WILLIAMSBURG, VA -- The August 27 SEC action proposing a specific timetable for allowing companies to replace US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) with IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) may have surprised many in the accounting world, but the William and Mary School of Business Master of Accounting (MAcc) Program has been at the forefront of IFRS for more than a year.
W&M Professor Rama Ramamurthy has been incorporating modules about IFRS in her Professional Accounting III class (a required course in the MAcc program) for a year already. And next spring she will debut an entire course devoted to digging into the concepts and learning how to apply them. What makes her courses especially effective, though, is her focus on case studies.
"It appears that the global capital markets are demanding a uniform set of high quality financial reporting standards," Professor Ramamurthy notes. "Given the SEC's proposed road map for requiring IFRS adoption by US publicly traded companies, it is imperative that educators emphasize the importance of such standards."
When formulating her syllabus for the course in the fall of 2007, Professor Ramamurthy was able to find a great deal of theoretical material. What she couldn't find were comprehensive case studies that would give students crucial practice in applying the proposed new standards. Fortunately, she was able to turn to W&M alumni and friends at Big Four firms for help. Soon, case materials were in hand.
Steven Baker, PwC partner and W&M alum, notes, "It is critical for universities to be pro-active in updating their accounting curriculum to include IFRS -- I applaud Professor Ramamurthy and W&M for being one of the 'early adopters!'"
Other W&M professors on the forefront of IFRS education are Jim Irving, Brad Lindsey, and Rachna Prakash. They are integrating new curriculum opportunities related to US GAAP and IFRS into the MBA and undergraduate accounting programs. Mason School of Business students at all levels - from graduate students to Principles of Accounting students - will work through the implications of the new regulations before graduating.
Assistant Dean Kim Smith says, "All accounting programs are looking for ways to address IFRS in the curriculum. Although we recognize the challenges, we find that our focus on the relationship between the economics of business transactions and the financial reporting will facilitate our ability to effectively integrate IFRS into the accounting curriculum."