Welcome to our unit.
It is great to have you on-board with us this term.
My name is Martin Turner and I am delighted to be your unit co-ordinator.
In ACCT11059 Accounting, Learning & Online Communication, we had our first taste (at university) of what accounting is. Quite a few people see accounting as a system of recording some of a firm’s economic and business activities, which it most certainly is. And that is also how people who know little or nothing about accounting would also generally see accounting. Is there more to accounting than this?
In ACCT11059, people developed a range of views about what accounting is, some seeing accounting as something more purposeful and important than a sort of ‘meaningless’ recording system. For example, one person in ACCT11059 saw accounting as:
“…I have discovered that accounting is much more than mere numerical values displayed in various reports … I now feel that accounting has more to do with the relationships between those within a firm and their interactions with the outside world, with financial figures just being one component of assisting firms to understand and expand their relationships.”
In this unit, we will have the opportunity to build on what we have learnt in ACCT11059, as we delve further into the (possibly) exciting world of accounting.
We will be taking further steps into the world of financial accounting. This is the world where firms produce general purpose financial reports. We saw in ACCT11059 that there are many rules and regulations firms need to follow if they produce general purpose financial reports. Now most businesses do not produce general purpose financial reports, and so do not need to follow all these rules and regulations. Most firms are sole traders, partnerships or private companies that do not produce accounts for the general public.
We will each be given a listed company. We will be given our company at 5.00pm Friday in Week 1 (in the top centre section of Moodle). Our listed companies all produce general purpose financial reports and so need to conform to a wide range of rules and regulations, including the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
PeerWise is now open for our unit. Instructions on how to get started on PeerWise are in the PeerWise folder in the top central section of Moodle. As we found in ACCT11059, there is a great advantage in starting early on PeerWise. I have already posted a few interesting questions. I have put these questions under the topics ‘Introduction’ and ‘Chapter 1’.
We have a Study Guide in our unit (as with ACCT11059, there is no textbook). The Study Guide is our primary reading.
In the first few weeks, we will first review some concepts from ACCT11059 and then lay the foundation of the key aspects of bookkeeping. Bookkeeping is a funny word. It is one of the few words that has three consecutive double letters in it: o-o, k-k and e-e. It is also a funny word because we rarely have ‘books’ any more in accounting, with everything usually computerised and digitised. And many bookkeeping tasks are now automated by our accounting software packages. So one question we will likely ask ourselves is, why do I need to know about journals, ledgers, posting entries and other bookkeeping ‘stuff’ if much of it is automated? The reason we need to know this is because we need to understand the ideas behind the way things are recorded in our firm’s accounts:
“It is the same with double-entry bookkeeping. The process belongs to the world of the past. Yet we are caught up in that past and it constrains and leads us forwards as we participate in the digital age. So today computers do a lot of the steps of double-entry accounting or bookkeeping for us. But we need to understand how these things work because our whole accounting system is built on these ideas. If there is nothing else you remember from … this chapter, you should remember that ideas are powerful. If we had computers to keep the records of businesses a thousand years ago we may well have gone about it very differently, perhaps using quite different ideas. But we did not.
As we will see later, the key thing to remember about double-entry accounting is that it is a system of recording transactions of a firm in such a way as to ensure the relationship between the different elements of the business model that underpins accounting is kept intact. Bookkeeping is based on a model, or way of looking at business. It is a powerful way of looking at a firm’s economic and business realities. A deep understanding by us of this way of looking at business could transform the way we view business reality, from a view of business based on commonly-held misconceptions about how business works to a view based on a deep understanding of the good ideas and concepts of accounting. These ideas pervade the way bookkeeping is carried out. These ideas were developed from a time way before computers, before the printing press, indeed when quills, ink and paper were ‘hi-tech’.”
Study Guide: Chapter 1, Section 1.1, page 1-5
You will find the Weekly Schedule in the top centre section of Moodle. This contains the topics we will study each week, the readings each week, and the key learning tasks.
The videos in our unit are in the Videos section on the left-hand side of Moodle. There are 22 short, 4-5 minute videos on a number of topics. You can also find these videos linked to the relevant part of the Study Guide. So you can easily view them as you read each part of the Study Guide. You can also find these videos here.
There are also video lectures in the section for each week’s resources in the centre of Moodle, for example in Week 1 ‘Lecture Video Week 1’. These videos are of lectures made in T2, 2017. Please note: the videos contain references to the textbook we then used. In this term, we are not using this textbook but are using the Study Guide.
For those studying at our Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne locations, you will have the opportunity in class to review some of the key concepts from the readings each week (we need to come to class having already completed the readings) and you will also have an opportunity to be supported to complete the steps of the assignment and also prepare for the exam. You can find the location of your classes here.
The assessment in our unit is:
PeerWise supports you to read each week and develop your own personal understanding of the key concepts we are studying in our unit. As well as gaining a mark for PeerWise, this will help you greatly in your Assignment and in your Exam.
The assignment is in 11 steps. These are due progressively during the term. Step 1 involves writing your key concepts and questions (KCQs) on the reading in Week 1. This is due by 11.00am Saturday (Week 1).
We have a great teaching staff in our unit this term. I am your Unit Coordinator and am based in Rockhampton. Others members of our teaching staff are:
Lois Kempnich: Brisbane. Lois and I have worked together for many years. Lois is an experienced accountant and university lecturer, with a real heart and capacity to support the learning of our students in Brisbane.
Hui Zhen Li: Sydney. Hui is an experienced teacher on our Sydney campus with a strong determination to support the learning of our students in Sydney.
Mitch Hsu: Melbourne. Mitch and I have also worked together for a number of years. Mitch is an experienced teacher in accounting with considerable capacity. Mitch is looking forward to supporting the learning of our students in Melbourne.
Contact details of our teaching staff are available by clicking on ‘Unit Contacts’ in the Information section on the left-hand side of Moodle.
The unit profile for our subject is also available. You can find it in Moodle, in the Information section on the top left hand side of Moodle.
If you have any trouble finding our Moodle site, please contact our ITD Helpdesk (TaSAC) and they will be only too happy to help you.*
Learning and interacting
One of the keys to learning is to interact well with others. This means interacting with the author of the Study Guide through reading (my) material; interacting with our teaching staff in class (either in person or via Zoom or by viewing the videos at a time that suits you) and through online discussions; and, most importantly, interacting with other students in our unit, who are your fellow travelers on our learning journey as we go further into the world of accounting.
You can interact with others at your location in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. You can also interact with others online, including on our unit Facebook page, Moodle forums, email, messaging, Skype/Facetime and in so many ways. Also, if hear that some people set up study groups and meet together somewhere, you may be able to organise with them to Skype or Facetime into these sessions from wherever you are in Australia.
No.1 Tip: Interact with others
And my biggest, No.1 tip for succeeding in our unit? Interact well with others in our unit. Do not be a ‘lone ranger’. Being a ‘lone ranger’ will not work all that well in our unit. Trust me on this.
Many people in our unit are distance students. Also, quite a few people enrolled at one of our locations will find themselves interacting with many people online during the week.
How do you interact well will others online? Here are a few tips:
1. Help others
Be the person who offers to read others drafts and give thoughtful, considered advice and help. If you want to have a friend, you need to be a friend; and in the same way, if you want people to interact with you online in a positive, constructive, timely and helpful way, you need to … first interact with others online in a positive, constructive, timely way that they find helpful.
2. Connect into key online networks
A few people in our unit will already be great online networkers. Connect into the networks they develop; and do this early. For example, there will be a number of nodal blogs in our unit.
And, of course, the unit Facebook page is a great networking tool you can use.
3. Warning: Not everyone is a ‘friend’ online (just as in the ‘real’ world)
We will have a truly tremendous group of people in our unit, just as we did last term in ACCT11059. And you may already know many great people from studying ACCT11059 who will be studying with us this term.
In our unit, there will also be many ‘strangers’ to you. Lots of new people to meet. However, just as some people can relate poorly face-to-face, so some people can relate poorly online. Indeed, because interacting online is such a ‘new thing’ in our society, most people are relatively inexperienced in this exciting and developing online world of interacting. So misunderstanding, confusion, hurt and conflict is also possible.
In all the online vehicles we support in our unit (unit Facebook page, PeerWise, Moodle forums and blogs), as your Unit Coordinator I take an oversight of all your online interactions. If you ever feel threatened or uncomfortable in these interactions (or in your face-to-face interactions in class) you can come to me or a member of our teaching team and discuss it with us.
I am committed to providing a stimulating, safe, positive and connected learning experience for everyone in our unit; for every single person, which includes you.
Of course, there are also a lot of interactions students in our unit will have with other students outside of the learning environment of our unit. These can be online or f2f interactions. These are, of course, outside the control or authority of me, your Unit Coordinator, or the university. These can include Facebook groups run by students, students meeting for coffee in a cafe and many other vehicles. These can be great; and, of course, we encourage you to interact well with others in a wide range of ways that suit your particular circumstances.
In terms of online interactions, one thing I would encourage you to do is use UCROO (U-Crew). If you are not already using it, click on the link to find out all about it. This is an online environment supported by the university to support online interactions between our students spread right across Australia. And it has the advantage of being supported by our university and falling within its umbrella of control and supervision for you.
It is great to have you in our unit this term.
We have designed a unit where there is 150 hours of opportunity to learn about accounting, and delve more deeply into the world of accounting, as we explore Introductory Financial Accounting together.
I look forward to working with you this term.
19 February 2018
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