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Accountancy Professors Win National Innovation in Auditing Assurance Education Award

February 11, 2003

WALTHAM, Mass. - While experts are seeking answers to recent auditing fiascoes at Enron and Tyco, three Accountancy professors at Bentley College have brought a high-level IT tool into the mainstream of the classroom to educate and better prepare the accountants of tomorrow.

Professors Joe Gelinas, Elliott Levy and Jay Thibodeau are winners of the inaugural Innovation in Auditing Assurance Education Award given by the American Accounting Association. The purpose of the award is to "encourage innovation and improvement in auditing and assurance education."

The professors wrote a three-part case study designed to introduce students to Computer Assisted Auditing Techniques (CAATs). Using ACL - the most common audit software in the marketplace - the case focused on Norwood Office Supplies, Inc. Their case was judged to be unique because it integrated the auditing course's learning objectives with critical technology objectives. Students are able to better master content - in this case, financial statement auditing - by using the application in completing the case. Students used ACL to detect inaccurate data and potentially fraudulent or erroneous financial statements.

"We focused on learning objectives first and the technology integration followed that," said Gelinas. "What is important to me is that the success of this approach has been validated."

A recent report from The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (1999) stated that accountants must be able to "utilize and leverage technology in ways that add value" in today's economy. This competency requires that accountants be aware of the latest advances in technology in order improve their overall performance. By bringing the software to the forefront of the curriculum, each Accountancy and Accounting Information Systems major - undergraduate and graduate - at Bentley is getting much-needed exposure.

"This award made me realize how fortunate I am to be working at a cutting edge institution that is truly interested in curricular innovation," said Thibodeau.

As the professors' results demonstrated, the response to this teaching case has been extremely positive. Seventy-two percent of the students strongly agreed or agreed that the use of the software supplemented their understanding of risk and auditing procedures.

"Winning the first Audit section award means a great deal," added Levy. "National recognition by a peer group is among the highest honors an academic can receive."

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit

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