It's Amazing What CPAs Can Do: How Technology Drives Entrepreneurship

The shift to online education in Spring 2020 had both positive and negative aspects (see, e.g., Michael Horn, “COVID-19’s Ultimate Impact on Online Learning: The Good and the Bad,” Campus Technology, April 2020, While there were some positive consequences for institutions that were already adept at online instruction, much of the rest of academia struggled, with both faculty and students unprepared, unhappy, and generally receiving less than adequate support from their institutions.

The good news is that many commercial vendors stepped up to offer free or low-cost education-tailored resources.

This month’s column reviews an outstanding example of academic accountants reaching out to help their colleagues, and includes information on some of the more popular remote learning tools. A longer list of technology resources that can be used for teaching and learning, as well as for business activities, will be available online (See below).

AAA Online Teaching Resources

The American Accounting Association (AAA) is a professional organization of accounting faculty at a wide range of institutions—from two-year colleges to graduate programs. The AAA encourages collaboration and networking among its members and with accounting practitioners through its website (, as well as with many meetings and publication opportunities to showcase research efforts and share teaching innovations. It is in that last regard that AAA members came together to help and support accounting instructors and students to successfully continue accounting courses in the virtual environment.

In addition to hosting two successful multi-day virtual conferences with more than 1,500 attendees during the summer, the AAA created an Online Teaching Resources web-page ( that is available to the general public. The online teaching resources include blogs by tech-savvy AAA members, tools to try, sample online accounting courses, coronavirus (COVID-19) publisher resources, prerecorded webinars and videos, and an FAQ section.

There are several other excellent blogs available, including the “Teaching and Learning Toolbox” (, which this column has covered in the past. Cathy Scott and Markus Ahrens offer a Tip of the Month with practical advice and links to new tools to try. “Are You Ready for Remote Learning?” from March 12, 2020 (, covers transition strategies, virtual creation and collaboration tools, and virtual office hours options. The “Zoom” discussion from April 7, 2020 ( is a must-see for anyone using Zoom, and includes a description of the application, steps to avoid “Zoom bombing,” and links to tutorials.

A few of the other blogs highlighted include “Accounting in the Headlines” by Wendy Tietz (, who is one of the sponsors for multiple collaborative 30-minute “how-to” webinars that can be accessed on the AAA web page or directly on the blog. The “Accounting is Analytics” blog ( offers several free case projects for introductory financial and managerial accounting courses that use Excel, Tableau, and other applications. “Accounting Teaching Tools” is Veronica Paz’s blog ( accounting-teaching-tools); it provides extensive tips, techniques, videos, and access to many resources for teaching online.

The Publisher Resources may make the biggest difference in the transition to online teaching of any of the resources on the AAA website. They are quite generous and most likely available for the current environment (short-term) only, so readers who use any of these publishers for the courses they teach should probably examine them sooner rather than later. The resources may be offered, at least partially, in partnership with the AAA, so they may not be highlighted on the regular “instructor resources” materials made available by the publishers. In addition, an instructor account log-in may be required. There is obviously not sufficient room in this column to explore these resources in detail, so readers are encouraged to check them out on their own.

Cengage Learning

( includes updated instructor supplements, professional development (i.e., skills upgrade), online teaching options, support, one-on-one help, and specific resources by discipline.

McGraw Hill Education

( offers many videos, some with links to a PDF or to download an application, presented in a three-step organization: setting up the course, getting students started, and tracking student progress.

Pearson Higher Education

( provides helpful articles and other resources for faculty, students, and administrators, such as an online toolkit for subscribed instructors, and a freely downloadable four-page “Tips for Adjuncts and New Instructors”(

The Wiley link on the AAA website is a press release, but upon close inspection contains many embedded links to excellent material (

The Sidebar contains some additional websites and blogs with extensive information, in addition to those highlighted by the AAA.

Parting Thoughts

One piece of advice that I offered to my students in Spring 2020—when face-to-face classes had to be converted to the remote environment with virtually no warning—was that our goal was not to become expert online instructors or students, but to maximize the learning experience using technology tools. I view the virtual classroom as a location issue, not a circumstance that calls for changing my teaching philosophy—just for rethinking how I can still accomplish my goals. I have learned a lot, including what works for me and my students. I was a heavy learning management system user (LMS: a platform to manage and organize educational materials), even when teaching fully face-to-face, and that helped substantially in the move to teaching online. While I do use some of the acknowledged “best practices,” I still teach my own way, such as making regular class-length videos and holding live virtual classes at the regular class time with required attendance.

After attending many hours of virtual training and CPE this summer, I was reminded of the old joke about how “the camera adds 10 pounds.” Well, teaching remotely subtracts half of the instructor’s personality, so my bottom-line advice to educators is “you be you”: let the real you come through the computer monitor, and if your students know that you care, they will care, too.

More Websites and Blogs

Faculty Focus: Using Polling and Smartphones to Keep Students Engaged:

Free Technology for Teachers blog:

GFC Global website:

GFC Technology webpage:

GFC Teacher Guides webpage:

GFC Resources and Tools webpage:

Resources for Remote Learning, September 2020
Non-comprehensive List of Technology Resources



Google Docs: training and help (web page)

Google Documents for Teachers—Free Guide


Microsoft Educator Center Blog

Microsoft Education web site

Office 365 Education—free for academic institutions
Teachers and students can also get Office 365 A1 free

Includes Microsoft Teams

Get Started with Office 365 for Free

Microsoft Teams—students and teachers can get free

OneDrive videos

Class Sessions and Meetings:

Bongo—Virtual Classroom
(available on certain Learning Management Systems)

Skype for Business is available on Microsoft 365


Zoom Support during the Covid-19 pandemic

Zoom video tutorials

Zoom Meetings for Education Training




Microsoft PowerPoint allows users to record audio and embed into the slides

Microsoft PowerPoint allows users to record a slide show with narration and slide timings

Powtoon—5 best free animated presentation software and PP alternatives




Student Engagement and Assessment:

Kahoot—access during Covid-19

Poll Everywhere




Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA/CGMA, is the Louis J. and Ramona Rodriguez Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Tex. She is a member of The CPA Journal Editorial Advisory Board.