial reporting
Derivatives and other exotics
Unusual and Extraordinary items
Restructuring costs
Proforma reporting
Whose GAAP: US and/or International?
Research Report—Preparation and presentation
Participation and contribution to discussion (Including weekly short essays)
Comprehensive final examination (Take home Essay)
The Research Paper
General Structure
Chapter 1—Introduction
Chapter 2—Review of Literature and Outline of Methodology
Chapters 3 (+)—Discussion and development
Final chapter—Summary and conclusions
Chapter 1—Introduction (details)
Statement of problem (25 words or less)
Background (1 page)
Importance of research (1/2 page)
General questions to be explored (1/2 page)
Summary of basic literature (provides outline of methodology) (1 page)
Limitations (Time is not one of them.) (1/4 page)
Structure of the paper (1/2 page). Identify the chapter subject.
The proposal is to be available for review and discussion at the beginning of class in week 2.
The first draft of the paper is to be available for review and discussion at the beginning of
class in week 4.
The proposal and first draft are to be sent to me by e-mail at least one day prior to the
scheduled class.
Web sites of interest (just the tip of the iceberg)You are strongly encouraged to identify and
share other sites with the class.)
January 22: Guest speaker: Professor John Rodi will speak on “Enron—The accounting and
professional problems”
January 29 or February 5: Guest speaker: Ms. Shirin Noghreian, EY, “Impairment of Value
related to Goodwill and other assets”
 For all matters not directly addressed by this syllabus, Accounting Department,
College of Business and Economics, and University policies and procedures apply.
 Your attention is especially directed to the University policies on cheating, plagiarism,
and intellectual honesty and integrity.
 It is the student’ responsibility to communicate with the instructor in the event of
absence from class to inform and be informed at the e-mail address above..