Innovative pedagogical tool for financial accounting

An accounting educational computer-based learning courseware, GenerReS was developed as an innovative pedagogical tool for financial accounting.

GenerRes (Generating Financial Reports Simulation) Software

Information Technology (IT) has been widely used in the implementation of accounting functions throughout the business world, including Malaysia since the last thirty years. Hence, numerous parties have called for IT to be integrated into the accounting curriculum. Nevertheless, its application in the field of accounting education leaves much to be desired. Among the contributing factors are the lack of inexpensive appropriate software in the market as well as the unwillingness among accounting educators to change their teaching pedagogy. Educators are claimed to be reluctant to develop creative types of learning including technology assignments while applying pedagogy that over-emphasises memorising and testing of recalls.

To address the above shortcoming, an accounting educational computer-based learning courseware, GenerReS was developed as an innovative pedagogical tool for financial accounting. Unlike other common educational packages that test users' mastery of subject matter through ability to answer questions, the GenerReS educational package requires users to apply the knowledge through a simulation of the accounting cycle processes. And, unlike commercial packages, the GenerReS educational courseware requires the logic of bookkeeping to maintain a full set of accounts thus meeting educational needs while simulating industry practice.

The GenerReS software was designed especially to complement traditional teaching and learning of accounting principles at the tertiary level and for accounting training of non-accountants. Unlike the SKiP and WinSKiPEzy software, two earlier software packages developed by the same developer, the GenerReS software includes learning materials as a module on its own, separate from the simulation programme. Another module for students to learn the generation of source documents is also included.

Another breakthrough feature of the software is that it allows users to self-construct the relevant financial statements in addition to generating the statements automatically according to the MASB format. The GenerReS software won a gold medal at the Science and Technology Exhibition 2003 and UPM Invention and Research Award 2003. GenerReS is currently used as required courseware in UPM and some other institutions of higher education including the Open University Malaysia.

Designed according to some established learning theories, the GenerReS package provides the opportunity for students to develop and enhance their skills according to their individual time, location and ability and if used appropriately will serve to:

- Provide a student-centred computerised learning platform for accounting
- Provide an opportunity for users to develop (in stages) their accounting skill and assess their level of competence
- Reinforce users' understanding of accounting concepts and skill
- Provide a learning environment simulating industry and practice
- Inculcate life-long learning culture
- Improve students computer literacy.

The package is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate specific needs of individual institution so that a custom-based product can be produced to meet the curriculum and design requirements.