Fairfield University's Dolan School of Business on cutting edge in incorporating international accounting standards


Fairfield University's Charles Dolan School of Business will be leading educational innovation in incorporating international accounting standards into its curriculum, thanks in part to a $50,000 grant from PricewaterhouseCoopers, say professors. These International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), already in use in more than 100 countries abroad, are expected to be adopted by major companies in the United States in the near future. Last year, in a significant reversal, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a "roadmap" for the adoption by U.S. companies of IFRS beginning as early as 2009.

The globalization of business and finance has led to the use of IFRS by thousands of companies worldwide. IFRS is expected to replace U.S. companies' use of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Norm Solomon, Ph. D., dean of the Dolan School of Business, said the fact that Fairfield faculty applied for and received this grant illustrates that the Dolan School is on the cutting edge of providing students with the best possible and most up-to-date curriculum. "Knowing these standards will be a big asset in the job market for graduates. My understanding is that PricewaterhouseCoopers wants to encourage faculty to focus more on the upcoming implementation of international accounting standards in the U.S. These standards will become a reality here very soon."

Teaching students the new set of standards is a high priority of the Dolan School's accounting department, which is why Associate Professors Dr. Michael P. Coyne, CPA, Dr. Dawn W. Massey, CPA, and Dr. Joan Van Hise, CPA, applied for the grant. The accounting professors will use the grant to develop curriculum centered on IFRS.

Dr. Coyne said, "Incorporating these standards into our curriculum at this time is a unique opportunity as the Dolan School of Business will be among the first business schools in the country to cover IFRS in a comprehensive manner."

Dr. Massey, chair of the accounting department, said Fairfield was in good company in being awarded the grant. "Most other recipients are much larger schools with sizeable accounting programs." Among the 24 schools selected from a field of more than 120 applicants were New York University, University of Virginia, Fordham, Villanova, Ithaca College/Cornell University, University of Notre Dame, Marquette, University of Maryland, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin, Wake Forest, and Ohio State.

Fairfield accounting professors have been teaching international accounting standards alongside U.S. GAAP in Fairfield's Advanced Accounting course for the past 10 years. "What distinguishes this new effort is that we will be incorporating IFRS into courses across the undergraduate accounting curriculum," Dr. Van Hise noted.

Plans call for incorporating into the introductory accounting sequence an overview of IFRS and an understanding of its importance to the business community. For the accounting major courses beyond the introductory sequence, faculty plans to more thoroughly integrate IFRS. Professors will share the model syllabi from these courses with other schools that wish to adopt, or adapt, their ideas.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the "Big Four" international accounting firms, sponsored the grant program, citing the importance for business schools to teach the standards, and has committed $1 million over two years to this effort.

For more information on the Dolan School, call (203) 254-4070 or visit http://www.fairfield.edu/dsb/index.html

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 3, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 197