Accounting 4310 Acounting Information Systems
School of Accountancy
Georgia State University
Dr. A. Faye Borthick, Professor of Accountancy
Web site:

Spring 2017
1:00-2:15 TR 10013- CS 209
2:30-3:45 TR 12057- ALC 325
4:30-7:00 Tu 13560- ALC 312


Office, RCB 500: 404 413-7239; fax: 404 413-7203
Office hours: 11:30-12:30 pm TR and by appointment
Syllabus contents
Learning objectives and course map
Course schedule (Activities by class day)

Succeeding in the class

Prerequisites and resources
Prerequisites; iCollege, and email use; Course materials/software
Learning objectives and course map

The learning objectives for the course are to develop competence in accounting information systems (AIS) by learning to do the following:

The learning objectives are to apply critical thinking to support evidence-based analyses and recommendations to (1) Analyze data (spreadsheet, querying) for business insights; (2) Represent business processes; make process inferences; and (3) Evaluate internal control; remedy deficiencies.

The objectives form an integrated whole in that skill with each of the objectives (analyze data, represent processes, and evaluate internal control) enables better performance of the others. Critical thinking applies throughout. Because accountants' work and achieving learning objectives requires thriving in digital environments, you will develop expertise for that too.

Succeeding in the class

Skill development. Developing skills in accounting information systems does not leave room for missing classes and still being able to catch up to develop the required skills a day or so before an exam. Regular and daily practice is essential to develop the required skills. Your success in this course depends completely on how much you, the student, commit yourself to keeping up with assignments. A reasonable expectation in college is two to three hours of out-of-class work/study per classroom hour. Failing to attend class on a regular basis and to meet assignment deadlines will increase the level of difficulty of the course exponentially.

Mandatory attendance. Attendance is mandatory. Students who arrive late disrupt an ongoing class. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to contact a classmate to obtain missed information. In case of an ongoing problem (such as a personal crisis, job requirements, or illness) that will require time away from class for consecutive class sessions, the student should withdraw from the course and take it when circumstances allow fulfillment of the requirements.

Advice from former students. Students in earlier terms advise doing the following to succeed in the course:

  1. Come to every class prepared to participate by having completed the assigned activities. Avoid the temptation to procrastinate.
  2. Stay alert in class. Get every nuance about every learning activity. When you do not understand something, ask immediately.
  3. Forget texting and surfing in class. Every text or surf you do in class represents something you will miss that will bite you later.
  4. After class, redo the activities on your own to verify that you can do them without assistance. There is no assistance on exams.
  5. Study the syllabus, schedule, and all the pages linked to them because they give good guidance and answer many questions.
  6. Pay attention to the postings on the discussion board. Another student may have answered your question or offered a valuable hint.
  7. Participate fully in team work to learn to do everything on the project. Exam questions cover the whole project.

Participation. Participate in discussions in class, on the discussion board in Brightspace, and in team sessions by (1) asking and responding to questions, (2) commenting on the work being discussed, and (3) contributing to progress on the task. Seek out resources (Web and non-Web) that pertain to class topics and share them as appropriate during discussions (on the discussion board and in class and team sessions).

The discussion board is a way to continue class discussions between sessions. Discussion board postings could be directly related to readings/assignments or generally related to the area of AIS. The discussion board is a means for asking questions related to readings/assignments between class sessions. Preparing and responding to discussion board postings are ways to develop competence in AIS. For example, you might point the class to a Wall Street Journal article (or articles in other sources in the business press) relevant to the course and explain why it is relevant. You can respond to other's posts, asking questions about the things that puzzled you and clarifying things that seemed unclear.

Use of electronic devices in class--for class use only. Students are expected to refrain from using electronic devices (including the computers) except as it is an integral part of participating in class or completing assigned activities. Unauthorized use is distracting to other students. Students engaging in unauthorized use of electronic devices will be deemed to be in violation of the GSU Disruptive Student Policy, which may result in disciplinary action.

RCB Professionalism Expectations. Students are expected to abide by the RCB Professionalism Expectations in every aspect related to the course, in class sessions and between class sessions.

Academic honesty. Students are expected to abide by the GSU Student Code of Conduct including its Policy on Academic Honesty. Except as specifically authorized by the professor, giving or receiving help before, during, or after a quiz or an examination or providing or receiving assistance on work that should be one's own violates the policy.

Participation Assessment
Participation will be assessed according to the following rubric::
Kind of Participation
Grading level
Attends class sessions; pays attention in class; works on Acct 4310 activities as directed; contributes often to class activities (in class sessions and on the discussion board); helps other students master learning objectives

90 and above
Attends class sessions; pays attention in class; works on Acct 4310 activities as directed; contributes occasionally to class activities (in class sessions and/or on the discussion board).
Attends class sessions; pays attention in class; works on Acct 4310 activities as directed.
Engages in disruptive behaviors in class sessions, e.g., fails to participate in class activities, uses electronic devices in class sessions for non-Acct 4310 purposes, distracts other students from class activities, or fails to abide by any of the policies cited above.
Prerequisites and resources


  1. GPA of 2.5 and 45 semester hours
  2. CIS 2010 Introduction to Computer-Based Information Systems
  3. Acct 4210 Cost/Managerial Accounting
  4. Computer Skills Prerequisites. If you need more experience with desktop software, Georgia State offers Web-based training: login page. Handheld apps are available for the training from the login page.
Computer Skill Prerequisites (CSPs)
CSP 1: Basic Microcomputing Skills. Understand the PC and its components; turn on the PC; use command-oriented, windows-based, and LAN operating environments to accomplish tasks such as formatting floppy disks, creating and navigating through directories and subdirectories, creating and deleting files, copying and renaming files, using help screens, loading application software, exiting from application programs and operating environments in an orderly manner, and using appropriate measures to check for and prevent the spread of computer viruses.
CSP 2 and 3: Basic and Advanced Microcomputing Spreadsheet Skills. Load the spreadsheet software; create, organize, and navigate through spreadsheets; format the spreadsheet or a block of cells; enter and edit formulas, values, and text; copy, move, and protect cells; insert and delete columns and rows; save and retrieve files; and print spreadsheets; use financial, statistical, and mathematical functions such as totaling and averaging of rows and columns; create and print charts and graphs, create data tables, invoke existing macros, and use help screens.
CSP 6: Word Processing and Presentation Graphics Skills. For word processing: Load the word processing software; create, format, edit, and save documents; copy and move text; adjust margins, indents, and line space; adjust fonts and styles.

For presentation graphics: Load the presentation graphics software; choose and modify templates; choose and modify slide layouts; insert slides; modify slide, handout, and note masters; change color schemes; apply effects, animation, and multimedia to slides; run a slide show.

For both: Import tables, clip art, and graphs from other applications; use spell checking; load additional toolbars; use help screens.
CSP 7 and 8: Basic and Advanced Internet Usage. Create formatted *.html pages with tags including links within and between pages; publish pages to a web site; create image files and embed them in *.html pages.

iCollege, email, and Microsoft Access use

For a discussion board, the course relies on iCollege. For quiz and exam administration, grade reporting, and some content access, the course uses the iCollege learning management system. Email to you from the professor will be sent to your iCollege account or to your GSU student email address. If you want to read your mail at a different address, set mail forwarding from your iCollege and GSU student email account. If you need assistance getting access to GSU computers, seek help from the staff in the main computer lab (Aderhold lab lower level) or from the GSU Help Desk 404 413-4357.

Consistent with Georgia State policy, it is your responsibility to provide your own computer and Internet access. The text from the undergraduate catalog is:

7030.20 Information Technology Access and Skill Requirements

Access Requirements. Because information technology is an integral part of business decision making, courses in the Robinson College of Business frequently incorporate assignments that require computing skills. Consisten with university policy available at, the Robinson College requires students to be responsible for providing computer and Internet access for all RCB courses and programs.

Hardware and Software Requirements: Georgia State has standardized on the Microsoft Office Suite in the student computer labs. Students may consult the university's Office of Student Financial Aid for information about possible funding opportunities for computer and Internet access expenses.

Skill Requirements. Although students can expect to enhance their information technology skills as they work toward their degrees, the college expects all students to have certain basic skills before enrolling in any business course. These skills are defined as Basic Microcomputing Skills and are described below in the CSP 1 skills definition.

When courses require additional skills, these Computing Skill Prerequisites (CSPs) are listed by number in the catalog course descriptions.

Course resources

Text material: The course requires the following materials.

  1. Alexander, Michael. 2007. Microsoft Access 2007 Data Analysis. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-10485-9. This book is available in two forms:
    1. Paperback book
    2. Ebook in the GSU Library's ebook collection: Although viewing the ebook is free courtesy of the GSU Tech Fee, you must register to view ebooks. To register as a user:
      1. Select the Register link
      2. Register yourself
      3. Remember your password!
      4. Remember that on subsequent logins that your username is your full student email address.
  2. Web pages linked through the schedule page for the course. In addition to the Alexander book, the pages on this web site and the pages they link to on other sites constitute the textbok for the course.
  3. Because the Computer Skills Prerequisites (CSPs) for spreadsheet skills (CSPs 2-3) are prerequisites for the course, there is no required textbook for Excel. If a reference for Excel would be helpful, the following is a good choice: Walkenbach, John. 2013. Microsoft Excel 2013 Bible: The Comprehensive Tutorial Resource. Wiley. Paperback: ISBN 978-1-118-49036-5. Ebook: ISBN 978-1-118-49030-3.

Software: The course requires use of the following software.

  1. Microsoft Excel and Access for analyzing data. Data analysis assignments in the course require use of Microsoft Excel and Access. We use Excel because it is ubiquitous in accountants' work. We use Access because using it allows us to solve problems for which Excel is inadequate and develops expertise with relational database systems and querying them, skills that are fundamental to using audit software such as ACL and IDEA, enterprise systems such as SAP, Oracle, and J. D. Edwards, and analysis programs such as SAS, Argos, BusinessObjects, and AS/400 Query.
    1. Here are ways to acquire your own copies of Excel and Access as part of Microsoft Office:
      1. Login to the download site for Microsoft Suite for GSU Students. Access is not available in Office for Mac.
      2. Buy Office Professional from the University System of Georgia Software Resource and Services (USG SRS) at discounted prices, including media. You may have to scroll horizontally to see the menu.
      3. Buy Office Professional from Microsoft at discounted prices for download. Free trials are available from Microsoft.
    2. For help with Excel and Access, do one or more of the following:
      1. Look up Access topics, concepts, and commands in the textbook:
        Alexander, Michael. 2007. Microsoft Access 2007 Data Analysis. Wiley or ebook:
      2. Search the web for documentation on Excel and Access topics with, for example,,, Include the version number when searching,e.g., "Excel 2013 pivot tables".
      3. Post a question to the class discussion board.

  2. Microsoft Word for preparing documents. Microsoft Word or its equivalent will be used for preparing documents.

  3. Graphical program for preparing process diagrams. Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Visio or other graphical representation program is required for preparing business process diagrams. Excel is good enough for course purposes, but use Visio if you have access to it because it has more features, is easier to use, and is preferred by employers. USG SRS offers Visio too.

Accounting software: While businesses use many accounting applications, it is not possible to incorporate them all into one course. Because most accounting systems are based on a relational database system, this course gives you experience with a relational database system, as implemented in Microsoft Access, which accountants use in solving business problems. The course does not use accounting software such as QuickBooks, Peachtree, Microsoft GP, or other programs on PCs because the course is devoted to higher-level learning objectives. If you need to become familiar with one or more of these programs, download the vendor's free trial version to your computer and work through the tutorial and books of sample companies. After completing Acct 4310, you will be amazed at how quickly you will be able to master vendor-supplied accounting software.

Business press: A good habit to develop as a student is daily reading of the business press. The premier business publication for business people is The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). It is an invaluable source of current business news relevant to AIS. It will help you:

  1. Learn how business people think and act so you can learn to talk, write, and act like a business professional.
  2. Learn about information systems from two perspectives:
    1. Employing information technology to achieve organizational goals.
    2. Providing assurance that information systems do what they are supposed to do and nothing else.
  3. Convince potential employers that you have expertise in accounting, business, information systems, and the integration of accounting and systems.
  4. Learn to shop smarter for technology, financial, and other products.
  5. Explore industries and companies as a way to figure out what you want to do in your career.

To subscribe, go to the following link, fill in your details, enter "303" for the GSU ZIPcode, and select "BORTHICK" from the faculty list.

Subscriptions come in two forms: paper copies mailed or delivered to you and web access to WSJ Interactive. If early morning delivery is available to your address (and you want it), call 1-800-568-7625 to request it after your paper copies begin arriving. Have a mailing label available before you call.

Language: If you're feeling some language difficulty, e.g., because English is not your first language or because you are not used to college-level vocabulary, get in the habit of looking up every word you encounter that you are not absolutely certain about its meaning and usage. It is okay not to know a word or acronym. It is not okay to let the condition persist when you could look it up online. Understanding unfamiliar language is hard, but using online dictionaries will help build your vocabulary and fluency. You may use dictionaries (online or paper) during quizzes and exams.

If you encounter an unfamiliar word or term on an exam, look it up online, e.g., An 11,000-entry encyclopedia of computing definitions is available in TechEncyclopedia. An on-line dictionary is available at Merriam-Webster, which includes pronunciation.


Grading scale
Graded work
Exam 1: Analyze data: Credit score cutoff proposal
Exam 2: Business processes: 24-Seven part 1
Exam 3: Internal control: 24-Seven part 2
Team project: EatFresh
Exam 4: EatFresh
< 60
*The dates of quizzes will usually be noted in the schedule, but there may be unannounced quizzes. There will be no quiz make-ups at any time for any reason. The lowest two quiz scores will be dropped from the course grade computation. Practice questions, in iCollege, to prepare for quizzes and exams are labeled "practice" in the course schedule. Practice exercises are not included in the grade computation and can be answered as many times as you wish.

Last day to withdraw with a W: February 28, 2017.
Copyright © 2005-2017 A. Faye Borthick, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. All rights reserved. February 7, 2017