Using Deming's Cycle for Improvement in a Course: A Case Study

Using Deming's Cycle for Improvement in a Course: A Case Study

Anil K. Aggarwal (University of Baltimore, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJWLTT.2020070103
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The boundaries between accounting and technology is becoming fuzzier as accounting companies are becoming consulting companies. Digital economies are changing business models and companies that do not adept can become obsolete very fast. Even professional organizations are recommending using technology to modernize, automate and expedite accounting discipline. Therefore, it is necessary to train personnel to become competent in both technology and accounting. Universities are fulfilling this requirement by offering courses such as Accounting Information Systems, data analytics, big data, etc. This article uses Deming's PlanDoCheckAct (PDCA) cycle for longitudinal assessment and improvement of the AIS course. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, instructors can learn from our experience. This article would be useful for instructors trying different and emerging approaches. In addition, this article would be useful for instructors trying to engage students and to train them for future challenges.
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As technology diffuses across organizations, functional boundaries are becoming blurred. Accounting firm, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL), advertises themselves as offering technology services, “Today business and technology are inextricably linked… keeping pace with the emerging technology landscape can be difficult for even the most tech-savvy leaders.” Businesses are recognizing the evolving nature of fast paced technologies that is changing client requirements. Clients are asking for a complete seamless solution to their problems. It is not only tax, audit or balance sheets, but it is “off-the-shelf” total package they are demanding. Big accounting companies are transforming as Accounting Information Systems Services (AISS) companies by providing not only tax and audit consultation, but also IT related advice to their clients. According to a Pathway Commission Report on Accounting Education, (2012):

…businesses are processes, not buckets of accounting information. If the accounting community continues to concentrate on the financial accounting system and not understanding the technology and dynamic business processes that run companies of the 21st century, the accounting profession has the potential to become obsolete. While this may be a bit strong, the point was made loud and clear: Our students and faculty need to adapt to the speed of change of technology and business practices.

Advances in technology demand complete and seamless training that goes across functional areas. As companies provide whole solutions, it becomes more important not only to comply with regulations like the SOX, HIPPA, etc., but to accomplish them efficiently and in the shortest time possible. Technology is there to assist in this endeavor. Universities are fulfilling this knowledge gap by offering courses such as Accounting Information System AIS), Data Analytics in Accounting etc.). Universities must train students to better understand the data, processes and technology that can generate desired reports and insights to satisfy or validate compliance. AIS is a moving target since technology is changing rapidly. It is important not only develop an AIS course but also to improve it continually. This paper addresses one such course, namely AIS, and studies its continuous improvement using PDCA cycle proposed by Deming. This study should be beneficial to faculty planning to engage students and continually improve the AIS courses. Instead of reinventing the wheel, this study provides an excellent starting point for continuous improvement and the assessment process.

Next section discusses current literature, followed by the experiment.

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