T Nation


I could really use some help, I’m attending college and today I started a public speech class. I was just assigned an informative essay to deliver in front of the class on either accounting or computer science…problem is, I know absolutley Dick about either or, and I can’t find anything usefull on the net. Everyone is selling somethin or recruiting for school under any and every website I punch up. Does anybody know of a link or have some information that may be of use to me? It’s a 1500 word informative essay due in 9 days, I figure, at best, I’m fucked.

Sorry man, can’t help. However, let me be the first to officially consider you fu–ed.

Accounting is based on the notion of “double entry bookkeeping.” Thus for every transaction you make two entries in your books. These entries are equal and opposite too each other. In accounting you have debit and credit transactions (they are similar to plus and minus concepts but not quite). Transitions are classed into classes i.e. expenses, revenue, assets, liabilities. Transactions are recorded in specific manners i.e. general journal, specific journal. Information is reported using balance sheet and profit and loss statements. Got to the library and get a basic accounting textbook. Define these concepts. Use or create a set of transactions to illustrate these concepts with slides or overheads. You will get to 1500 words easy. I do not think that you will have to get into much more detail than what is above since the talk is for a general (i.e. not accounting) class. You will have to get someone else to help you with computer science.

What is the question that you have to answer? If it is to just illustrate the accounting process this is what I would do.
First define what accounting is i.e. the element are interpreting, measuring and describing economic activity. Define why each element is important. Use the accounting process below to illustrate each element i.e. 1. Is interpreting 2.3.4. Are measuring 5.6. Are describing economic activity.
Second show the flow of information from the transaction to the end user.
1.Analyse transactions
2.Record data in journal
3.Post to ledger accounts
4.Prepare trial balance
5.Prepare profit and loss statement
6.Prepare Balance sheet (for end user i.e. owner or possible owner e.g. stock analyst)
Along the way illustrate the relevant concepts when they are encountered. These are a rough list:
1.Double entry bookkeeping
2.Debit credit
3.Assets, liabilities, owners equity, revenue, expenses
4.Any other concepts or terms that arise (from 1. to 6.)
Finally summarize why accounting is important and how the accounting process meets these needs.
If it is for a public speaking course they will care about how you talk not what you talk about. I would use slides or overheads of a set of transaction to help your talk. So use an example to explain the above.

Tyke are you the Big Tyke who is "(a) accountant major at the University of South Florida. I know I know…but somebodys got to do it. If so I don’t know of how much help I could be.

He wasn’t specific really, that’s why I’m freakin out. He said to choose the topic and gather information on it. Info being: examples, statistics, stories, 5yrs deep into the past and an assumption as to where the topic may be in 5 yrs. We’re to go over our info monday. As you said, It’s more how i say it than what i say. The problem is, i got nothin to say. And yes that’s me, I’m leaning the way of accounting but I’m only 2 terms deep into business so I haven’t made up my mind on anything quite yet. i appreciate the help elliot, really i do. If you have anything else for me I’ll gladly soak it up. thanks.

Tyke, you said the prof wasn’t too specific but wanted stats, stories, etc. One way to make the speech a bit more entertaining for the class (and you)would be to throw in some anecdotes regarding the recent Enron, Worldcom, etc. scandals. The accountants there cooked those books so much it’s unbelievable. I know you only have 1,500 words to work with, but you could probably fit something like that in. That’s the funny thing about accounting, you can make those numbers come out any way you want them to.

Maybe you should just wander over to the accounting department and knock on a professor’s door. Explain what you’re doing and I’m sure they could point you to a few resources. I’m sure you could find one that’s happy to talk to you about it. Just present it like you were the one who came up with the idea (to do it on accounting) because you’re interested in it. I’m sure a prof would love to talk to a student who’s actually interested in the topic, rather than dealing with what they probably do everyday: some punk bitching about his grade. Good luck!

Hey Tyke,

If you want to do an essay on a computer topic that is easy to understand I have a web site for you. The information is broken down into very small (1 page) chunks so that you can customize it to be as short or as long as you need it to be.

The place is called StorageReview.com, then at the top click on “Reference” and you have the start of an explanation of how computer storage (hard disk drives) works and what the different types of devices do.

Hope this helps you and good luck.


Do the drills, get the skills.

As I understand it your teacher wants you to talk more about the accounting industry in general as opposed to the accounting process. If your teacher said ?(go) 5yrs deep into the past and as assumption as to where the topic may be in 5yrs? then I would make this the core of your talk. But make sure that this is the main question your teacher wants you to answer (i.e. ask them specifically). My general theme would be that in the last 5 years the accounting industry became more and more adventurous and liberal. But after Enron, World.com etc in the next 5 years the accounting industry will become much more conservative, either by choice or by regulation. As I recall (I could be wrong) the two main problems that came out of Enron and World.com were that the same firm was accountant, auditor and consultant and the misclassification of transactions. In the case of Enron, Andersen was account and auditor but it also was a consultant on business and management matters and this was very lucrative. In this case there was a conflict of interest as Andersen as auditor had no incentive to call attention to accounting problems as Andersen as consultant was making so much money. With World.com transactions were misplaced. I think (once again I could be wrong) in the case of World.com liabilities were classed as owner?s equity. Because liabilities and owner?s equity both have a credit nature the books balanced (i.e. trial balanced worked). But the value of the company was overstated (i.e. balance sheet was wrong). In the future there will be a push to independent auditors. This will be either voluntary e.g. I think (once again I could be wrong) Andersen has sold or separated its consultant arm. Or regulated by governments. A great anecdote if you can find it would be the recruiting ads Andersen ran before Enron. The print edition of Forbes ?World?s Richest People 2002? had the ad and an editorial on it. The ad is a graduate recruitment ad. In it they state that they are looking for creative people, people who can think outside the square, people who are not constrained by tradition thought etc. It would be great to show how liberal accounting was in the recent past. I have the magazine somewhere and will try and find it. But don?t hold your breath as I might have thrown it out. If you talk can be on the accounting industry as opposed to the accounting process (i.e. the techniques) it will be a much more interesting talk.

You can’t find anything on the Internet because it’s crap for research.

How did your talk go?