Academic journal article Issues in Accounting Education

Developing a Process Approach in the Business Core Curriculum

Academic journal article Issues in Accounting Education

Developing a Process Approach in the Business Core Curriculum

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: This paper illustrates a business-process approach to delivering the core business undergraduate curriculum, consistent with the trend toward process-managed organizations. In addition, it discusses how accounting education can be incorporated into this model and how a process-centered curriculum may give accounting students a broader and more integrated educational experience. This model conforms to recommendations from the academic accounting community and the accounting profession's demands for increased capabilities in accounting graduates.

Six business-process modules are outlined for the undergraduate business core curriculum, and the role of accounting in each of these modules is presented. In addition, we outline three teaching approaches to managing and delivering a process-centered program and discuss assessment of program outcomes. This proposed approach may provide business programs a mechanism for achieving several benefits that include: (1) the potential for a more effective way to deliver an integrated understanding of how businesses function, (2) a more efficient educational process, and (3) a framework for formulating and implementing a strategy for developing the accounting and business curriculum consistent with modern business practices.

INTRODUCTION

Accounting academics and professionals have subjected accounting education to considerable scrutiny and experimentation since two papers, one from academia and one from the accounting profession, raised concerns about accounting education (American Accounting Association, The Bedford Committee 1986; Perspectives 1989). Both groups recommended changes to accounting education that include the development of specific competencies or skills in accounting students and the development of a broad, interdisciplinary view of the work environment. These position papers conclude that without substantive changes to accounting education, future accountants will not receive the preparation they would need to meet the emerging profession's increased demands.

As information providers, the accounting profession has a strategic opportunity to enhance its value as it is drawn into the domain of solving business (vs. accounting) problems (Hollander et al. 2000). To solve business problems, accountants must deal with a variety of organizational factors such as organization strategy, business processes, information technology, and performance measurement in an integrated manner. Although there is value in focusing on these factors individually, accountants should provide integrated solutions that address all of these factors to ensure that the diversity of customers' information needs (i.e., for planning, executing, and evaluating activities) is met (Hollander et al. 2000).

We have four primary objectives in writing this paper. First, we develop a unique, process-centered business core curriculum for undergraduate business education, consistent with the trend toward process-managed organizations (Hammer 1996; Teng et al. 1996). [1] Second, we discuss how accounting education, in the context of four- and five-year programs, can be incorporated into this process-centered curriculum and how it may provide accounting students with a broader and more integrated educational experience. Third, we illustrate three teaching approaches to managing and delivering this transformation of the undergraduate business curriculum. Finally, we discuss assessment-plan development for a process-centered business curriculum.

The remainder of this paper is organized around several perspectives. In the next section, we review calls for change in accounting and business education. In section three, we develop a series of courses or modules for a process-centered business core curriculum and discuss the role of accounting in each. Section four provides practical guides to implementing and teaching the process approach. In section five, we consider program assessment. …

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