Educator resources from the Big Four

From case studies to curriculum guides, major firms make a wealth of tools available.
By Lea Hart

With the accounting profession changing at a rapid pace, faculty are working hard to prepare their students for the field. At the same time, firms are providing support to ensure graduates arrive in the workplace with the skills necessary to succeed. With that in mind, many major firms offer free resources to faculty to help them remain on the cutting edge.

“As a profession we collectively provide support because we understand the critical need for professors to have access to the most current information,” said Julie Peters, university relations leader at PwC. “Our field is evolving and changing, and providing access to current information, which is then passed along to the students, helps better prepare the incoming professionals that are joining the firm.”

On their websites, Deloitte LLP, PwC, EY, and KPMG LLP host a wide range of resources for educators, including:

Deloitte Foundation Educator Resources

Cases. “The Deloitte Foundation offers a variety of case materials for faculty use in the classroom which are designed to keep students connected with real-world issues and current challenges of the profession,” said Kathy Shoztic, executive director of the Deloitte Foundation. 

  • The foundation’s Trueblood Case Study Series includes 50 financial accounting and auditing cases with password-protected solutions and discussion materials.
  • The foundation also offers several mini and large forensic accounting case studies to faculty in PDF form. Topics include payroll, claims management, sales commission fraud, procurement fraud, asset misappropriation, tax fraud, sales fraud, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations.

Classroom materials. The Deloitte Foundation/Federation of Schools of Accountancy Faculty Consortium offers an opportunity for accounting faculty to come together with practitioners to understand current business issues and provides best practice information to incorporate into their curricula. Materials from previous consortia, including analytics case studies and data sets, are available on the FSA website.

Other curriculum support. Deloitte collaborated with the University of Illinois Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society to develop a program to help faculty teach auditor independence to their students. The program covers such topics as what independence is and why it’s important, professional skepticism, and serving the public interest. The auditor independence materials are free to faculty (registration and login required), and include:

  • A video program and discussion questions.
  • An in-class market game.
  • Teaching notes, and more.

Data analytics curriculum modules (forthcoming). The Deloitte Foundation/University of Illinois Center for Business Analytics is also creating analytics curriculum modules, which will be made available to all faculty. The modules will be shared in quarterly increments. The first module is scheduled for release in the summer of 2018.

EY Foundation Educator Resources

Curriculum materials. The EY Academic Resource Center (EYARC) is a one-stop portal providing faculty with access to curriculum materials for use in the classroom. Any faculty member can receive a username and password, provided they plan to use the materials for not-for-profit higher education purposes, and they agree to maintain any branding, said Ellen Glazerman, executive director of the EY Foundation, and Americas director of University Relations for EY. The highlight of the EYARC is the curriculum materials, which EY co-developed with a team of faculty, she said.

Often the materials cover cutting-edge topics that aren’t yet included in most textbooks, Glazerman said. For example, when the profession asked faculty to teach more analytics, EY provided a competency framework, lecture notes, a variety of cases, and data sets, she said.

If the material integrates a particular application or program that some faculty may not be familiar with, such as Tableau, EYARC will also include a unit on how to use that program, she said.

“Faculty can use a piece of the EYARC materials, or all of it, or integrate it with their own materials,” Glazerman said.

Materials from EY faculty sponsored events. The Ernst & Young Foundation sponsors faculty education events, including a Tax Educators Symposium and the EYARC Colloquium, that seek to keep faculty informed of the latest issues affecting the profession and to discuss evolving skillset needs. Presentation materials and videos from these events are accessible on the EYARC.

Webcasts and publications. The EYARC also contains access to webcasts EY created for its clients, information on the latest changes in regulations or within the profession, and highlights from EY publications that may be most relevant to faculty, among other features, Glazerman said.

PwC Educator Resources

Case studies. PwC makes data and analytics case studies and tax case studies available to faculty upon request. The case studies are accompanied by various teaching materials, including:

  • A guide for professors detailing the skills students should have to work with these case studies.
  • Features for professors using the case studies, such as a suggested template for presenting the case solution to students.
  • Suggestions on how to integrate the cases with various learning materials.

Online training. PwC shares its internal Data Analysis and Presentation Skills training with faculty, free of charge online, Peters said. While the content is free, educators must pay a fee for certification.

Contacts for further data analytics materials. PwC’s INQuires program awards money to help recipients incorporate data, analytics, and technology into their curricula. Recipients of these funds are encouraged to share their results and resources with other universities. On its website, PwC provides contact information for a number of faculty members who have materials to share with other educators.

KPMG Educator Resources

Curriculum modules. KPMG provides a series of curriculum modules to help faculty bring real-world examples to the classroom. Each module is designed to be adaptable and flexible so faculty can tailor it to their students’ skills. These modules cover subject matter in audit, financial accounting, tax, business administration, and a number of other areas. Resources include:

  • Instructional slides.
  • Case studies.
  • Instructional videos such as this video on bonds.
  • Activities for students to perform in class, such as this activity, which lets students perform a bank confirmation procedure.

Information sharing through KPMG institutes. The KPMG Institute Network is available to faculty to learn about and understand emerging trends, as well as risks and opportunities, according to the KPMG website. Faculty can join this network to access current thought leadership and exchange ideas and insights on best practices.

Lea Hart is a freelance writer based in Durham, N.C. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact senior editor Courtney Vien at Courtney.Vien@aicpa-cima.com.

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