ACTG 315 – Intermediate Financial Accounting I

I teach Intermediate Financial Accounting I (ACTG-315) for undergraduate students at UIC each fall. Intermediate accounting is a significant step up in difficulty from the core accounting classes primarily because material increases in both the complexity and quantity relative to the core accounting courses.

Intermediate I is important because it prepares students for the financial accounting portions of the CPA exam and is the foundation for further study in accounting, especially Intermediate Accounting II, Advanced Accounting, and Auditing. Also, it provides the knowledge that helps students excel in their internships, which are often start just after the end of the term.

“Everything I have done so far [in my internship] has directly related to what I learned in your class, and my success here is all thanks to your amazing/challenging teaching methods.”

Student from Fall 2021

To help students learn the material, I have developed the course around three foundational principles:

  1. Learning accounting requires application through cases and problems
  2. In-person meetings are for identifying and filling gaps in knowledge
  3. We remember more of what we learn when we can connect concepts to a unifying framework

Learning accounting requires application through cases and problems

While some of us enjoy thinking about financial accounting in the abstract, it is generally difficult for undergraduate students to appreciate the process of accounting without concrete examples and cases. Accordingly, I try and make the reading and practice problem sets available to students simultaneously, so that students can go back and forth between the concepts presented in the reading and the application in the problem sets. Also, I focus my video lectures on the specific problems to further encourage students to not just memorize definitions and entries, but to think critically about how to apply what they know. This is an effort to help students prepare of the CPA exam.

In-person meetings are for identifying and filling gaps in knowledge

When we are in-person, we have each other to help us figure out what we know and don’t know. I use class time to do a short quiz, often in pairs, and to then step-by-step work through the problem and field questions and clarify understanding. This is when we can tackle the hardest problems and tie concepts together.

We remember more of what we learn when we can connect concepts to a unifying framework

Accounting problems can often be very specifically focused on a very particular type of transaction. To help students remember the important aspects of each of these, I like to challenge students to associate important problems with fundamentals in accounting. For example, I challenge students to consider how each transaction affects the income statement, balance sheet, or particular ratios, or whether management may be incentivized to bias estimates in the accounting process.

Teaching Evaluations

I calculate the statistics below as averages weighted by the number of respondents. I provide the full evaluations so you can also see the detailed feedback.

  • Fall 2022: Overall Rating 4.74/5.00, Difficulty 4.23/5.00, Response Rate 93%. [Eval 1] [Eval 2] [Eval 3]
  • Fall 2021: Overall Rating 4.64/5.00, Difficulty 4.21/5.00, Response Rate 84%. [Eval 1] [Eval 2] [Eval 3]
  • Fall 2020: Overall Rating 4.10/5.00, Difficulty 4.61/5.00, Response Rate 93%. [Eval 1] [Eval 2] [Eval 3]
  • Fall 2019: Overall Rating 4.69/5.00, Difficulty 4.25/5.00, Response Rate 87%. [Eval 1] [Eval 2] [Eval 3]
  • Fall 2018: Overall Rating 4.69/5.00, Difficulty 4.37/5.00, Response Rate 94%. [Eval 1] [Eval 2] [Eval 3]
  • Fall 2017: Overall Rating 4.40/5.00, Difficulty 4.60/5.00, Response Rate 94%. [Eval 1] [Eval 2] [Eval 3] [Eval 4]
  • Fall 2016: Overall Rating 4.44/5.00, Difficulty 4.64/5.00, Response Rate 86%. [Eval 1] [Eval 2] [Eval 3]

Recent Teaching Posts

Resources for Students

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ACTG-315 Syllabus for Fall 2022

I’ve updated the syllabus for this term, and I’m posting it here because often others have found it helpful. There are some changes, specifically, this term I’m incorporating ALEKS to help students ramp-up and recall the material from the fundamentals of accounting. I’ve also broken down the pacing by week, and I’ve lighted up on…

AAA discussions 2022 (San Diego)

In August I discussed three papers for the American Accounting Association Annual Meeting in San Diego and virtually. It was a valuable opportunity for me to read some great papers, think about the related literatures, and share some thoughts. I generally try and keep my discussions at a high-level at AAA, as many of the…

Updated CV Template

I updated my CV this summer, and used LaTeX to do so. I borrowed heavily from this template, but I made some modifications to adapt it for accounting academia. I am also making my source code available and you can see the most current version of my CV here.