Learning Outcomes

Accountancy Student Learning Outcomes

Mission

The accountancy program at Rocky Mountain College strives to prepare graduates for careers as accountants in public accounting, private industry, and government by enabling them to:

  • Develop technical competence;
  • Recognize the role of the accountant in an organization;
  • Behave in accordance with accepted professional ethical standards and principles; and
  • Create value for organizations and society at large.

To these ends, the program has determined educational objectives based on the AICPA Core Competencies. These competencies are achieved through completion of graduate study in accounting and undergraduate study in business, as well as completion of the College's general education requirements.

The specific educational objectives of the accountancy program relate to the achievement of the following competencies, adopted from the AICPA Core Competencies:

  • Measurement - Various measurement and disclosure criteria used by accounting professionals have been codified to some degree. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Appropriately applies a given measurement method;
    • Identifies what needs to be measured;
    • Describes uncertainties about data and how items should be measured;
    • Describes the pros and cons of alternative methods of measurement;
    • Describes the implications of ambiguities when estimates are required;
    • Presents the measuring results objectively using applicable standards of disclosure and reporting;
    • Determines an appropriate, relevant, and reliable measure for the intended use; and
    • Recognizes changing circumstances and reconsiders measurement methods and estimates as appropriate.
  • Reporting - Communicating the scope of work and findings or recommendations is an integral part of a professional service. Communicating clearly and objectively the work done and the resulting findings is critical to the value of the professional service. Some forms of communication are governed by professional standards or law. Others are based on the service applied and the needs of those to whom the accounting professional reports. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Lists the types of information relevant to a given report;
    • Considers the pros and cons of alternative contents and formats in preparing written and oral presentations;
    • Describes work performed and conclusions reached in a manner that enhances the report's usefulness; and
    • Uses appropriate media and prepares reports with objectivity, conciseness, and clarity.
  • Research - An individual preparing to enter the accounting profession needs to have strong research skills to access relevant guidance (in the form of standards and other rules) or other information, understand it, and apply it. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Accesses relevant standards, rules, and other information;
    • Identifies relevant information such as industry trends, internal performance history, benchmarks, and best practices;
    • Explains why there are uncertainties about the interpretation of information, including existing rules;
    • Employs relevant research skills for locating data;
    • Articulates assumptions and reasoning associated with the application of existing rules to a given problem;
    • Qualitatively interprets research findings from a variety of viewpoints;
    • Articulates general concepts from existing rules and explains how those concepts apply across a range of problems, including problems not explicitly described;
    • Develops and uses reasonable guidelines for drawing conclusions in light of conflicting or ambiguous data; and
    • Employs relevant research skills to general new information.
  • Risk Analysis - Risk analysis and control is fundamental to professional service delivery. The identification of audit risk is the basis for the conduct of a GAAS audit. The understanding of business risk affects how business strategy is created and implemented. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Explains why controls cannot completely eliminate the risk of negative outcomes;
    • Describes the pros and cons of controls that mitigate risk of negative outcomes through prevention or detection and correction;
    • Identifies risks of negative outcomes for particular scenarios;
    • Communicates the impact of identified risks and recommends corrective action;
    • Assesses and controls unmitigated risks through designing, applying, and drawing conclusions from tests; and
    • Develops and monitors strategies for managing risk over time and identifies appropriate corrective action concerning risk.
  • Decision Modeling - Individuals preparing to enter the accounting profession must be able to use strategic and critical approaches to decision-making. They must objectively consider issues, identify alternatives, and choose and implement solution approaches in order to deliver services and provide value. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Identifies problems, potential solution approaches, and related uncertainties;
    • Organizes and evaluates information, alternatives, cost/benefits, risks, and rewards of alternative scenarios;
    • Employs techniques to quantify problems or test solutions;
    • Uses quantitative techniques to explore the likelihood of alternative scenarios;
    • Links data, knowledge, and insights together for decision-making purposes; and
    • Engages in continuous improvement and constructs new models over time.
  • Technology - Individuals entering the accounting profession must acquire the necessary skills to use technology effectively and efficiently. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Identifies risks associated with technology and automated business processes;
    • Recognizes commonly used information architectures;
    • Mines electronic data sources for business and industry information;
    • Accesses appropriate electronic databases to obtain decision-supporting information;
    • Appropriately uses electronic spreadsheets and other software to build models and simulations;
    • Uses technology assisted tools to assess and control risk and document work performed;
    • Develops strategic uses of technology for enhancing work performance;
    • Adopts new technology over time; and
    • Exchanges information using appropriate communication technologies.
  • Strategic/Critical Thinking - Critical thinking encompasses the ability to link data, knowledge, and insight together from various disciplines to provide information for decision-making. Individuals entering the accounting profession should be able to communicate to others the vision, strategy, goals, and culture of organizations. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Articulates the principles of the strategic planning process;
    • Identifies and gathers data from a wide variety of sources for decision-making;
    • Transfers knowledge from one situation to another; and
    • Analyzes strategic information.
  • Resource Management - Individuals preparing to enter the accounting profession should be able to identify sources of resources and the appropriate strategies or actions necessary to preserve or enhance those resources. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Identifies resources available to an organization;
    • Explains why there are uncertainties about the availability and alternative uses of resources;
    • Identifies the effects of market forces on organization's costs of capital, labor, commodities, etc.;
    • Analyzes the implications of an organization's lack of access to supply sources, financial markets, and intellectual capital;
    • Articulates how organizations make decisions to allocate scarce resources;
    • Identifies both traditional and non-traditional performance criteria and measurement methods by selecting appropriate success factors and measures of their achievement;
    • Articulates how resource availability affects the organization's business functions, processes, and administrative procedures; and
    • Facilitates analysis of the organization and applies continuous improvement principles to the organization.
  • Legal/Regulatory Perspective - Individuals preparing to enter the accounting profession need to be capable of describing the legal and regulatory environment and analyzing the impact of changes in relevant requirements, constraints, and competitive practices. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Identifies uncertainties about how an organization should respond to a legal/regulatory issue;
    • Identifies reasons why the legal/regulatory environment might change;
    • Identifies and explains the political and environmental forces impacting both the accounting standard setting process and the regulation of the profession;
    • Articulates the dynamic nature of these processes and recognizes their implications for organizations and the ways in which they operate; and
    • Describes the legal and governmental/regulatory environment in which entities operate and the significant costs and benefits of regulation.
  • Industry/Sector Perspective - Individuals entering the accounting profession should be able to identify the economics and broad business financial risks and opportunities of the industry and economic sector in which a given organization operates. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Identifies the economic, broad business, and financial risks of business activities;
    • Identifies and describes competitive advantages and disadvantages;
    • Communicates the financial and non-financial performance of an organization's operational processes; and
    • Recommends courses of action that take advantage of an organization's key competitive advantages and disadvantages.
  • Marketing/Client Focus - Individuals who are marketing- and client-focused are better able to anticipate and meet the changing needs of clients, employers, customers, and markets. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Identifies factors that motivate internal and external customers to enter into relationships or continue doing business with an organization;
    • Develops an effective plan for addressing a particular employer/client need; and
    • Recognizes the importance of the marketing function and the role marketing plays in business development.
  • Communication - Individuals entering the accounting profession should have the skills necessary to give and exchange information within a meaningful context and with appropriate delivery. They should have the ability to listen, deliver powerful presentations, and produce examples of effective business writing. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Identifies uncertainties about the best way to communicate;
    • Expresses information and concepts with conciseness and clarity when writing and speaking;
    • Selects appropriate media for dissemination or accumulation of information;
    • Places information in appropriate context when listening, reading, writing, and speaking;
    • Organizes and effectively displays information so that is is meaningful to the receiving party; and 
    • Uses interpersonal skills to facilitate effective interaction.
  • Interaction - Individuals entering the accounting profession should demonstrate an ability to work productively with individuals in a diverse set of roles and with varying interests in outcomes. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Identifies uncertainties about interactions with others;
    • Accepts suggestions and guidance of team leaders and other members;
    • Commits to achievement of common goals when working on a team;
    • Interacts and cooperates productively and maturely with others
    • Recognizes the value or working within diverse, cross-functional teams;
    • Facilitates free expression and constructive activities of others; and
    • Coaches or mentors in appropriate circumstances.
  • Leadership - Individuals entering the accounting profession should be able to effectively lead in appropriate circumstances. This involves acquiring the skills needed to influence, inspire, and motivate individuals and groups to achieve results. Master of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Describes why there is no single "correct" way to perform as a leader;
    • Identifies the various leadership styles;
    • Analyzes potential ways to reach a consensus from alternative points of view;
    • Recognizes and controls for own biases when receiving input from others;
    • Relates leadership styles to different situations; and
    • Persuades and garners the support of others for a course of action by reasoning or incentive.
  • Project Management - Individuals entering the accounting profession should demonstrate the ability to effectively control the course of a multi -dimensional, multi -step undertaking. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Identifies uncertainties related to time and resource requirements for a project;
    • Identifies project goals;
    • Lists information relevant to managing a project;
    • Organizes the various aspects of a project in order to allocate resources for optimum results;
    • Utilizes methods to measure project progress;
    • Recognizes situations where corrective actions are necessary; and
    • Effectively facilitates and controls projects.
  • Problem Solving/Decision-Making - Individuals entering the accounting profession should display effective problem-solving and decision-making skills, good insight and judgment, as well as innovative and creative thinking. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Lists information and evidence that is relevant of a problem;
    • Identifies uncertainties about the interpretation or significance of information and evidence;
    • Considers unconventional approaches and solutions to problems;
    • Makes valid and reliable evaluations of information;
    • Analyzes the impact, pros, and cons of potential solutions or actions;
    • Assesses the quality of information and evidence including, validity, reliability, and significance;
    • Reasons carefully and thinks effectively in abstract terms and generalizations;
    • Synthesizes novel or original definitions of problems and solutions as circumstances dictate; and
    • Adapts to new contexts and promotes constructive change.
  • Professional Demeanor - Individuals entering the accounting profession should behave in a manner that is consistent with the character and standards of the discipline of accounting, as well as the norms of the environment in which they interact. Mastery of this competency is demonstrated when the student/graduate:
    • Identifies ethical dilemmas;
    • Considers the impact of alternative solutions on various stakeholders in an ethical dilemma;
    • Objectively considers others' professional criticism or evaluation when making decisions; and
    • Recognizes situations where professional ethical standards apply and behaves accordingly.

Refer to the Matrix of Competency Indicators to identify specific courses where the competencies above are developed.

Refer to specific course syllabi to identify specific course content objectives.

 
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