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Accounting for a crisis

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Accounting for a crisis

You’d be hard pressed to come up with too many positives from the global financial crisis, but there’s been at least one spin-off benefit – for the teaching of accounting.

Professor Ralph Adler (Accountancy and Finance) has written a chapter for a forthcoming book in which he suggests that such a salient, high profile and highly topical event as the global financial crisis can have a positive effect on student learning and achievement.

Adler says students often find it difficult to relate to historical events. “The global financial crisis is perfect because we have all been touched in some ways by this huge financial bomb, and there have been some raw nerves perhaps that have even been struck because, when your father or mother loses a job, for example, those ramifications are quite significant.”

Adler contends that students use this initial knowledge base as a platform from which they acquire and assess further knowledge. He argues that the significance and meaningfulness of the crisis enhances student motivation and performance. And he believes that the pervasive nature of the crisis lends itself to a holistic approach to learning rather than accounting topics being taught in isolation.

As one example, Adler describes the success he has had in incorporating issues and events from various financial crises into an advanced management accounting course he teaches at Otago.

The chapter, entitled ‘The Impact of Financial Crises on Accounting Education’, will appear in a 608-page prestige reference work, The Routledge Companion to Accounting Education (Oxford: Routledge, December 2013).