Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ernst & Young LLP Helps Universities Modify Accounting Curricula to Address International Accounting Standards

Ernst & Young LLP took another significant step in supporting faculty through the Academic Resource Center (EYARC) with the release of the second phase of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) curriculum and teaching materials, as well as a national training session for professors.

EYARC, which represents a $1.5 million investment for the firm, is a collaboration of faculty and professionals dedicated to helping the next generation of accounting professionals meet the fast-changing needs of the global financial markets. The first phase of IFRS curriculum was released in January of this year. The second phase of curriculum provides additional IFRS resources intended to supplement typical US university financial accounting coursework. EYARC's curriculum is unique as it includes comprehensive and flexible materials that compare IFRS with US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), including a user guide, lecture notes, presentation slides, homework problems, illustrative disclosures, case studies and international spotlight features.

EYARC held its first national IFRS training session in Cleveland last week for more than 60 faculty attendees from across the country. Key speakers at the training included Ken Marshall, Americas IFRS Markets Leader at Ernst & Young LLP, EYARC faculty members Jana Raedy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Irene Wiecek, University of Toronto, who recently published an IFRS primer textbook; and Tim Eaton, Miami University, Ohio, as well as retired Ernst & Young LLP partners John Kiss, Nick Kissel, Peter Nurczynski and Bob Riley.

James Wahlen, Professor of Accounting and Chairman of the MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University said, "The EYARC IFRS faculty training was an outstanding experience. Several accounting faculty and retired partners assembled a comprehensive and detailed set of materials that will help me and accounting faculty members all over the country incorporate an understanding of IFRS into our courses. This training is a great example of how practice and academia can partner for the benefit of our students, our teaching and research, and our profession."

Judy Rayburn, Chair of the Accounting Department at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota said, "EYARC IFRS training was a great experience that saved me a lot of time and provided many resources that I will easily be able to assimilate into my classes. The training team was focused and fun, seasoned, and internationally knowledgeable."

Jennifer Blouin, Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business said, "Making an effort to maximize pedagogical flexibility, EYARC offered faculty extensive training and materials useful for developing IFRS curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The class notes, cases, and high level spotlights on convergence issues created by EYARC's team of academics and practice professionals will be invaluable as I incorporate IFRS into my syllabus."

Currently, the US is the only industrialized country to not yet adopt IFRS or have a "date certain" for adoption. In the Americas, for example, Canada and South America have adoption dates ranging from 2011 to 2014. In November, the SEC issued a roadmap proposing the adoption of IFRS in the US beginning in 2014. This roadmap is currently open for comment before mandatory adoption is initiated.

"Given the roadmap issued by the SEC and the probability of mandatory adoption of IFRS in the US in the relatively near time frame, we believe it's a matter of when -- not if -- schools will need to realign their educational programs to address IFRS learning," said Ellen Glazerman, Ernst & Young LLP, Americas Director of University Relations. "Even though IFRS is not currently mandated in the US, most of our multinational clients report under IFRS in some capacity, therefore demanding that knowledge from our professionals and the new campus recruits that we hire. We, along with universities, have a shared responsibility in accounting education."

Catherine Banks, EYARC Program Director added, "Students who have an understanding of IFRS will distinguish themselves in the hiring process and will likely have increased career and mobility opportunities. Learning IFRS requires students to build more critical-thinking skills to better understand the substance of transactions, which should make them better accountants."

Faculty who are interested in obtaining access to the private EYARC site should contact Catherine Banks at catherine.banks@ey.com. On this site, faculty have access to not only the EYARC curriculum materials but many other firm resources on IFRS, accounting, auditing and tax.

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