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ACCOUNTING - 2ND EDITION

Author(s):Michael Jones
Reviewer:Anne Ullathorne
Publisher:Wiley
Price:£34.99
ISBN:0-470-01779-1
Topic:Fin Accounting
Type:text
Publication Date:01/03/06
Review Date:03/07/06
Jones 2nd ed cover
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Summary of book details:


TITLE: Accounting, 2nd Edition 2006

AUTHOR: Michael Jones
PUBLISHER: John WIley & Sons
ISBN: 0-470-01779-1

PRICE: £34.99


SUITABLE FOR:
Introductory courses in (UK based) financial accounting, management accounting and financial management on non-specialist programmes.

Review

The first edition of Michael Jones’s Accounting textbook has been well received, by teachers and students alike, for its unique blend of clear exposition, relevant up-to -date examples and quotations, and zany cartoon comment. Changes to the second edition are that it is no longer titled ‘for non-specialists’, acknowledging that it can be used as a basic primer for students on a variety of accounting and finance courses, and secondly, the type face used is rather larger and consequently easier to read which may help some students, including those for whom English is a second language. It does however make the book into a rather weighty tome (see note at the end for publisher plans to also release versions of the book in two parts) and the two-page introduction to each chapter is almost comic-like – attractive to younger students but lacking the gravitas you may wish for with post-graduate students. The book has also been updated to reflect developments in the accounting environment and, in particular, to use International Accounting Standards where appropriate, and to use the terminology and layouts of financial statements required by IAS1 and 7. This gives the book a more international feel and would be suitable for students of any nationality, although the real-life examples that are given are from UK companies.

Syllabus
The text is divided into three main sections: Financial Accounting –Techniques; Financial Accounting – Context; and Management Accounting.

The first section covers the fundamentals solidly – there is a separate section within chapter 3, on double-entry techniques, which is clear and detailed and which may be omitted if required but alternatively the whole chapter is a good reference for any student wanting to master this technique. There are plenty of end of chapter questions provided throughout. Chapter 5 on the balance sheet helpfully includes the traditional English words used alongside the terminology required by the international accounting standards. I was a little surprised at a horizontal balance sheet being included as Appendix 5.1 but on reflection this may have relevance for non-British students. Year end-adjustments are discussed, including the allocation of depreciation charges but this was explained in a fairly functional manner and with little conceptual investigation. However, the chapters on preparing financial statements are clear and contain plenty of questions for students to work, as is the chapter on interpretation of accounts.

The middle section of this text, entitled ‘Financial Accounting- the context’, contains additional material not always found in introductory texts of this type. Conceptual and regulatory frameworks are considered, including issues of measurement and valuation and developments in corporate governance. The role and function of the published annual report is explored with reference to the author’s own research and there are chapters on creative accounting and international comparison. The inclusion of this section is extremely helpful in exploring financial reporting with students from a variety of backgrounds or, in those courses which must focus on the techniques, enabling students to self-study and understand the accounting environment in more depth.

Management accounting is the focus of the final section of the book including costing (absorption and activity based costing, budgeting and variance analysis) and decision –making ( contribution analysis, strategic management accounting, investment appraisal and analysis of sources of internal and external finance). Each section is briefly but competently introduced and there are plenty of exercises to work through. The author draws attention to the improvements to Chapter 17 on ‘Planning, control and performance’, aimed to counteract criticism of the previous book that the topic of performance evaluation was missing. The additional material is minor and students wishing to investigate this area further would be advised to read elsewhere. In my opinion this is quite fair, as no one accounting textbook will be able to cover all the aspects that may be included in an introductory course and perhaps as teachers, we should ensure that our students are aware that we can only scratch the surface of a number of different issues in accounting.

Additional materials
This book is published by Wiley and has an easily navigated website to support it. Students have access to multiple-choice quizzes for each chapter and additional questions together with solutions. The Wiley Instructor Resources include Powerpoint slides, a solutions manual for the end-of-chapter questions and an additional test bank. Tutors adopting this text can also make use of the WileyPlus course management system. The text itself concludes with a 28 page glossary, which is useful for home students as well as those from overseas, and this is also available as a pdf file on the website. Also at the end of the book is a 60 page solution guide to about fifty per cent of both the numeric and discursive questions that have been set following each chapter.

Criticisms
The attempt to make the book more exciting and interesting to students has meant the inclusion of additional information so that not only are there figures included in the text but also there are brightly highlighted text-boxes entitled ‘pause for thought’, ’real-life nuggetts’, company camera’, ‘soundbite’, as well as ‘definition’, and ‘helpnote’. I found these to be just a bit too much so that they became mildly irritating and even confusing rather than enlightening. The cartoons were amusing but I was disappointed at the emphasis on fudging the figures and making up profits as many younger students will accept that as the norm anyway. There is some confusion around page 29 mixing up balance sheets and income statements, and I hope that the third edition will correct the translation of ‘credo’ (on page 55) to ‘I believe or trust (that I will be paid)’ and not ‘I make a loan’ . Otherwise I think we will be interpreting the creed (or credo) in some Christian denominations as a charter for bankers!!

On balance
Overall this is a useful text to adopt on introductory courses of all sorts and would also be good as an additional text for further study, or for student’s self-study as it is easy to follow through. In my opinion, the author is to be congratulated on making, what may be considered by many students to be a dry and boring subject, much more relevant, interesting and understandable. And after all, if our students get to understand, that is what we are all aiming for .


Reviewed for AccountingEducation.com by Anne Ullathorne - University of Birmingham, UK
(review published - June 2006)

Note: We understand from the publishers that there are plans to make this text available (by September 2006) in two halves to provide lecturers who only wish to make use of one half the choice of having only the financial accounting or management accounting part.
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bit10 ltd.