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One of the greatest challenges when teaching most business courses is helping students see the relevance and value of the course content for their future business careers. While students frequently share dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, they often struggle with understanding how course materials will ever personally affect them.
This concern is particularly relevant when teaching introductory courses in accounting. At most institutions, the majority of students enrolled in the introductory course are majoring in fields other than accounting. Many of these students approach the course with some trepidation and doubt whether the material will have much long-term benefit for them personally. Furthermore, the lack of a solid understanding of business concepts often causes students to struggle with mastering the technical accounting content because they are unable to recognize how the accounting concepts and issues affect major business decisions.
The purpose of MoviesDoorToDoor.com: How Accounting Helped Make the Difference is to present accounting and business concepts in a logical order consistent with the way business owners and managers face them in the business world. This book features in a fictional story format three young entrepreneurs, Brad, Courtney and John, who must make numerous business decisions as they create and grow a start-up company. While none of the business founders has much accounting training or experience, they quickly realize that many of their business decisions must be based on solid accounting information. The story describes how they use that information when encountering both trials and triumphs while starting a traditional "brick and mortar" business that has an Internet-based component in the uncertain technology economy.
This book is divided into twelve short chapters that deal with various business decisions made by Brad, Courtney and John as their business unfolds. Rather than address the issues in the order they are presented on the balance sheet, much like many traditional textbooks for introductory accounting do, this book introduces accounting and other business activities in a chronological order most consistent with what business owners would actually face when creating and growing a business. We believe that presenting accounting concepts in a story format that intertwines both personal and business issues will motivate student interest in the content of the introductory course in accounting, thus increasing their learning. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter are designed to stimulate class discussion on related accounting and business concepts.
This book is intended to be used as a supplemental reading in an introductory accounting course, at the undergraduate or MBA levels. There are a couple of approaches instructors can take to integrate this with other course materials. One approach would be to assign the reading of the book early in the semester or quarter to give students an overview of the business context of how accounting is used. Relevant chapter materials can be referenced throughout the semester or quarter as the concepts are introduced in class. Another approach would be to spread the reading of each of the chapters evenly over the semester or quarter period, requiring only a few minutes of reading each week. Instructors would take a few moments during class periods to link the concepts to the textbook material. Under either approach, the discussion questions, whether answered individually or in groups, can be used to stimulate rich class discussions.
Because this book also presents issues faced when developing and creating a new business, the use of MoviesDoorToDoor.com: How Accounting Helped Make the Difference can also be used in an introductory business course, a course on small businesses, or an entrepreneurial-focused class. In addition, this book may be an effective resource for executive education or other corporate programs focused on training non-accounting or non-business professionals.
The company and characters presented in MoviesDoorToDoor.com: How Accounting Helped Make the Difference are purely fictional and are not intended to portray real persons, organizations or events. Also, the book is not intended to present all aspects of a start-up business. However, we have attempted to make the book representative of relevant personalities and experiences one might expect to encounter when starting a new business.
Finally, we would like to thank Eric Blazer of Millersville University, Mary Ann M. Prater of Clemson University and Dan Stone of the University of Kentucky for providing content and instructional feedback related to this project. We are also grateful to Jason Danforth, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for providing extensive feedback to ensure the book increased student interest and learning in accounting and business. And, we appreciate the helpful insights of Andrea Buckless and Craig Welch, both non-accounting educators, and Beth Beasley, a former bank commercial loan officer. We especially thank Thomas Sigel, Executive Editor, of Prentice Hall who embraced this project with enthusiasm. We also thank other members of the Prentice Hall team including Beth Toland, Laura Rogers, and John Roberts for their hard work. Most importantly, we are grateful to our families for their patience and tremendous support throughout the writing of this book.
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