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ICAEW films – case study (university)

Richard Cartwright, Principal Teaching Fellow in Accounting at the University of Southampton’s Business School explains how he is using ICAEW films to support his students.

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False Assurance and Without Question opens students’ eyes to what the world of accounting looks like and the decisions and test of character that may face them in their future careers. 

Who has participated in your sessions?

I’ve used False Assurance and Without Question with a range of students. With first-year students, I find the films really help to demonstrate what accounting and auditing looks like. With Masters students, I use the films as the basis on which to prepare detailed case study analysis of the events in the films for their coursework.

How many students have you used ICAEW films with?

Hundreds of students each year use this resource at the university. For the most part this has been outside of the classroom with the students using the films as a resource for either formative or summative coursework. However, I use them extensively with my third year audit students in classroom discussion to address topics such as ethics and integrity as well as audit failure.

How do you structure sessions using ICAEW films?

I have found that for students who have not experienced accounting auditing in the workplace, its usually best to let them watch the film in their own time before you bring it into the classroom. This allows them time to research terminology and the various roles of the characters before they are expected to discuss what has happened in the film. Aligning use of the films to either a piece of coursework or a question and examination really helps to get buy in from the students.

What works well?

Because accounting is a practice, students don’t get to see and feel what it looks like to be an accountant, ICAEW films allow students to contextualise the theory they study. They help them to respond to questions by using examples from the films. They also provide an interesting topic of conversation for students to use in their placement or graduate interviews with professional services firms – many of which have also adopted the films for the training of their staff.

What has been the feedback?

Initially, students show concern with the complexity of the scenarios within the films, but if you give them sufficient time and support to help them through this then the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.