Higher Education

Balancing AI Usage & Fundamental Understanding in Accounting Education

A short video clip explaining how to approach AI in accounting education

Hear from a professor of accounting on how she ensures that her students understand the fundamentals.


Sandra Frempong:

Well, with accounting, we’re between a rock and a hard place because we promote AI to simplify some of the bookkeeping work. And so when teaching, we’re imparting to our students how to incorporate AI to generate financial statements. But anybody can, I mean, you can use any software to spit out financial statement, but you have to understand what the numbers mean. Okay. You have to know, you have to know what the financial statements are and you have to be able to interpret them when you’re dealing with clients. These nurses are relying on this. So if students are relying too much on software and other AI tools to prepare financial statements, then they really, it’s not even about creativity, it’s about understanding, okay, you can do creative accounting, but that is not a joke. You heard a lot of people that have gone to jail.

So the way we emphasize the ethics in accounting in terms of the usage of software and generating financial information is look, when you talk about money, you’re getting to the heart of people here. Okay. So you cannot give misleading information. So if you don’t understand how to interpret the financial statement because you’ve been relying too much on using software, then there’s a problem. And so that’s some of the things that we’ve always had to contend with because one hand we’re saying, use QuickBooks, use ChatGPT, use this and use that. But then when it comes times to interpret the financial statement or explain to the client, then students don’t really understand how to accurately present the data and,-

Jenny Gordon:

Yeah, the fundamentals.

Sandra Frempong:

Yeah. The fundamentals of accounting. So that’s one disadvantage, that there’s tendency to rely too much on it. And so the way I’ve taught my courses is to actually have student present in financial. I actually have them create companies and then they will apply all the accounting concepts and methods and then present it at the end of the semester, okay, to explain how the concept will apply and be used within the units of the organization. So that way I know that they actually understand the concept, are not just relying on AI to design the work.