This site provides free online software in which journal entries, a trial balance, balance sheet and income statement can be created. The default chart of account is based on the International Financial Reporting Standards. However, individuals can create their own chart of accounts for up to 10 fictitious companies. Instructions are available for using various aspects of the site.
Type of Material:
In class, homework, individual, team, practice set creation, in-class assessment.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The purpose of this module is to provide an online software tool for instructors and students to use to simulate completing the accounting cycle.
Target Student Population:
Introductory financial accounting in high school, undergraduate, and graduate courses.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic understanding of the accounting cycle, including double-entry bookkeeping.
The interface is very user friendly and enables a demonstration of a complete accounting cycle. The default chart of accounts is based on the International Financial Reporting Standards. However, other charts of accounts tailored to one's needs csn easily be created or imported from an Excel file. Sample exercises are available. A list of unique terminology is available, as well as instructions for using the site. The developers welcome suggestions for improvement and a blog exists on which solutions to questions are posted. The financial statements can be presented in different formats, simplified to 3 additional levels of the classified format.
Not including a statement of cash flows as one of the financial statements prepared is the only missing element.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This software is an excellent tool for teaching an introductory accounting class. The ability to share work between students and get peer feedback is a nice feature. Instructors can create a chart of accounts and fictitious company tailored to their needs. Journal entry templates can be created for repetitive entries typically recorded through the use of special journals so that account numbers do not need to be entered. The affect of each transaction on the financial statements can be immediately demonstrated. Having an IFRS based chart of accounts is a nice way to emphasize the globalization of accounting. The online functionality has great potential for an online course.
A concern is the time instructors might need to invest to set up a company.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The interface is very clean. A handbook link appears on the home page that provides a wealth of useful information including instructions, sample exercises, and unique terms. The ability to have students record journal entries and see the affect of the transactions on the financial staements in real-time is an excellent feature. Interactivity is high. Comments via callouts can be added to explain the name of specific accounts. Users can edit the names in the existing chart of accounts. New account can easily be inserted. Templates can be created for repetitive journal entries, so that only an amount needs to be entered.
Existing accounts in the default chart of accounts can not be deleted. As a result instructors, particulary in the U.S. will need to create their own chart of accounts. The account number, not the title must be entered when creating a journal entry, otherwise error messages occur.
Other Issues and Comments:
The application can be used in different languages and with different currencies. The difference between the income statement and balance sheet is shown as an unreconciled difference until the accounts are closed.
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