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Applying lean principles to design, teach, and assess courses: by applying principles and techniques developed in industry, educators can refine the content, pedagogy, organization, and assessment methods employed in their accounting courses to help ensure that students gain the knowledge and skills that will make them most desirable to employers.

Are accounting professors teaching the right stuff? This question has been asked many times over the past 20 years with study after study concluding that accounting education is broken and needs fixing. In 1986, the Bedford Report said, "There is little doubt that current content of professional accounting education, which has remained substantially the same over the past 50 years, is generally inadequate for future accounting professionals. A growing gap exists between what accountants do and what accounting educators teach.... Accountants who remain narrowly educated will find it more difficult to compete in an expanding profession. The Committee's analysis of accounting practice has indicated that accounting education as it is currently approached requires major adjustments between now and the year 2000." (1)

A more recent study states, "Accounting leaders claim that accounting education (as currently structured) is outdated, broken, and needs significant modifications. Students don't perceive an accounting degree to be as valuable as it used to be." (2) Industry is dissatisfied with the way colleges and universities train management accounting students. A 2004 article describes the lopsided nature of accounting curricula and makes a case for a better cost management focus in accounting curricula. (3) As it stands, only a handful of colleges and universities offer cost management (accounting) courses beyond the one or two required junior-level courses.

In many respects, today's accounting education resembles yesterday's industry--outdated, fragmented, inefficient, obsolete, and producing poor-quality products. Just as industry did, accounting education lost its relevance because of complacency, acceptance of the status quo, lack of accountability, and lack of customer understanding.

Over the past few decades, industry underwent phenomenal and revolutionary changes. With tools and techniques such as Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, business process reengineering, and concurrent engineering, the manufacturing industry made radical changes in the way it conducted business and gained a better understanding of customer needs. Lean philosophy and Value Stream Mapping helped organizations streamline their operations, eliminate waste, and produce cost-effective products. Using balanced scorecard techniques, organizations developed metrics to align their vision, strategies, activities, and performance measures in a more systematic way.

Educators can learn a great deal from these experiences. Accountants in the business world are leaving behind their historical role as scorekeepers, cost controllers, and creators of reports and are evolving into cost managers and strategic business partners. By acknowledging problems, focusing on customer needs, questioning the status quo, changing mind-sets, and learning new tools and techniques, academicians can make significant positive changes and help accounting education catch up with progress in the business world.

Past articles on this topic focused on applying a process approach to college- or department-wide improvements in the curriculum. (4) These articles do not address how to simplify and eliminate nonvalue-adding activities in a single course. I have experimented with many industry tools in my cost management (accounting) courses over the past 20+ years. This article looks at education as a process and describes how individual instructors can apply Quality Function Deployment (QFD), cell layout, and the balanced scorecard to improve the quality of accounting education.


Lean is a philosophy of continuously simplifying processes and eliminating waste. It uses simple, easy-to-understand tools that can be applied in any organizational setting. Drawing on the creative thinking of employees, companies can apply Lean principles without huge capital expenditures. Organizations applying Lean principles realize significant results, such as increases in productivity, decreases in defects, reductions in inventory, and improved on-time deliveries and cash flows.

The development of Lean is attributed to Toyota Motor Company. In order to compete with U.S. companies after World War II, cash-starved Toyota developed many Lean tools and techniques. These tools helped the company become an automobile giant in spite of its limited resources. Two books brought the principles of Lean to the attention of U.S. companies: The Machine that Changed the World, based on a five-year, $5 million study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the future of the automobile, and Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation. (5) Lean is a customer-focused, knowledge-driven business philosophy--a system that provides value to the customer. It is a systematic way of eliminating waste, simplifying operations, and aligning all parts of the value chain. It is not a cost-reduction method; rather, it seeks continuous improvements and pursuit of perfection. The Lean tenets are:

1. Define Value

2. Identify Value Streams

3. Make Value Flow

4. Pull Systems

5. Pursue Perfection (6)

Value is defined by the customer and is the end result of product functions and features. The value stream is the chain of processes that create value. Value Stream Mapping is the physical representation of the processes that are needed to transform inputs into outputs. Value Stream Mapping increases understanding of value-adding and nonvalue-adding activities as well as how inputs are transformed into outputs. Flow is the rate that items move within the value stream. Removing obstacles (e.g., clutter, blockages, bottlenecks, defects) makes work move more freely and rapidly. Pull systems refer to production based on customer demand--production occurs only when needed by the next downstream operation.

These tenets also can be applied to educational processes. By removing the potential obstacles (e.g., courses and topics taught out of sequence) in the process and streamlining the content and delivery methods, teachers can include more value-adding content in a smooth and organized manner.


Education is a process very much like the manufacturing process. Michael Hammer and James Champy defined the business process as a collection of activities that takes inputs and creates output that is of value to customers. (7) In traditional manufacturing processes, raw materials and work-in-process move in batches from one work center to another. The finished units are graded and sorted as acceptable or defective. For example, the process steps in making chairs include cutting, assembling, and finishing processes to become a finished chair. At each work center, progress is made in converting the raw materials, such as wood, into a chair (see Figure 1).


The process of education is similar. Graduates with knowledge and skills are the end products of education processes. The raw material is the knowledge students have entering the school. The work-in-process is the students in different stages of degree completion. They move along a series of courses (work centers) where teachers (operators) add value by teaching them new knowledge and skills. Over a period of four to five years, the students are fashioned into the end product: college graduates (see Figure 2).


The quality of the finished product depends on many critical aspects, including product design, quality of raw materials, labor skills, methods, machinery, and measurements. In a similar manner, the quality of the graduates depends on the curriculum, course content, incoming students, teachers, teaching pedagogy, and assessment methods. Students and employers are the primary customers of universities. Students select universities based on factors such as academic reputation, potential for job placement, and cost/tuition. Employers hire graduates based on the graduate's quality of knowledge and skills. As it stands, employers, the ultimate customers of educational institutions, do not appear to be happy with the quality of accounting graduates. (8)

Time constraints often limit teachers from teaching all the topics and undertaking activities that they would like to include in a course. By streamlining courses and eliminating waste, teachers can free up many hours of time. Waste is any activity that adds cost but provides no value to the customer. Toyota Motor Company devised seven classifications for the most common forms of waste:

1. Overproduction, e.g., producing items not ordered;

2. Waiting, e.g., waiting for a machine to be repaired;

3. Unnecessary Transportation, e.g., moving materials from one work center to another;

4. Over Processing, e.g., adding unnecessary functions and features;

5. Excess Inventory, e.g., having more materials than needed for production;

6. Unnecessary Movement, e.g., employees overstretching to reach an item on the top shelf; and

7. Defects, e.g., units that do not meet specifications. (9)

Waste in education occurs when time and effort are expended but students do not gain any new knowledge or skill. Examples of waste are teaching topics already taught in other courses, excessive review of prerequisite course materials, unnecessary and redundant introductions, spoon-feeding, teaching obsolete topics, and waiting for unprepared students to catch up. According to Steve Albrecht and Robert Sack, it appears that the emphasis in accounting education is not focused on value-adding activities. Table 1 lists several accounting activities, their value per hour, and how much emphasis educators place on each activity when teaching.

Four critical success features of any course are content (what to teach), pedagogy (how to teach), organization (the order in which topics should be presented), and assessment (how to evaluate student learning). The ways teachers select and implement these features into courses significantly impact what students learn and the quality of the end product. Just as engineers design products according to their perceptions of what customers need, teachers often make choices based on their expectations of what students need to learn and perform.

Unfortunately, industry learned that products designed without a customer focus generally fail in the marketplace. For example, lack of customer focus, low-quality products, and higher prices are factors that contributed to the once mighty U.S. automobile industry losing its market share. From the numerous studies examining accounting education, it is obvious that current accounting students are not getting the education that the customer (industry) wants them to. (10) Lacking customer value, accounting education lost students. The number of accounting graduates in the United States declined from 60,000 in 1995-1996 to 47,600 in 1998-2000, a 20% drop. Over this period, accounting students declined by 23%, and high school students expressing interest in majoring in accounting dropped by 50%. (11) Currently, there appears to be an increase in accounting students, attributed partly to corporate scandals such as Enron and WorldCom and to the SarbanesOxley Act. It remains to be seen if this represents a short-term gain or if the increased interest will last.

Rebuilding quality and relevance into accounting courses requires understanding the causes of poor quality. The Ishikawa diagram, commonly known as the Cause and Effect diagram, shown in Figure 3, helps identify major causes of poor-quality education. (12) While not all causes are controllable, teachers can exercise substantial control over what to teach, how to teach, and how to assess student learning.



A product's design exerts significant influence on downstream operations such as manufacturing, selling, and warranty repairs. It is not unusual to have 70%-90% of product cost frozen at the design state. (13) An effective technique used for designing a product is Quality Function Deployment (QFD). QFD is a six-step sequence of activities used by interdisciplinary design teams. It starts with linking customers and their expectations to mechanisms that help fulfill these expectations. Using a relational matrix, designers identify which product specifications help or hinder the achievement of specific customer expectations. Information developed from the relational matrix, along with value ranking by customers and the 80/20 rule, helps designers focus on the significant functions and features in order to design products that require minimal time and cost and provide maximum customer satisfaction. (14)

Three broad levels are used to relate customer expectations to technical specifications: very strong, strong, and weak. The rankings are subjective and based on the team's expertise. The design team determines how well the competitor's products meet customer expectations compared to the proposed designs. Once the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed design are identified, the team uses this information to make final decisions on which functions and features to deploy as designed, which to delete, and which to modify.

Designing a course is very similar. How teachers select course content, teaching pedagogy, and assessment measures has a significant impact on student learning, particularly in regard to whether students gain the desired levels of knowledge and skills. Employers often mention that current accounting graduates need skills in communication, critical thinking, problem solving, working in teams, and knowledge of overall business environment and current topics. (15) Using QFD, teachers can identify and select course features that meet student and employer expectations and that eliminate nonvalue-adding features.

The QFD matrix is created by first selecting a specific area of knowledge or skill set that employers desire (or expect). The next step is to identify a set of course specifications, including topics, assignments, and assessment methods, that would best enable students to acquire the chosen knowledge and skills. Finally, these specifications are ranked by how well they relate to the expectations. See Figure 4 for an example using hypothetical data.

Course specifications that show a strong relationship with customer expectations must be given high priority. In Figure 4, for example, Case Discussion shows a very strong relationship with Ability to Work with Ill-structured Problems. No relationship or a weak relationship indicates that the specification is either nonvalue-adding or a low-value item. Lectures do not show any relationship with Ability to Work with Ill-structured Problems. Cost Management Topics do not show a strong relationship with Knowledge of Ethics and Values, but Open Class Discussions do.

Three cost management courses, A, B, and C, are used as benchmarks. Employers rank these and currently designed courses using a scale of 1 (very low) to 5 (very high). Course C is comparatively stronger in Knowledge of Relevant Cost Accounting Topics, Ability to Work with Ill-structured Problems, and Written Communications, whereas the course as it is currently designed is very strong in Knowledge of Current Cost Management Tools and Techniques, Oral Communication, and Use of Technology. The current course design needs to be strengthened in areas such as Ability to Work with Ill-structured Problems and Written Communication.


Once the course design is selected, the next step is deciding how to deliver it. In traditional manufacturing systems, machines are grouped according to their functions by departments such as cutting, assembly, and finishing. Materials and subassemblies move in batches from operation to operation, often waiting at each place. In a Lean environment, equipment is grouped in cells dedicated to a single product or product family. Within these cells, machines are arranged according to the sequence of operations needed to make the product. This approach eliminates nonvalue-adding activities such as machine setup, materials movements, and waiting, thus resulting in a smoother and efficient workflow. Figure 5 shows both traditional and Lean production layouts.

Most accounting curricula include only one or two required cost management/accounting courses. (16) This may not be adequate to develop the knowledge and skills that employers desire, and teachers are faced with the challenge of squeezing the desired topics and activities into one or two courses.

Just as grouping machines reduces cycle time in manufacturing, similar efficiencies can be gained by grouping topics with a common underlying theme as topic families. Within each family, material can be organized in a series of small, incremental steps--ranging from routine to complex--with each step building on the previous ones.

For example, a typical textbook covers product costing in multiple chapters, using titles such as "Job Order Costing," "Process Costing," "Alternate Product Costing," "Joint Product and By-Product Costing," "Product Costing under JIT," "Activity-Based Costing," and so forth. All these chapters have an underlying theme: calculating the cost of a product or service. Collectively, these chapters can be treated as a value stream. They can be taught by using an introduction on the nature of "product costing" followed by a series of explanations on how product cost is determined under a variety of scenarios and costing methods. Figure 6 presents the layout of product costing chapters in a popular cost accounting text and in a proposed Lean layout.

This approach not only saves many teaching hours, but it also shows the impact that the physical aspects of production have on costing. Here are some additional topic families and the potential topics within them.


Decision Making. Making decisions requires clear understanding of cost behavior and its relevance in different scenarios. One way to streamline decision making is to consider the common features of all decisions, such as alternates, the costs and benefits of each alternate, and qualitative factors. Efficiencies can be gained by sequencing these chapters as cost behavior patterns, cost-volume-profit analysis, short-term decision making, long-term decision making, decision making under uncertainty, and decision making under constraints.

Cost Management and Control. The role of the cost accountant has changed from being the traditional bean counter and corporate cop to business partner and internal consultant. Numerous tools and techniques for better managing costs have emerged over the past 10-15 years. The underlying focus of these tools is to minimize cost incurrence. They show how to eliminate nonvalueadding activities and simplify value-adding activities. With a strong orientation of process understanding and the nature of flexible and committed resources, cost accounting students found these topics to be highly practical and adding high value: strategic cost management, standard costing, activity-based cost management, target costing, and kaizen costing.


Overhead Cost Management. I believe accounting for overhead cost as it is currently practiced is a waste. Spending a lot of time teaching it is also a waste. No matter how overhead cost is allocated, it does not change the bottom line. Teachers can achieve efficiency by sequencing all overhead cost chapters in this manner: (1) tools of allocation--traditional overhead cost allocations, limitations and dysfunctional behaviors caused by erroneous overhead cost allocations, and activity-based costing; (2) tools of elimination--activity-based management and process improvements; and (3) tools to transform indirect costs into direct costs--Just-in-Time manufacturing and purchasing, cell layout, and value streams and product families.

Performance Measurement Systems. Understanding performance measures requires a strong grasp of concepts such as strategy, organizational behavior, and the links among an organization's vision, strategies, activities, performance measurement systems, and reward systems. This topic family includes traditional items such as variances, financial measures, and their limitations; the balanced scorecard; budgeting; and responsibility accounting.

Behavioral Issues and Ethics. This group includes motivational theories, human behavior impact of budgets, standards, and performance measures. Also covered are a code of ethical conduct and ethical issues triggered by accounting systems and managerial pressures.


Measuring financial metrics alone is no longer sufficient to gauge the performance of an organization and its long-term competitiveness. The balanced scorecard (BSC), a set of measures that align organizational vision, mission, actions, measures and reward systems, provides a broad picture of an organization's performance (see Figure 7).

The BSC links internal and external aspects that lead to profit. The focus is on four perspectives: financial, customer, internal processes, and learning and innovation. A series of "If-Then" statements can be used to help identify the links in these perspectives. (17) Here are some examples:

* If customers are satisfied, then they buy more. If customers buy more, then profits increase.

* If internal processes are improved (e.g., cycle times, defects, on-time deliveries), then customer satisfaction increases.

* If employees learn and innovate, then internal processes will improve.


The old saying, "What gets measured gets improved," applies to education as well. The long-term success of graduates depends not only on their technical knowledge, but also on skills such as communication, ability to work in teams, and critical thinking. Student learning can be assessed using a balanced scorecard with multiple perspectives: placement, employer satisfaction, learning processes, and application and behaviors.

Employer satisfaction is based on the perceived quality of graduates. Knowledge and skills are a function of the quality of the program and an assessment of student learning. Grades based on multiple choice tests alone do not reflect knowledge and skills adequately and appropriately and, therefore, will not reveal much about the critical success factors of learning and behaviors. The ability to learn, apply, and retain knowledge is linked to a student's internal processes. As in industry, a series of "If-Then" statements helps identify the links among students' behaviors, actions, and learning:

* If students come to classes, then they get a basic understanding of new material.

* If students have a basic understanding of new material and do their assignments, then they will gain an in-depth understanding of the material.

* If students have an in-depth understanding of the material, then they can apply it to different scenarios.

* If students apply knowledge and skills, then they can retain them better and be able to use them when needed.

Figure 8 shows the links among multiple perspectives both in industry and education. Examples of the balanced metrics are given in Table 2.

While technical knowledge is relatively easy to learn, it is not easy to change behaviors, learn new habits, and do things differently. Consider the habit of cutting classes. If a student is not in class, he or she may not understand the material. Missed classes also create additional work for teachers, such as going over the material later with students who missed class, creating make-up quizzes and exams, and collecting and grading papers separately.

Habits like cutting classes or cramming for tests can be changed if relevant measures are developed and enforced. To understand the power of policies on behavior, consider the impact of seat belt laws. A fear of fines makes even reluctant people buckle up. After some time, repeated seat belt use becomes habit. Policies and measures that make students responsible and accountable for their actions significantly influence their behaviors and help change habits. In my classes, all students receive an account (bank) with three classes (checks) that they can cash in (miss class) when needed. They all know the penalties of overdrawing--missing more than three classes results in loss of grade. There has been a significant drop in missed classes since I made this policy a part of the course grade.


Assignments are another important item in learning. Unless assignments are collected, assessed, and returned with feedback, most students don't bother to make an effort to complete them. But collecting and grading assignments for every class is a huge, time-consuming task for faculty. I use an honor system where students check their work and assess their grade using a variety of factors, such as completeness and correctness, along with some mundane requirements, such as ensuring the pages are numbered and stapled. These grades are recorded, and homework is returned during the next class. Absolutely no late submissions are accepted. It is amazing that students rarely miss their homework submissions.


Change is difficult, and it can be detrimental to faculty renewals and promotions. The uncertainty of success often discourages faculty from trying new ways of teaching and assessing. Lack of experience, the fear of failure, and the potential for reprisals practically prevents academicians from trying new ways to manage their courses.

As with any new approach, there will be implementation problems with changing course content. New pedagogy and assessment methods are difficult to enforce without the support of administrators. Some students feel that policies regarding attendance, homework collection, and chapter quizzes are a major pain. Students who hate writing and open-ended questions demand multiple choice tests. Others are unwilling or unable to work in teams. With appropriate policies, students will be forced to make an effort. In most cases, the initial resistance slowly disappears. Semester after semester, I have seen students cutting classes early in the semester but never missing a class after realizing they have used up all their checks. Despite minimal weight assigned to homework (5%), practically everyone completes it.

I am a strong believer that teachers can make a difference. In more than 30 years of teaching, I have tried many different approaches to improve student learning. Nothing has matched the improvement levels achieved by applying Lean principles, a fact recognized and acknowledge by employers. When employers ask a graduate if he or she took my cost accounting course, it is a reflection of the employer's perceived value of these students.

Though the academic environment is unique and different from industry in many respects, the lessons from industry help academicians in better understanding customer needs, selecting and organizing course topics and activities, changing teaching pedagogy, and making realistic assessments of student learning. In an environment of escalating education costs and a highly competitive job market, application of Lean principles reduces costs and adds more value without requiring huge capital outlays. Drawing on the brainpower of individuals, Lean applications show highly significant results in productivity, cost, and customer satisfaction. It is time for academicians to learn from the experiences of industry.


Duncan Bailey and Jerome V. Bennett, "The Realistic Model for Higher Education," Quality Progress, November 1996, pp. 77-79.

Peter C. Brewer, "An Approach to Organizing a Management Accounting Curriculum," Issues in Accounting Education, May 2000, pp. 211-235.



(1) American Accounting Association (AAA), Future Accounting Education: Preparing for the Expanding Profession (The Bedford Report), Special Report, AAA Committee on the Future Structure, Content, and Scope of Accounting Education, AAA, 1986.

(2) Steve W. Albrecht and Robert J. Sack, "Accounting Education: Charting the Course through a Perilous Future," Accounting Education Series, vol. 16, AAA, 2000.

(3) Lakshmi Tatikonda, "Naked Truths About Accounting Curricula," Management Accounting Quarterly, Summer 2004, pp. 62-73.

(4) The Bedfort Report, 1986; Richard D. Hulme, Keith B. Ehrenreich, and Donald F. Putnam, "Implementing the User Approach in Accounting Courses," The Cal Poly Pomona Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, Fall 1997, pp. 141-148; and Kenton B. Walker and Penne L. Ainsworth, "Developing a Process Approach in the Business Core Curriculum," Issues in Accounting Education, February 2001, pp. 41-66.

(5) James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos, The Machine that Changed the World, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1990; and James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones, Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Free Press, New York, 1996, 2003.

(6) Womack and Jones, 2003.

(7) Michael Hammer and James Champy, Reengineering the Corporation:

A Manifesto for Business Revolution, HarperCollins, New York, 1993.

(8) Albrecht and Sack, 2000.

(9) Jeffrey K. Liker, The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2004.

(10) Accounting Education Change Commission, "Objectives of Education for Accountants: Position and Issues Statement Number 1," Issues in Accounting Education, Fall 1990, pp. 307312; Albrecht and Sack, 2000; The Bedford Report, 1986; Gary L. Sundem, Accounting Education Change Commission, Presentation to AAA Midwest Region, April 20, 1990; Lakshmi U. Tatikonda and Rao J. Tatikonda, "Are We Teaching the Right Stuff?" The Journal of Midwest Accounting, Spring 1987, pp. 160168; and Tatikonda, 2004.

(11) Albrecht and Sack, 2000.

(12) James R. Evans and William M. Lindsay, The Management and Control of Quality, fifth ed., South Western, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2002.

(13) Shahid Ansari, Janice Bell, Thomas Klammer, and Carol Lawrence, Target Costing, Irwin McGraw-Hill, New York, 1997.

(14) Evans and Lindsay, 2002.

(15) Accounting Education Change Commission, 1990; Albrecht and Sack, 2000; and Gary Siegel and James Sorensen, "What Corporate America Wants in Entry-Level Accountants," Management Accounting, September 1994, pp. 26-31.

(16) Tatikonda, 2004.

(17) Don R. Hansen and Maryanne M. Mowen, Cost Management: Accounting and Control, South Western, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2002.

Lakshmi Tatikonda, Ph.D., CMA, CFM, CPA, is a professor of accounting at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She can be reached at (920) 233-8092 or


Recording business events $10/Hr High
Summarizing recorded events $30/Hr High
Converting data into information $100/Hr Moderate
Turning information into knowledge $300/Hr Low
Making value-added decisions $1,000/Hr Low

Source: Steve W. Albrecht and Robert J. Sack, "Accounting Education:
Charting the Course Through a Perilous Future," Accounting Education
Series, Vol. 16, August 2000.


 1 2 3

Course Specifications

 Case Class Written
 Discussions Presentations Assignments

Employer Needs

Course Ranking


Knowledge of Relevant Cost (a) (c) (c)
 Accounting Topics
Knowledge of Current Cost (a) (c) (c)
 Management Tools and
Knowledge of Current (a) (c) (c)
 Business Environment
Knowledge of Ethics and
Ability to Work with (a)
 Ill-structured Problems
Oral Communication (a)
Written Communication (a)
Use of Technology
Adapt to Changes (c)

 4 5 6

Course Specifications

 Team Frequent Open Class
 Projects Feedback Discussions

Employer Needs

Course Ranking


Knowledge of Relevant Cost (c)
 Accounting Topics
Knowledge of Current Cost (c)
 Management Tools and
Knowledge of Current (a)
 Business Environment
Knowledge of Ethics and (b) (a)
Ability to Work with (b)
 Ill-structured Problems
Oral Communication (b) (c) (b)
Written Communication (c)
Use of Technology (c)
Adapt to Changes (c) (a)

 7 8 9

Course Specifications
 Management Real-World
 Topics Projects Lectures

Employer Needs

Course Ranking


Knowledge of Relevant Cost (a) (b) (b)
 Accounting Topics
Knowledge of Current Cost (a) (a) (b)
 Management Tools and
Knowledge of Current (b) (a) (c)
 Business Environment
Knowledge of Ethics and (c) (c)
Ability to Work with (a)
 Ill-structured Problems
Oral Communication
Written Communication
Use of Technology
Adapt to Changes

 10 11

Course Specifications
 Role Playing
 Technology of Ethics
 Assignments Issues

Employer Needs

Course Ranking


Knowledge of Relevant Cost
 Accounting Topics
Knowledge of Current Cost
 Management Tools and
Knowledge of Current
 Business Environment
Knowledge of Ethics and (a)
Ability to Work with
 Ill-structured Problems
Oral Communication
Written Communication
Use of Technology (a) (a)
Adapt to Changes

Course Specifications

 Scale: 1(L)-5(H)

Employer Needs Benchmarks

Course Ranking Current
 Design A B C


Knowledge of Relevant Cost 4 3 3 5
 Accounting Topics
Knowledge of Current Cost 5 3 4 4
 Management Tools and
Knowledge of Current 4 4 3 3
 Business Environment
Knowledge of Ethics and 4 2 1 2
Ability to Work with 3 4 4 5
 Ill-structured Problems
Oral Communication 5 3 2 1
Written Communication 4 4 4 5
Use of Technology 5 4 3 4
Adapt to Changes 3 3 2 2

(a) Very strong relationship

(b) Strong relationship

(c) Weak relationship



Placement Getting job * % of graduates getting offers
 in their subject area
 * % of offers per graduate
 * Starting salaries of graduates
 * Alumni satisfaction with job

Employer Quality of graduates * Satisfaction with graduates
 * Repeat visits to recruit
 * New recruiters visiting

Behavior Class attendance * % of classes attended
 * Number of classes missed

Behavior Completing assignments * % of assignments completed

Behavior Submitting work on time * % of assignments submitted on

Skills Oral communication * Number of class mandatory
 skills presentations
 * Frequency of class

Skills Written communication * Quality and quantity of
 skills short papers written
 * Quality and quantity of long
 papers written

Skills Willingness to learn * Frequency of asking questions
 * Quality and quantity of extra
 credit work undertaken
 * Classroom behaviors

Skills Working in teams * Number of team projects
 * Peer evaluations

Knowledge Understanding of * Number of real-world
 business projects undertaken
 * Ability to handle
 ill-structured problems
 * Quality of case analysis
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Author:Tatikonda, Lakshmi
Publication:Management Accounting Quarterly
Date:Mar 22, 2007
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