Advertising. Examine the criteria used to expense and capitalize advertising costs and where these costs appear in the financial statement.

Assessment 1: Training-Accounting Tools and Practices

Develop either a training deck (12-15 slides) or training manual (3-4 pages) to ensure new hires have a solid understanding of income statements, balance sheets, and the elements that go into them.

Introduction

This portfolio work project will help you to not only better understand commonly used accounting tools, but it will also give you the opportunity to use your skills and experience by preparing training materials to train someone else.

Scenario

You work for an organization that is seeking growth and recently has hired new district managers to assist in this growth. In talking to other regional managers, you have heard that some district managers do not have a thorough understanding of commonly used accounting tools including an income statement and balance sheet. You have a new district manager hire, John, and see the need to do some training with him so he has a solid understanding of income statements, balance sheets, and the elements that go into them, including advertising costs, Web development costs, and store opening costs.

In preparing to train your new hire, you have determined that the use of examples (a picture is worth a thousand words) can be a great approach to use. So you have decided to gather some examples from the company’s summary of significant accounting policies from its latest financial statements.

You may apply this scenario to either Option 1 or Option 2, described in Requirements below.

Your Role

You are a regional manager for Urban Outfitters or your selected organization and oversee a number of districts. You have recently brought a new district manager on board and want to ensure he has the knowledge and tools needed to effectively do his job.

Requirements

Option 1:

The organization you work for is Urban Outfitters. Use the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website to find the Urban Outfitter’s 2016–2017 financial statement’s summary of significant accounting policies. Look at the data for 2015, 2016, and 2017 for the following examples of essential elements you need to cover with John and ensure his understanding.

  • Advertising. Examine the criteria used to expense and capitalize advertising costs and where these costs appear in the financial statement.
  • Store opening costs. Examine how store opening and organization costs were handled and where these costs appear in the financial statement.
  • Website development costs. Examine the approaches taken during the application and infrastructure development stage and the planning and operating stage.

Option 2:

Use a firm or scenario of your choosing.

Before choosing a company, read the assessment thoroughly to ensure:

  • The company fits the assessment requirements.
  • You have access to the financial statement’s summary of significant accounting policies and the Note disclosures from which you are drawing your materials. Include this information in the appendix for reference.
  • You can distribute the data without disclosing confidential company information.

Training Materials

As you prepare your training materials for John, use the examples you collected from the company’s Notes to financial documents to illustrate how you address the following items:

  • Explain how one or more of the following costs are captured:
    • Advertising.
    • Store opening. If store opening costs were capitalized, over what time period would you amortize them? Explain why you selected this time period.
    • Website development.
  • Analyze the importance of Notes to financial statements in interpreting financial statements.
  • Explain how the accounting method the company uses affects the financial statements.
  • Explain how the financial statements would differ if another method were used to capture the costs.
  • If you have a preference for capitalizing or expensing these costs, explain why it is your preference.

Deliverable Format

Leadership has asked that you develop either a training deck or a training manual that you will use with John and that can be deployed with other new hires as well. Regardless of the format selected, the information should address the points identified above and with detailed explanations within the notes areas of slides or within the training manual text. It will also be helpful to include information in regard to why each item is important to the organization as well as the success of the new district manager.

To use your time and John’s time wisely, be conscientious about providing thorough yet concise information. These materials are expected to be used by others for future training needs, so make sure they are well organized and clear.

Training materials requirements:

  • 12–15 slides for a training deck. Include additional details as slide notes.
  • 3–4 pages for a training manual.

Related company standards for either format:

  • The training manual is a professional document and should therefore follow the corresponding MBA Academic and Professional Document Guidelines, including single-spaced paragraphs.
    • To learn more about creating presentations, click “MBA Program Resources” and then “Presentation Skills.”
  • In addition to the training deck or manual materials, include:
    • Title (slide or page).
    • References (slide or page).
    • Appendix with supporting materials. If you are using a firm or scenario of your choosing, ensure faculty has sufficient information to understand how you reached your recommendation.
  • At least two APA-formatted references.

Evaluation

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies through corresponding scoring guide criteria:

  • Competency 1: Explain how accounting concepts and practices impact financial reporting.
    • Explain how the accounting method the company used affects the financial statements.
    • Compare how two accounting methods differ in their effects on the financial statements.
  • Competency 4: Communicate financial information with multiple stakeholders.
    • Communicate accounting information clearly.

Faculty will use the scoring guide to review your deliverable as if they were your immediate supervisor. Review the scoring guide prior to developing and submitting your assessment.

Understanding how transactions are recorded is vital to your understanding of financial statements, which in turn is important for interpreting financial statements to make sound business decisions. The following resources provide a basic understanding of how transactions are recorded and ultimately become part of the financial statements:

Resources: Accounting Equation and Recording Process

  • Marshall, D., McManus, W., & Viele, D. (2020). Accounting: What the numbers mean (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Available in the courseroom via the VitalSource Bookshelf link.
    • The following chapters cover basic accounting concepts:
      • Chapter 1, “Accounting – Present and Past.”
      • Chapter 2, “Financial Statements and Accounting.”
      • Chapter 4, “Bookkeeping Process and Transactions.”
  • Droms, W. G., & Wright, J. O. (2015). Finance and accounting for nonfinancial managers: All the basics you need to know. New York, NY: Basic Books.
    • The following chapter is most relevant for this assessment:
      • Chapter 1, “Contemporary Financial Management,” pages 15–20.
  • The Accounting Cycle | Transcript.
    • This short video explains and depicts the accounting cycle.
  • Jones, D. J. (2012). Visualizing accounting transaction flows into financial statements. American Journal of Business Education, 5(6), 753–757.

Resources: Publicly Available Financial Statements

For the assessments in this course, you may need to locate financial information for a business. Financial information for publicly traded corporations is available on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website.

To access financial statements for publicly traded companies, do the following:

  1. Go to the SEC website.
  2. On the main page:
    1. Roll over the FILINGS link at the top of the page.
    1. Select Company Filings Search from the drop-down list.
  3. In the blank field, type the name of the company whose financial statements you wish to view, and then click SEARCH.
  4. The next page may provide a list of companies matching your search. Select the company for which you are searching.
  5. On the Results page, you will see a listing of filings by that company. From the list, select the financial statements you wish to view. (Hint: The filings labelled 10K are annual filings and are likely to be the most complete. The Interactive Data link allows you to select specific financial statements.)

Resources: Financial Statements

The following resources may be helpful in learning about or reviewing financial statement basics in preparation for this assessment:

  • Marshall, D., McManus, W., & Viele, D. (2020). Accounting: What the numbers mean (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Available in the courseroom via the VitalSource Bookshelf link.
    • The following chapters cover financial statement basics:
      • Chapter 5, “Accounting for and Presentation of Current Assets.”
      • Chapter 6, “Accounting for and Presentation of Property, Plant, and Equipment and Other Noncurrent Assets.”
      • Chapter 7, “Accounting for and Presentation of Liabilities.”

The following resources may be helpful in learning about or reviewing financial statement notes and other advanced topics in preparation for this assessment:

  • Marshall, D., McManus, W., & Viele, D. (2020). Accounting: What the numbers mean (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Available in the courseroom via the VitalSource Bookshelf link.
    • The following chapters cover financial statement notes and other advanced topics:
      • Chapter 8, “Accounting for and Presentation of Stockholders’ Equity.”
      • Chapter 9, “The Income Statement and Statement of Cash Flows.”
      • Chapter 10, “Corporate Governance, Notes to the Financial Statements, and Other Disclosures.”

Resources: Additional Resources for Further Consideration

Skillsoft Tutorial

The following interactive course provides step-by-step instruction and practice with concepts related to this assessment. Applicable topics and corresponding lessons are listed below.

  • Skillsoft. (n.d.). Basic accounting concepts for non-financial professionals [Tutorial].
    • The Accounting Equation and Recording Process:
      • The Basic Accounting Equation.
      • Cash-based and Accrual-based Accounting.
      • Understanding the Accounting Process.
      • Basic Accounting Principles.
    • Financial Statement Basics:
      • The Basic Accounting Equation.
      • Cash-based and Accrual-based Accounting.
      • Understanding the Accounting Process.
      • Basic Accounting Principles.
    • Financial Statements Advanced Topics and Notes:
      • Cash Flow Principles.
      • The Impact of Economic Float on Cash Flow.

Once you are on the SEC website, you will need to scroll down to the annual report information for 2016 and 2017 (the site is in file date order).  Once you locate the annual report section, you will need to click on interactive data.  After clicking on interactive data, this will open up a new page.  Once you are on the new page, you can click on the accounting policies on the left side of the website.  After clicking on accounting policies, you will then need to click on the summary of significant accounting policies.  After this page opens, you can then open up the Excel document to save to your computer. 

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