Mid-Term Assignment<br/>ACCT.6230 - Contemporary Accounting Issues<br/>The
first 6 weeks of our course have covered the following 3 topics:
• IFRS International Financial Reporting Standards
• Fair Value
• Revenue Recognition
All 3 topics have significant implications for financial reporting, both for
those who prepare the reports and those who use them. One of the most
significant, and controversial, is whether or not the changes in the rules
will result in greater transparency in financial reporting.
Both Fair Value and Revenue Recognition have been undergoing significant
revisions under GAAP, ostensibly for the purpose of providing greater
transparency. At the same time, the SEC has declared their intent that the
US move towards conversion to IFRS (will a small “let’s wait and see” from
the newly appointed SEC Chair). Both Fair Value and Revenue Recognition
have similar, but different treatments under IFRS and GAAP and are part of
the Convergence Project’s efforts to bring the treatments closer together.
1. Your assignment is to discuss transparency in financial statement
reporting in the context of the 3 topics. This should be YOUR opinion,
based on your exploration of the materials over the past 6 weeks (not just
a reiteration of what others think). You should defend, with evidence of
your learning, why there would be greater or less transparency. How will
each, as viewed independently, enhance or decrease transparency? Discuss
them from the point of view of external users of financial statements
such as individual and institutional investors, bankers and
analysts/ratings agencies. For IFRS, discuss this from the point of view of
overall increase or decrease in transparency should the US chose to
convert. For Fair Value and Revenue Recognition, do you believe that the
newest rules and guidance under GAAP enhance or decrease transparency
for current users of the financial statements? Then, assuming that the US
moves forward and mandates conversion to IFRS, do you think that the
users of the financial statements will gain or lose transparency in the areas
of Fair Value and Revenue Recognition, as compared GAAP? Discuss the
main differences and use specific Income Statement and Balance Sheet
items to illustrate your arguments. Do you think that if the US converts
to IFRS, and its more principles based approach, that the US might wind
up with a secondary layer of “GAAP like” rules because judgments are
perceived as unreliable and uncomparable? Why or why not? You may take
into consideration whether or not transparency is an ideal that can never
be achieved, or that with a careful evolution to a single, international
standard, that this will achieve the transparency that readers of
financial statements have long desired.
2. As MBA students, your future roles in business management will cross
many disciplines. These three topics are likely to have a significant impact on
your roles. For example, accountants must learn and apply new rules for
preparing financial statements. Business Development and Sales
professionals may have to restructure contracts and how they sell their
products or services so that revenue can be recognized. Those working for
investment firms may have to sort out the “true value” of “fair value” when
analyzing potential acquisition candidates for their portfolios. Select a role in
an organization (perhaps one to which you aspire) and discuss how one of
these 3 topics (select only one) will impact that role over the next 35 years.
You may assume that IFRS is adopted by the US during that timeframe. If
you chose Fair Value or Revenue Recognition, you may discuss this in the
context of current changes to GAAP rules, or the impact if IFRS is adopted.
Just be sure to clarify which scenario, GAAP or IFRS, you have chosen.
Instructions and guidelines for writing your paper.
This is an exercise to demonstrate your understanding of the topics and the
implications of the most recent or pending changes on businesses and users
of the financial statements. The point of this paper will be to communicate
your understanding of the topics and their impact, in a business writing
style. The clarity of your thought and arguments should be able to inform and
persuade the reader about the topics.
1. The recommended format would be to follow the MLA standard for
writing your paper. Proper citations are required. The link to the MLA
website is https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. Most
colleges and Universities use this format, so many of you are probably
familiar with it. This provides excellent guidelines to follow for format,
footnotes, citations, etc.
2. Please use Times New Roman 12 pt, with 1” margins, double spaced.
3. Spelling, grammar, format, presentation and quality of thought and writing
count for half of the grade. Ask yourself “is your writing clear, well presented
and understandable to the audience?” Although this is not an English paper,
the reader should not have to hunt through misspelled words, improper
grammar and poorly written paragraphs in an attempt to decipher a position.
The other half of the grade will be measured on the quality of the content and
evidence supporting your answers. There are no right or wrong opinions, only
well written ones. ☺ I always recommend having a friend, relative or colleague
read your paper prior to submission, as it is very hard to see your own
mistakes. Also, do not rely entirely on the spelling and grammar check in
Word to catch all mistakes! UML has writing tutoring at the Write Place
Tutoring Center that may be of assistance, here is the link:
It says that writing tutoring is available for graduate students, although I am
not sure if they will accept emailed submission, but you could certainly
contact them to see if they would.
1. Your Name and page numbers should appear in footers, with page number
centered, name right justified Last First.
2. Page limit, excluding cover page, table of contents, reference pages or
appendices, should not exceed 15 pages. In fact, there will be no benefit for
“volume” or “creative” writing! The highest grades will go to that whose writing
is, to the point, provides support and draws a conclusion in a neat, easy to
read package. A business audience, particularly if it is made up of executives,
has an extremely short attention span (some say that of a gnat, and since I
have been one of them, would agree that it is not too far from the truth!).
Written communications skills are at a premium in the business world today,
and those who are able to effectively present their ideas in writing usually go
3. Your arguments and defense of a position should be supported by evidence
and not just statements like “I feel this way because it makes sense.” Avoid a
writing style that sounds like you are talking, texting, IM’ing or emailing this
is not a conversation, but your position on issues.
4. Good luck, please let me know if you have questions!