John Sylla : Courses and Seminars
Legal Elements of Accounting
This mini-course introduces accounting from a mixed law and business perspective. It covers basic concepts and vocabulary of accounting, not so much to instill proficiency with the mechanics of debits and credits as to serve as a foundation from which to understand financial statements. The course then examines accounting from a legal perspective, including consideration of common accounting decisions with potential legal ramifications. It also analyzes throughout the reasons for and roles of financial accounting and auditing, as well as the incentives of various persons involved in producing, regulating, and consuming financial accounting information. The course will touch on some limitations of, and divergent results possible under, generally accepted accounting principles, as well as detection of common accounting manipulation. Current cases, proposals, and controversies will be discussed. Class will meet for nine sessions, four days during week 1 (M-Th Jan 7-10, 2013) and five days during week 3 (M-F Jan 21-25, 2013), and completion earns one credit. Attendance and participation will be very important. Grades will be based on a take-home final examination and class participation. Students with substantial prior exposure to accounting (such as students with an MBA, joint MBA/JD students, and undergraduate finance or accounting majors) must seek instructor permission to take the course and will be graded based on a medium-length term paper. Students may audit but cannot earn credit for both this course and any other law school introductory accounting course.