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Peer Review

Guide to Financial Statements

by Arthur Downing


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.9 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.8 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 11, 2005 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: Guide to Financial Statements explains the three major financial statements: income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. It also includes interactive activities, summaries, quizzes, glossary, related links, and printable study guide.
Type of Material: Tutorial
Recommended Uses: This tutorial should be used individually by students outside of class to reinforce concepts learned. It can also be used as a stand-alone module in an online course.
Technical Requirements: Flash Player 7.0 or higher; Internet browser
Identify Major Learning Goals: As a result of using this module students should be able to:
  • Understand and be able to expalin the structure of each financial statement.
  • Describe the underlying equations for each financial statement and the relationsihps among them.
  • Explain why the statements are important and how they can be used for decision making.
  • Identify sources of actual annual reports.
  • Consider ethical issues relating to financial statements.
  • Target Student Population: High school or college students learning about the three financial statements for the first-time or reviewing the statements for subsequent courses.
    Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No specific prerequisite knowledge is required, however, having some introductory accounting knowledge would be useful. Users also need to know how to use a mouse to click and drag items.

    Evaluation and Observation

    Content Quality

    Rating: 5 stars
    Strengths: Guide to Financial Statements is an outstanding module that could be used in a variety of ways to introduce or review the three major financial statements. The module is clear and concise but fairly comprehensive. The information is accurate; concepts are well summarized and integrated. The module is very flexible; the table of contents and organization of the slides by topic make it possible to review parts of the module very easily. All three statements can be viewed within 45 to 60 minutes.
    Concerns: None.

    Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

    Rating: 4.8 stars
    Strengths: Guide to Financial Statements is very well designed and includes textual material, nice visuals, and clear audio. Learning objectives are identified, concepts are reinforced, and the relationships between concepts are demonstrated. Features that enhance the module include:
  • Short quizzes integrated within each section.
  • A table of contents that provides flexibility in reviewing the individual statements.
  • A help site.
  • A resources link.
  • Concerns: Instructors may disagree with the actual definition of some terms. The tutorial also assumes a correct understanding of certain terms. For some students the fact that the activities are timed could be an issue. The activities require students remember the actual numbers used in a prior example. Requiring memorization or a repeat of numbers provided diminishes the value of the activities. It would also be useful for students to be able to compare their responses to the correct answers provided in order to learn from their mistakes.

    Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

    Rating: 5 stars
    Strengths: The usability of the module is outstanding. It is easy to use, has clear instructions, is engaging, visually appealing, and interactive. The fact that both audio and text are available for the tutorial is an excellent feature.
    Concerns: None.

    Other Issues and Comments:
  • This tutorial is geared towards a manufacturing entity and not a retailer.
  • Students probably should plan to have the study guide printed out when using the module.
  • Slides have been included that should assist students in accessing information on EDGAR, company websites, and Thomson Research as well as understanding what is shown on each statement and why the statements are important.