Skills for Accounting Research, 4e

FASB Codification & eIFRS

by Collins, Salzman

| ISBN: 978-1-61853-315-9 | Copyright 2020

Instructor Requests


Welcome to Skills for Accounting Research 4e!

Increasingly, accounting research and communication skills are being regarded as fundamental to success in accounting. Professionals who excel in these areas will likely experience a distinct competitive advantage relative to their peers. At the same time, in today’s highly regulated business climate, the consequences of inadequately researching and documenting accounting judgments can be severe (e.g., PCAOB or SEC enforcement actions). Recognizing the importance of research skills, research simulations are now a key component of the national CPA exam. What’s been missing, until now, is a high-quality, hands-on textbook that can teach students these important skills.

In this book, students will learn to confidently address and communicate accounting research issues, from start to finish. Students will not only take away the ability to identify the accounting problem (the “researchable question”), but will gain experience locating and applying guidance within key research tools (including the FASB Codification and eIFRS), in a variety of accounting environments. In learning to use these research tools, students will have the opportunity to apply guidance to a variety of actual accounting topics.
Recognizing that students cannot learn to research simply by reading about research, the textbook offers students numerous opportunities to actively apply chapter lessons, throughout each chapter. Students will come away from this book armed with the research and critical thinking skills necessary for success as accounting professionals.

Target Audience

Skills for Accounting Research, 4e, is intended to serve as the primary text for graduate and undergraduate courses dedicated to accounting research. The book may also be used to supplement materials used in an intermediate or advanced accounting course. Collins’ practical examples and exercises challenge students to actively learn while they read, moving them beyond simply understanding, to critically thinking about and applying accounting issues. The text also includes two chapters uniquely dedicated to effective professional documentation and communication. Practitioners and staff training programs can benefit from the research and communication strategies covered in this book.

FASB Codification Focus

Use of the FASB Codification as the key research tool throughout the text, including screenshots and primary source excerpts from the Codification, will give students an understanding of how research applies to the analysis of actual accounting issues and practical knowledge of how to use FASB guidance in their research efforts.

Provides Guidance on How to Effectively Search

Left to their own devices, students often default to using a “search” function in the Codification.  This text teaches students to utilize a “browse” approach, including teaching the organization of accounting guidance, that will result in much more effective searches.  No other text teaches students this method for efficiently searching accounting guidance.

Communication Strategies and Technical Writing Fundamentals

Research and communication techniques are presented in the context of actual technical issues, giving students extensive exposure to the accounting literature while learning professional research and writing skills. 

Two Chapters Dedicated to Effective Communication

Chapter 4 covers communicating in written form including drafting effective emails and preparing research memoranda. Chapter 13 covers creating and delivering effective presentations.


A chapter is dedicated to the understanding of the global standard setting environment, international accounting and auditing standards, and the relevance of these standards to U.S. accounting practitioners.

Now YOU Try

This feature offers students in-chapter opportunities to practice the skill being discussed.  It follows major topic areas and offers immediate reinforcement of the subject matter.

Exercises and Case Study Questions

At the end of each chapter, there are research exercises, as well as case study questions that provide students the opportunity to think critically about more involved, open-ended accounting issues.  Students will be required to identify the researchable question, research the issue, and practice technical writing skills in their responses.

Opening Vignettes

Each chapter begins with an opening vignette that uses chapter content in a scenario highlighting a research problem faced by a beginning researcher.  The intention is an immersive experience for the student at the outset of the topic, inspiring in students’ an enthusiasm for learning the topic.


Additional assignments and video examples have been added to MBC.

New Standards

Includes strategies for navigating the revised revenue and lease topics and new assignments requiring students to research and interpret the new standards and to document and communicate their findings.


Presents updated screenshots of the Codification featuring the latest standards.  

Updated Detailed Research Example

The author presents a real research question involving baseball stadium concession sales (Lease? Revenues?) and integrates it throughout chapters 3 and 4. Students will follow this real world example through the research process culminating in a new chapter-end sample memo.

Case Studies

The text includes new, current and real-world case studies of varying difficulty level – including cases building upon the stadium example. Cases place increased emphasis on the use of professional judgment.

Shelby Collins

Shelby Collins

Shelby Collins currently works as a consultant assisting companies with adoption of the new FASB revenue and lease accounting standards. Prior to this role, she taught the Masters-level accounting and auditing research course at the University at Buffalo School of Management from 2011 through 2016.

Shelby’s entire career has focused specifically on performing and communicating technical accounting research, in a diversity of settings. Immediately after receiving her Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees in Accountancy from the University of Georgia, Shelby went on to serve as a postgraduate technical assistant at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). From there, Shelby went on to work in KPMG’s Accounting Advisory Services group, then in the Accounting Policy and Research group at Exelon Corporation in Chicago. In these roles, Shelby focused on the application of technical accounting guidance to complex and judgmental transactions.

While at the University at Buffalo, finding no textbook on the market that offered a hands-on, active learning approach to accounting research, she chose to create her own course materials including handouts, lecture slides, and case studies. Many of these materials have been incorporated into this book and its supplements.

Few professionals have the opportunity to hit the ground running with a career in research; accountants often get their first shot at higher-level research projects after several years on the job. Shelby's career is unique in that she started researching before she even had the depth of knowledge afforded by several years of experience. She quickly achieved that depth of knowledge through her work as a researcher. She therefore understands how to convey complex accounting concepts alongside the basic skills necessary for success in research, in a language that beginning researchers can understand. Her enthusiasm for teaching will serve as an asset to students utilizing this book.

Martha L. Salzman

Martha L. Salzman

Martha L. Salzman authored the tax research chapter of this book. Martha is a full-time adjunct assistant professor at the University at Buffalo School of Management, where she teaches the Masters-level professional tax research course and business law courses. Martha is a graduate of the University of Rochester (B.A., Political Science) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D.), and is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. Martha spent 18 years at the law firm of Phillips Lytle LLP, where her practice focused primarily on taxation, including advising clients regarding tax planning, compliance, audits and disputes. Martha enjoys using her real-world tax experience to better prepare students for their futures as tax and accounting professionals.