Glencoe Accounting

Professional Development

Ethics and the Profession
Mainstreaming in Your Classroom
Teaching English Language Learners (ELL)
Working in Teams


Ethics and the Profession: Exploring Ethics-Related Web Sites

As your students learn and apply the principles and concepts of accounting, they will encounter situations that require ethical decision-making skills. The purpose of introducing ethics into your accounting program is to help your students integrate ethical considerations and basic values into their decision-making process. It is important that your students learn to consider both the business and ethical ramifications of a decision before that decision is made.

The following links provide information on ethics in the business world and the ethical responsibilities of accountants. Use these links to expose your students to real-world business situations, corporate activities, and news that involves ethical decision-making.

Business for Social Responsibility
www.bsr.org/index.cfm

Ethics Resource Center
www.ethics.org/

AICPA Professional Ethics Division
www.aicpa.org/members/div/ethics/index.htm

AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
www.aicpa.org/about/code/index.htm

IIA Code of Ethics
www.theiia.org/ecm/guidance.cfm?doc_id=92

Ethics and the Profession: Legislation

Understanding the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

The year 2002 may well be remembered as the year of corporate scandal and accounting reform. A sequence of highly publicized financial events and business failures resulted in damaged public confidence in the accounting profession and in corporate management.

What happened? In December 2001, Enron Corporation admitted accounting errors that inflated earnings by approximately $600 million since 1994. Subsequently, the company filed for bankruptcy, rendering worthless the stock held by its employees and investors. Enron top managers, its audit committee, and auditors at Arthur Andersen were accused of contributing to the flawed system that allowed Enron to hide debt and losses. Arthur Anderson-one of the largest and most influential accounting firms in the United States-was forced to close its doors after a conviction of obstruction of justice. In subsequent months, as additional cases of possible financial misrepresentations and fraud were investigated, investor confidence slumped.

In response to these events, President Bush signed into law the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in July of that year. The Act applies in general to publicly held companies and their audit firms. Its directives changed the way CPAs are allowed to work with their clients and established a new regulatory agency-the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. The Board scheduled its inspections of accounting firms to begin in January 2003.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
Summary of Provisions

New Roles for Audit Committees and Auditors

  • Independent auditors (CPA firms) now report to a company's audit committee, not to management.
  • Audit committees must pre-approve all services (both audit and non-audit services not specifically prohibited) provided by its auditor.
  • Auditors must report critical accounting practices and polices, alternative treatments of financial information, disputes with management, and any other relevant communications between the auditor and management to the audit committee.
  • Auditors cannot offer certain non-audit services to audit clients.
  • The lead audit partner and audit review partner must be rotated every five years on public company engagements.
  • An accounting firm cannot provide audit services to a public company if one of that company's top officials was employed by the firm and worked on the company's audit during the previous year.

Criminal Penalties and Protection for Whistle-blowers

  • The Act creates tough penalties for those who destroy records, commit securities fraud, or fail to report fraud.
  • All audit or review workpapers must be retained for at least five years. Failure to do so can result in a penalty of up to 10 years.
  • It is a felony with penalties of up to 20 years to destroy documents in a federal or bankruptcy investigation.
  • Criminal penalties for securities fraud have been increased to 25 years.
  • The statute of limitations for the discovery of fraud is extended to two years from the date of discovery and five years after the act.
  • Other provisions protect corporate whistle-blowers, ban personal loans to executives, and prohibit insider trading during blackout periods.

Financial Reporting and Auditing Process Additions

  • Auditors must now have a second partner review and approve every public company audit report.
  • Management must now assess and make representations about the effectiveness of the internal control structure and procedures for financial reporting.
  • The new regulatory board will issue or adopt standards that will require every audit report to attest to the assessment made by management on the company's internal control structures, including a specific notation about any significant defects or material noncompliance found on the basis of such testing.

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Mainstreaming in Your Classroom

In today's classroom, one strategy receiving increased attention is the use of inclusive educational programs. Mainstreaming challenges educators and schools to find ways to include students with disabilities in regular classes with students who do not have disabilities.

Inclusive education strengthens all students and communities by reducing the separation of students with special learning challenges. Instead, inclusive education encourages an educational environment in which resources are pooled to improve the performance of all students in a single setting. An inclusive ideology embraces the idea that each child is a unique learner and that diversity is a reality in and out of the classroom.

Mainstreaming requires schools to be properly staffed with personnel who are equipped with the resources needed to meet potential challenges. Teachers, administrators, and others need to collaborate to develop, expand, or implement inclusive practices. Explore the following Web resources for instructional methods, procedures, and strategies for creating a successful inclusive environment in your classroom.

ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education
www.ericec.org

U.S. Department of Education IDEA '97 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/Policy/IDEA/geninfo.html

Renaissance Group
www.uni.edu/coe/inclusion/

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Teaching English Language Learners (ELL)

Classrooms are increasingly populated with students who face the considerable challenge of mastering English as a second language. As you help your students overcome this language barrier, it is important to honor the richness of diversity and cultural heritage they bring to your school. Providing a wide variety of ways to learn, apply, and be assessed on the concepts of your course is the best method for reaching your ELL students.

Visual clues, hands-on tasks, questioning strategies, and cooperative learning are just some of the many ways in which you can make your ELL students feel more comfortable and experience successful learning. Explore the following Web sites for resources on the topic of teaching English language learners:

National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs (NCELA)
www.ncela.gwu.edu/

U.S. Department of Education: The Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students (OELA)
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oela/index.html?src=mr

Center for Applied Linguistics
www.cal.org

California Association for Bilingual Education
www.bilingualeducation.org

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Working in Teams

Studies show that students learn faster and retain more information when they are actively involved in the learning process. Studies also show that in a classroom setting, adolescents often learn more from each other about subject matter than from a traditional teacher-led lecture and discussion. Cooperative learning is one method that gets students actively involved in learning and at the same time allows for peer teaching.

Using Cooperative Learning

Your accounting course provides many opportunities for students to learn and apply the necessary skills for positive interpersonal relationships. Through the use of cooperative learning, the teacher can offer a structured method of teaching team-building, collaborative social skills, and team decision making while teaching basic concepts-essential skills for the workplace. This learning structure is especially effective for more difficult learning tasks, such as problem solving, critical thinking, and conceptual learning.

The Benefits of Cooperative Learning

  • Cooperative learning emphasizes working toward group goals as opposed to the traditional emphasis on individual completion and achievement.
  • Students discover that not only must they learn the material themselves, but also they are responsible for helping everyone in the group learn the material.
  • Cooperative learning increases academic achievement and develops essential social skills
  • Students discover how to work with people of all types.
  • Students learn valuable problem-solving, team-building, and creativity skills that transfer to real-world occupations and work environments.
  • People who help each other and work together toward a common goal generally begin to feel more positive about each other and interact constructively when performing collective tasks.
  • Students don't feel as isolated, and they gain self-esteem.
  • Students have the opportunity to perceive other students as colleagues rather than competitors. As a result, they recognize the value of helping others rather than working competitively.

Guidelines for Cooperative Learning

The key to success with cooperative learning is to establish and enforce clear procedural guidelines. Stress to students that they also have responsibilities in cooperative learning. Each student is responsible for sharing ideas and contributing to the team's progress.

Assign students to groups of four to six. Mix the group in ability, gender, and ethnicity. Before you begin, discuss cooperation and social skills, encourage all students to participate, and express the need for team members to support one another.

Provide a clear structure, time frame, and goal for each task. Make sure the team goal is well defined and understood. As teams work, monitor student interaction. Intervene when necessary to mediate and help teams resolve problems internally. Make sure that team projects, such as brief presentations or reports, have measurable outcomes.

Build in time for students to reflect on the collaborative learning process. Engage in discussions about what worked and what did not work about each project.

Back to Top

Ethics and the Profession
Mainstreaming in Your Classroom
Teaching English Language Learners (ELL)
Working in Teams


Ethics and the Profession: Exploring Ethics-Related Web Sites

As your students learn and apply the principles and concepts of accounting, they will encounter situations that require ethical decision-making skills. The purpose of introducing ethics into your accounting program is to help your students integrate ethical considerations and basic values into their decision-making process. It is important that your students learn to consider both the business and ethical ramifications of a decision before that decision is made.

The following links provide information on ethics in the business world and the ethical responsibilities of accountants. Use these links to expose your students to real-world business situations, corporate activities, and news that involves ethical decision-making.

Business for Social Responsibility
www.bsr.org/index.cfm

Ethics Resource Center
www.ethics.org/

AICPA Professional Ethics Division
www.aicpa.org/members/div/ethics/index.htm

AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
www.aicpa.org/about/code/index.htm

IIA Code of Ethics
www.theiia.org/ecm/guidance.cfm?doc_id=92

Ethics and the Profession: Legislation

Understanding the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

The year 2002 may well be remembered as the year of corporate scandal and accounting reform. A sequence of highly publicized financial events and business failures resulted in damaged public confidence in the accounting profession and in corporate management.

What happened? In December 2001, Enron Corporation admitted accounting errors that inflated earnings by approximately $600 million since 1994. Subsequently, the company filed for bankruptcy, rendering worthless the stock held by its employees and investors. Enron top managers, its audit committee, and auditors at Arthur Andersen were accused of contributing to the flawed system that allowed Enron to hide debt and losses. Arthur Anderson-one of the largest and most influential accounting firms in the United States-was forced to close its doors after a conviction of obstruction of justice. In subsequent months, as additional cases of possible financial misrepresentations and fraud were investigated, investor confidence slumped.

In response to these events, President Bush signed into law the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in July of that year. The Act applies in general to publicly held companies and their audit firms. Its directives changed the way CPAs are allowed to work with their clients and established a new regulatory agency-the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. The Board scheduled its inspections of accounting firms to begin in January 2003.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
Summary of Provisions

New Roles for Audit Committees and Auditors

  • Independent auditors (CPA firms) now report to a company's audit committee, not to management.
  • Audit committees must pre-approve all services (both audit and non-audit services not specifically prohibited) provided by its auditor.
  • Auditors must report critical accounting practices and polices, alternative treatments of financial information, disputes with management, and any other relevant communications between the auditor and management to the audit committee.
  • Auditors cannot offer certain non-audit services to audit clients.
  • The lead audit partner and audit review partner must be rotated every five years on public company engagements.
  • An accounting firm cannot provide audit services to a public company if one of that company's top officials was employed by the firm and worked on the company's audit during the previous year.

Criminal Penalties and Protection for Whistle-blowers

  • The Act creates tough penalties for those who destroy records, commit securities fraud, or fail to report fraud.
  • All audit or review workpapers must be retained for at least five years. Failure to do so can result in a penalty of up to 10 years.
  • It is a felony with penalties of up to 20 years to destroy documents in a federal or bankruptcy investigation.
  • Criminal penalties for securities fraud have been increased to 25 years.
  • The statute of limitations for the discovery of fraud is extended to two years from the date of discovery and five years after the act.
  • Other provisions protect corporate whistle-blowers, ban personal loans to executives, and prohibit insider trading during blackout periods.

Financial Reporting and Auditing Process Additions

  • Auditors must now have a second partner review and approve every public company audit report.
  • Management must now assess and make representations about the effectiveness of the internal control structure and procedures for financial reporting.
  • The new regulatory board will issue or adopt standards that will require every audit report to attest to the assessment made by management on the company's internal control structures, including a specific notation about any significant defects or material noncompliance found on the basis of such testing.

Back to Top


Mainstreaming in Your Classroom

In today's classroom, one strategy receiving increased attention is the use of inclusive educational programs. Mainstreaming challenges educators and schools to find ways to include students with disabilities in regular classes with students who do not have disabilities.

Inclusive education strengthens all students and communities by reducing the separation of students with special learning challenges. Instead, inclusive education encourages an educational environment in which resources are pooled to improve the performance of all students in a single setting. An inclusive ideology embraces the idea that each child is a unique learner and that diversity is a reality in and out of the classroom.

Mainstreaming requires schools to be properly staffed with personnel who are equipped with the resources needed to meet potential challenges. Teachers, administrators, and others need to collaborate to develop, expand, or implement inclusive practices. Explore the following Web resources for instructional methods, procedures, and strategies for creating a successful inclusive environment in your classroom.

ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education
www.ericec.org

U.S. Department of Education IDEA '97 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/Policy/IDEA/geninfo.html

Renaissance Group
www.uni.edu/coe/inclusion/

Back to Top


Teaching English Language Learners (ELL)

Classrooms are increasingly populated with students who face the considerable challenge of mastering English as a second language. As you help your students overcome this language barrier, it is important to honor the richness of diversity and cultural heritage they bring to your school. Providing a wide variety of ways to learn, apply, and be assessed on the concepts of your course is the best method for reaching your ELL students.

Visual clues, hands-on tasks, questioning strategies, and cooperative learning are just some of the many ways in which you can make your ELL students feel more comfortable and experience successful learning. Explore the following Web sites for resources on the topic of teaching English language learners:

National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs (NCELA)
www.ncela.gwu.edu/

U.S. Department of Education: The Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students (OELA)
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oela/index.html?src=mr

Center for Applied Linguistics
www.cal.org

California Association for Bilingual Education
www.bilingualeducation.org

Back to Top


Working in Teams

Studies show that students learn faster and retain more information when they are actively involved in the learning process. Studies also show that in a classroom setting, adolescents often learn more from each other about subject matter than from a traditional teacher-led lecture and discussion. Cooperative learning is one method that gets students actively involved in learning and at the same time allows for peer teaching.

Using Cooperative Learning

Your accounting course provides many opportunities for students to learn and apply the necessary skills for positive interpersonal relationships. Through the use of cooperative learning, the teacher can offer a structured method of teaching team-building, collaborative social skills, and team decision making while teaching basic concepts-essential skills for the workplace. This learning structure is especially effective for more difficult learning tasks, such as problem solving, critical thinking, and conceptual learning.

The Benefits of Cooperative Learning

  • Cooperative learning emphasizes working toward group goals as opposed to the traditional emphasis on individual completion and achievement.
  • Students discover that not only must they learn the material themselves, but also they are responsible for helping everyone in the group learn the material.
  • Cooperative learning increases academic achievement and develops essential social skills
  • Students discover how to work with people of all types.
  • Students learn valuable problem-solving, team-building, and creativity skills that transfer to real-world occupations and work environments.
  • People who help each other and work together toward a common goal generally begin to feel more positive about each other and interact constructively when performing collective tasks.
  • Students don't feel as isolated, and they gain self-esteem.
  • Students have the opportunity to perceive other students as colleagues rather than competitors. As a result, they recognize the value of helping others rather than working competitively.

Guidelines for Cooperative Learning

The key to success with cooperative learning is to establish and enforce clear procedural guidelines. Stress to students that they also have responsibilities in cooperative learning. Each student is responsible for sharing ideas and contributing to the team's progress.

Assign students to groups of four to six. Mix the group in ability, gender, and ethnicity. Before you begin, discuss cooperation and social skills, encourage all students to participate, and express the need for team members to support one another.

Provide a clear structure, time frame, and goal for each task. Make sure the team goal is well defined and understood. As teams work, monitor student interaction. Intervene when necessary to mediate and help teams resolve problems internally. Make sure that team projects, such as brief presentations or reports, have measurable outcomes.

Build in time for students to reflect on the collaborative learning process. Engage in discussions about what worked and what did not work about each project.

Back to Top

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