The Colorado Group
preface
 
In recent years accounting education has seen numerous efforts to change the way accounting is taught. These efforts reflect the demands of an ever-changing business world, opportunities created by new instruc-tional technologies, and an increased understanding of how students learn. In this Australasian adaptation of the market leading texts, Financial Accounting, Accounting Principles and Managerial Accounting we have drawn from what we believe to be the most promising innovations in accounting instruction. Our efforts were driven by a few key beliefs.

Our instructional objective is to provide students with an understanding of those concepts that are fun-damental to the preparation and use of accounting information. Most students will forget procedural details within a short period of time. On the other hand, concepts, if well taught, should be remembered for a life-time. Concepts are especially important in a world where the details are constantly changing.

Students learn best when they are actively engaged. The overriding pedagogical objective of this book is to provide students with continual opportunities for active learning. One of the best tools for active learning is strategically placed questions. Our discussions are framed by questions, often beginning with rhetorical ques-tions and ending with review questions. Even our analytical devices, called Decision Toolkits, use key ques-tions to demonstrate the purpose of each.

Students will be the most willing to commit time and energy to a topic when they believe that it is relevant to their future career. There is no better way to demonstrate relevance than to ground discussion in the real world. Consistent with this, we adopted a macro-approach - starting in chapter 1, students are shown how to use financial statements of real companies. By using high-profile companies such as Colorado, Qantas, Woolworths and Telstra to frame our discussion of accounting issues, we demonstrate the relevance of accounting while teaching students about companies with which they have daily contact. As they become acquainted with the financial successes and fluctuations of these companies, many students will begin to follow business news more closely, making their learning a dynamic, ongoing process. We also discuss small companies to highlight the challenges faced by small companies as they try to grow big.

All business people must make decisions. Decision making involves critical evaluations and analysis of the information at hand, and this takes practice. We have integrated important analytical tools throughout the book. After each new decision tool is presented, we summarise the key features of that tool in a Decision Toolkit. At the end of each chapter we provide a comprehensive demonstration of an analysis of a real com-pany using the decision tools presented in the chapter. The presentation of these tools throughout the book is logically sequenced to take full advantage of the tools presented in earlier chapters.

Rapid improvements in both information technology and transport are resulting in a single global economy. The Internet has made it possible for even small businesses to sell their products virtually anywhere in the world. Few business decisions can be made without consideration of international factors. To heighten stu-dent awareness of international issues, we have included references to international companies and issues and have incorporated internationally focused end-of-chapter problems in the Building Business Skills section.