SAP R/3 CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT FOR UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE ACCOUNTING
INFORMATION SYSTEMS TRACKS
Date of Presentation: August 3, 1999, Denver, Colorado, Accounting Information Systems Educator Conference 1999.
Paul Sheldon Foote, California State University, Fullerton
More than 350 universities in 35 countries have joined SAPs University Alliance Program. Of these universities, more than 70 universities are in the United States of America. For links to the Web sites of some of the American universities, see: http://www.auburn.edu/sap
SAP makes generous annual grants of up to $100,000 to universities for submitting the best curriculum development proposal. Many accounting and business school faculty members are proposing tracks of undergraduate and of graduate courses built around the implementation of SAP R/3. The focus of this study is upon the development of such tracks at some of the universities participating in SAPs University Alliance Program. In particular, if accounting professors have the opportunity to create accounting information systems (AIS) tracks of approximately 6 courses each at the undergraduate and at the graduate levels, then: (1) What should those courses be? (2) Which books are available? (3) In addition to SAP R/3 basis, which additional software could be used? (4) Assuming that your undergraduate students want to go on to graduate studies at your university, how would you create significantly different graduate accounting information systems courses?
Current AIS Curricula
California State University, Chico
As a founding member of the University Alliance program, CSU, Chico has a large number of professors who have been using SAP R/3 in their courses for several years.
CSU, Chico and Central Michigan University offer hands-on workshops for faculty members from other universities who want to learn how to integrate SAP R/3 into their programs. Dr. Paul Krauses Accounting 111 (Accounting Information Systems) course used in Spring 1999 these required materials: (1) Anita Hollander, J. Owen Cherrington, and Eric L. Dennas Accounting, Information Technology, and Business Solutions, Wiley (2) Alvin A. Arens and D. Dewey Wards Systems Understanding Aid, Armand Dalton Publishing (3) SAP R/3 materials provided with the system. Dr. Krauses projects and assignments included: (1) Systems Understanding Aid (2) SAP exercises (3) Microsoft Access database (not a database used by SAP R/3) (4) oral presentations of the AICPAs latest Top 10 list of information technology issues most important to Certified Public Accountants.http://www.csuchico.edu/acms/syllabi/SYL-ACCT111-01.htm http://www.aicpa.org
Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University has developed a wide array of SAP R/3 offerings, including: (1) Web courses (2) Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) (3) Certificate in Business Computing (4) other business courses with SAP R/3 content. The required courses for the MSIS program are: (1) Systems Analysis and Design (2) Decision Support Systems (3) Information Resources Management (4) Essential of Transaction Processing Systems (5) Essentials of Database Management. From there, MSIS can choose enterprise software emphasis courses or custom developed software emphasis courses. The enterprise software emphasis courses are: (1) Introduction to SAP R/3 Enterprise Software (2) Systems Analysis and Design with Accelerated SAP Component (3) Essentials of Transaction Processing Systems (4) Essentials of Database Management with Oracle DBMS (5) ABAP/4 Programming for SAP R/3 (6) SAP R/3 Configuration and Implementation. The custom developed software emphasis courses are: (1) Management Information Systems (2) Systems Analysis and Design (3) Essentials of Transaction Processing (4) Essentials of Database Management (5) Decision Support for Management (6) Business Systems Applications.http://sap.mis.cmich.edu http://sap.mis.cmich.edu/msis.htm http://sap.mis.cmich.edu/certificate.htm http://sap.mis.cmich.edu/sap.intro/courses.htm
Outside the MSIS program is ACC 530S Accounting Information Systems and Controls, taught by Randall B. Hayes and Robert G. Bromley. During Spring 1999, Professor Hayes used J.W. Wilkinson and M.J. Cerullos Accounting Information Systems: Essential Concepts and Applications, Wiley, and the Web course materials covered in a later Web Courses section of this paper.http://acc.cba.cmich.edu/99W530SRH.html
Future AIS Curricula
The following proposed courses for undergraduate and graduate AIS tracks are arranged in the chapter sequence used in one AIS textbook [Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram (1999)].
Intelligent Systems for Aiding Decision Making (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapter 2)
Strategic planning plays an important role in managerial demand for better information systems.
Strategic Enterprise Management
SAP has launched a major initiative called Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM). For SAP Banking, PricewaterhouseCoopers is developing specialized components for the banking industry.
The Management Cockpit is a registered trademark of SAP AG, delivered by N.E.T. Research of Brussels, Belgium. Its purpose is to use SAP R/3 to support a Business Information Room or Strategic Management Room.
Intelligent Information Systems
There are large literatures available for artificial intelligence, neural networks, genetic algorithms, and for automatic forecasting and control systems.
Documenting Information Systems (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapter 3)
Traditional AIS textbooks cover data flow diagrams, system flowcharts, and entity-relationship diagrams. Such coverage could be enriched by including SAPs Iterative Process Prototyping (IPP) [Keller and Teufel (1998)].
Database Management Systems (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapter 4)
Traditional AIS textbooks contain elementary coverage of: transaction processing, file management, logical and physical database models, normalization, and how to select and implement a DBMS.
Database Management Systems
A complete overview course could be included in an AIS track [Connolly and Begg (1998)].
Relational Databases and SQL (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapter 5)
Traditional AIS coverage includes: entity-relationship modeling, mapping E-R diagrams to a relational DBMS, and elementary coverage of SQL.
One or more SQL courses would provide students with a real understanding of DBMS. Groff and Weinberg (1999) include trial versions of: Microsoft SQL Server 7, Oracle 8, Informix, Sybase, and of IBM DB2.
Microsoft SQL Server
Pandesic LLC uses Microsoft Windows NT and Microsoft SQL Server for its SAP R/3 systems. Microsoft Corporation (1999a and b) publishes training kits with 120-day trial versions of Microsoft SQL Server 7. This material prepares students for Microsoft certification examinations. Examples of other advanced materials would include Delaney (1999), Otey and Conte (1998), and Spenik (1999).
Data Warehouses, Data Mining, and OLAP
Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram mentioned briefly data warehouses, data mining, and data marts. This is inadequate, especially given the importance they attached to strategic planning in Chapter 2. Accountants need to have a thorough understanding of the differences between SQL, data warehouses, and of OLAP in managing data. Some of the key books in these fields are Kimball (1996 and 1998) and Thomsen (1997 and 1999).
SAP does not include its Business Information Warehouse (BW) with SAP R/3 for University Alliance members. University Alliance members must submit special proposals to SAP justifying how they will use BW.
Electronic Commerce (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapter 6)
Currently, there is cursory coverage of: online transaction entry (OLTE), online real-time (OLRT) processing, online transaction processing (OLTP), digital image processing, communication networks, electronic document management, electronic data interchange (EDI), and Internet commerce.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and an accounting professor have published course materials useful for a course in Web Commerce [Graves and Justice (1997), Greenstein and Feinman (1999)].
Pandesic LLC, owned jointly by SAP and by Intel, has technical white papers available for use by AIS professors on their approach to E-business. For Web commerce clients, Pandesic develops systems using Microsoft Windows NT Server and SQL Server with SAP R/3. Their Internet Information Server uses Microsofts Active Server Pages (ASP) and Site Server Commerce Edition, explained in Micro Modeling Associates (1999). Pandesic created proprietary Component Object Model (COM) Objects and BAPIs for their system. Pandesic selected the following additional software to work with their system: CyberCash Secure Merchant Payment System (SMPS), Taxware, TanData Progistics CS shipping management software, automatic vendor payments via the Citibank Worldlink service, a Pandesic mail interface using the SMTP mail protocol, and a warehouse interface supporting barcode technology.
Client/Server Systems, Data Communications, Telecommunications, Networks, Intranets, and Internets
Current AIS textbooks provide little coverage of these subjects. Buck-Emden and Galimow (1996) could be a foundation for this course. There are more than 1,000 books available for these subjects. The AICPA has published guides on intranets [Graves and Justice (1997)] and on the Internet [Graves and Torrence (1998)].
Document Image Processing and Archiving
SAP owns part of iXOS Software, a company whose software manages archiving. The AICPA has published a guide on the CPAs role in this area [Graves, Justice, and Cataldo (1998)]. Companies using these systems keep paper trails for very short periods of time. Accountants must understand these systems.http://www.ixos.com/us
Controlling Information Systems (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapters 7 9)
The traditional allocation of 3 chapters in an AIS textbook to information systems control and audit has meant better coverage of this topic than for most other topics in AIS textbooks.
Information Systems Control and Audit
Some universities have a separate course already based upon Weber (1999).
There are many books related to encryption systems, including an AICPA guide [Graves and Torrence (1998)].
C.F.E. certification is available for students who master the literature on fraud examination (Wells, 1997 and 1998).
There could be advanced courses in security for SAP R/3 systems [Davis (1996), Parker (1998), Brenton (1998)], internet surveillance [Escamilla (1998), Amoroso (1999)], and firewalls [Goncalves (1998), Goncalves and Brown (1999)]. Additional resources are available from the International Computer Security Association (formerly the National Computer Security Association).
AIS Applications (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapters 10 14)
Detailed coverage of AIS functions and of processing cycles has been the most important part of AIS textbooks. The 5 chapters in Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram are: order entry/sales system, billing/accounts receivable/cash receipts system, purchasing/accounts payable/cash disbursements system, integrated production systems, and general ledger/financial reporting systems. In highly-integrated ERP systems, it has become more difficult to isolate AIS. AIS professors need to expand the scope of their courses to cover ERP Information Systems. Some SAP R/3 supplements or replacements in introductory AIS courses could be Keller and Teufel (1998) and Rockefeller (1998).
Systems Development (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapter 15)
The most important part of this chapter was on business process reengineering. SAP advocates that companies improve their processes before implementing SAP R/3.
Business Process Modeling
SAPs approach is based upon the Professor August-Wilhelm Scheers books on the Architecture of Integrated Information Systems [Scheer (1999)].
Professor Scheers approach makes full use of the Unified Modeling Language (UML), the current standard in software engineering for documenting software designs [Booch, Jacobson, and Rumbaugh (1998)]. Yet, traditional AIS textbooks stopped evolving at the point of entity relationship models. There is even an annual conference and trade show, UML World
Structured Systems Analysis (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapter 16)
Systems Selection and Systems Design (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapter 17)
Systems Implementation and Operation (Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram, Chapter 18)
Gelinas, Sutton, and Oram discussed parallel, direct, and modular approaches to system implementation. There was a cursory review of systems maintenance.
Systems Implementation Using ASAP
SAP uses an implementation approach called ASAP (Accelerated SAP). There is enough published material to support part or all of a separate course, such as: Miller (1998). SAP R/3 includes the R/3 Business Engineer, a configuration and implementation tool. It would be possible to develop one or more rigorous courses built around the use of this tool.
Competition from other Programs and Departments
At California State University, Fullerton, Management Information Systems is part of the Management Science Department. While that department is seeking approval of new courses using SAP R/3, such as a system administration course, there is no assurance that there will be enough faculty members to teach the new courses. The only option might be to cross-list courses with the Department of Accounting. California State University, Chico had the advantage of the core functional areas of SAP R/3 being covered by professors in the same department.
Within CSUFs Department of Accounting, some professors are proposing new tracks not using SAP R/3.
CSUFs administration has been promoting the creation of honors programs at the departmental level. In CSUFs Department of Accounting, those faculty members most interested in teaching in an honors program are not the same faculty members who want to teach using SAP R/3. This competition between programs will strain scarce resources even more and mean difficult program choices for students to make.
The 150-hour Education Requirement for CPA Certification and Licensure
"In January 1988, the general membership of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) voted to require all new members after the year 2000 to have completed 150 semester hours of college education." http://aicpa.org/members/div/career/150bkg.htm
While most states have enacted legislation or have published regulations requiring 150 hours of education, the effective dates in many states are after the year 2000.http://aicpa.org/states/uaa/150chart.htm
The AICPA and NASBA endorsed general guidelines. One of four conditions apply depending upon the level of accreditation of an institution (from accredited educational institution to an accredited accounting program or department). Some of the conditions include the requirement of " at least 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level or 15 semester hours at the graduate level, including courses covering the subjects of financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management accounting."http://aicpa.org/states/uaa/150hour.htm
While the 150-hour education requirement provides an opportunity for the development of an advanced sequence of accounting information systems courses, such courses are not even mentioned in the guidelines. Auburn University, a member of the SAP University Alliance and a university offering a 150-hour program, offers these concentrations in its Master of Accountancy (Mac) program: (1) taxation (2) financial/auditing (3) accounting information systems. In the 45 quarter hour requirement for the accounting information systems concentration, there is only one accounting information systems course: ACCT 0615 Advanced Accounting Information Systems. The other required accounting courses are: (1) Advanced Accounting Theory or Governmental and Advanced Accounting Topics (2) Advanced Income Tax Accounting (3) Advanced Auditing (4) Advanced Managerial Accounting. The remaining required course is MNGT 583 Advanced Data Base Management. Two electives are available from a list of non-accounting courses: (1) MNGT 0602 Management of Business Data Communications and Networks (2) MNGT 0666 Information Systems Analysis and Design (3) MNGT 0683 Advanced Data Base Management Systems (4) MNGT 0687 Expert Systems for Business (5) MNGT 0689 Information Resource Management.http://www.auburn.edu/business/accountancy/graduate.html
The University of Missouri-Columbias integrated BSAcc/Macc program uses its 30 hours of graduate level education for: (1) Economics (3 hours) (2) Business Law elective (3 hours) (3) other Business electives (9 hours) (4) Auditing (3 hours) (5) Accounting Policy/Professionalism (3 hours) (6) Accounting electives (9 hours).http://bpa.missouri.edu/AboutBPA/Academic/Acct/150hr4.htm
SAP is planning to start summer "boot camps" for students who have completed SAP R/3 tracks at University Alliance member universities. After boot camps lasting a month or longer, students will be able to take certification examinations.
Microsoft Corporation publishes training kits, including CDs with lab exercises and a 120-day trial version of SQL Server 7.0. Examples of
National Model Curricula
Some major associations have developed or are developing model curricula for undergraduate and graduate courses. SAPs University Alliance members or members of this association might be interested in developing model curricula for AIS using SAP R/3. Examples of model curricula closely related to AIS are the model curricula of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). Profssor Ulrich J. Gelinas was a member of the advisory board for the task force that prepared the model curricula.http://www.isaca.org/modelc1.htm
SAP R/3 Training for Faculty and for Technical Staff
Current SAP contracts with universities give universities the choice of 75, 105, or of 145 training days per year for the faculty from all departments and for the technical staff.
Hiring, Retention, Tenure, and Promotion of AIS Professors
AIS remains a risky area for untenured faculty members. Yet, new faculty members would be the ideal candidates to invest in the development of new AIS curricula.
Faculty Exchange Programs
German professors have had many years of experience with SAP R/3. Many of them would like to teach at American universities while American SAP R/3 professors teach at German universities.
Extended Education, Seminar, and Training Opportunities
There are some opportunities for professors to carve niches in the seminar market. SAP offers a large training schedule. You may see the latest SAP training schedule at:http://www.sap.com/usa
Professors may not attend the SAP training and then start seminars using SAPs training manuals. Instead, professors need to develop advanced areas of expertise to satisfy the demands of the seminar market.
A leader in this market is CBT Systems, with headquarters in Redwood City, California and offices throughout the world. CBT Systems offers just-in-time, interactive, computer-based training on SAP R/3. Corporate clients can distribute the courses via InfoDB, corporate intranet, WAN, LAN, or CD-ROM.
Many universities have expanded their extended education programs using independent companies to teach short SAP R/3 courses. AIS professors need to develop their own short courses.
Some SAP R/3 professors have started to develop and promote Web courses built around SAP R/3. An example of this use of the Web for the delivery of an extended education course is Professor Roger Hayens SAP Enterprise Software courses: BIS 497S and BIS 647. Central Michigan Universitys College of Extended Learning registers students for this course. Professor Hayen included in the course some Lotus ScreenCam demonstrations of SAP R/3 and some sound files. Students who register for the course receive a user ID and password. With the ID and password, students are able to access: (a) lessons (b) SAP R/3 Online Help (c) Web-based SAP GUI (d) exercises. The undergraduate and graduate courses use the same textbooks. In addition to examinations, Professor Hayen evaluates discussion Web posting participation and summaries. The only difference between the undergraduate and graduate courses is that Professor Hayen requires a term project worth 20% of possible points in the course. For the term project, graduate students write abstracts of 10 research publications on enterprise software.
You may view, without charge, lessons 1 and 4, at:http://sap.mis.cmich.edu/sap-esoft99.htm
Conclusions and Suggestions for Future AIS Curriculum Development using SAP R/3
At many universities, there is only one course on Accounting Information Systems. Many AIS professors have accepted the constraint of the single course and of the cursory coverage of many important topics. Many software firms have blundered by refusing to start university alliance programs. As a result, many AIS professors have limited themselves to software they could obtain easily or that was already in the universitys computer labs (Microsoft Excel and Access, Peachtree, Great Plains). SAP has broken the goldfish bowl. AIS professors at more than 70 American universities have learned that they can expand the scopes of their courses to ERP systems. AIS professors should be creating undergraduate and graduate tracks to cover the topics over approximately 6 courses, not over 1 course. Through this association or through SAPs University Alliance program, AIS professors should develop model curricula for undergraduate and graduate AIS programs using SAP R/3.
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Through August 1999:Professor of Accounting, California State University, Fullerton, PO Box 6848, Fullerton, CA 92834-6848, (714) 278-2682 office, (714) 278-4518 fax
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