Integration of the microcomputer into the changing accounting curriculum: An analysis of recent findings


This article reports the results of a longitudinal study concerning the utilization of microcomputers in accounting curricula. A comparative summary of three earlier studies by the authors on PC computer integration in accounting classes is also incorporated into the paper. Accounting departments are currently in a period of stabilization with respect to computer hardware and software. For the last 2 or 3 years, PC usage in accounting courses has leveled off at 62%. Although the amount of integration may be adequate, the type of integration remains questionable. The electronic spreadsheet is the most widely employed software package in the accounting curriculum, and knowledge of spreadsheet applications has become equated with PC computer literacy. This paper emphasizes that employment of micros in selected accounting courses must progress beyond spreadsheet applications to include more sophisticated, higher level applications. The authors predict that the evolution of information systems technologies will accelerate dramatically in the 1990s. Such changes will impact the way accounting is practiced, the way management services are provided, the types of internal controls installed in systems, the way accounting systems are developed, the way managers make decisions and so on. Yet, this study reveals stagnant classroom applications which are piecemeal and nonsystems (i.e. nonplanning) in orientation with spreadsheet applications predominating. Other more significant micro applications must be integrated into the classroom. About 31% of the accounting departments responding to the 1989 survey have the mechanism in place to bring about the needed changes in the 1990s. The recommended mechanism is a departmental PC Steering Committee. Such a committee should be formed by all accounting departments to bring about the orderly deployment of PC applications in a changing accounting curriculum. If the accounting PC Steering Committee takes its job seriously, the important information systems technologies affecting the development of accounting are more likely to be incorporated into the classroom, keeping accounting students abreast of the latest developments in the information age. © 1992.


School of Accountancy

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Computers and Education