The Games We Play

When you gaze across the classroom, do your students gaze back at you? Or do they drop their eyes and fixedly stare at their laptop computer screens?

Perhaps they’re reviewing documents that are relevant to the class discussion. And perhaps they’re taking notes about the curriculum topic. But conversely, it’s entirely possible that they’re quietly playing Angry Birds on Facebook. Or FarmVille. Or Candy Crush.

And what if we cannot stop them? After all, our students play these games because they are entertained by them. Under such circumstances, by utilizing these same gaming technologies, we can endeavor to create our own learning games to enhance our educational outcomes.

Michael Kraten of Providence College and Stephen Kozlowski of Eastern Illinois University are developing a theoretical model and an educational game in an effort to achieve this goal. They’ll present The Blue Frog Meets Facebook: Integrating Social Presence And Emotional Contagion To Enhance Learning Outcomes In Educational Game Simulations at our upcoming midyear meeting.

If you attend the presentation, you’ll meet the five fictional characters who interact with the student players within their game. Four of the characters represent members of the global business community, while one is an anthropomorphic blue frog whose species is threatened by a massive construction project.

A story line unfolds across a series of four Acts, each consisting of a Scene I and a Scene II. The student players encounter the characters and then make business decisions with expected and unexpected consequences.

By utilizing features of the technology platform to manipulate the characters, Mike and Steve can modify the extent to which social proximity and emotionality are present throughout the game. These factors affect the players’ levels of social presence and emotional contagion, which in turn affect the entertainment value of the learning activity.

And a more entertaining game is a more effective game. Which, in turn, enhances knowledge acquisiton and retention.

Want to learn more? Then join the SET Section’s Concurrent Session on Learning during the first morning of our midyear meeting. You’ll learn the theories, meet the characters, and discuss the structural framework of the game Save The Blue Frog.

Most importantly, you might just change your mind about the prevalence of social media services in our classrooms. If it is futile to fight the ubiquitous presence of such platforms, why not turn the tables and learn to employ them for our benefit?

The Cybersecurity Challenge

A client organization discovers that it has been victimized by a security breach. Its technology specialists aren’t certain who is responsible for the breach, what systems have been compromised, and what data has been stolen. In fact, they aren’t even sure how many times its systems have been breached, and whether the vulnerabilities have been satisfactorily addressed.

Faced with such daunting circumstances, the Board of Directors of the client organization asks its public accounting firm to conduct a risk management examination and report its findings. But what can the accounting firm reasonably accomplish? And how should it structure its engagement with the client organization?

If this situation has captured your attention, you should undoubtedly attend the plenary panel discussion on cybersecurity at our upcoming midyear meeting. Professor Efrim Boritz of the University of Waterloo, a member of the AICPA Trust Information Integrity Task Force, will moderate a session entitled “Cybersecurity Risk Management Program Examination Engagements.”

The panelists will include:

(1) Chris Halterman, Executive Director, EY, and Chair, AICPA Trust Information Integrity Task Force.

(2) Amy Pawlicki, Director, Business Reporting, Assurance and Advisory Services, American Institute of CPAs.

(3) Paul Steinbart, Professor of Information Systems, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.

We are all aware that cybercrime is quickly becoming one of the most significant economic issues affecting businesses, public sector organizations, and individuals around the world. Security breaches that involve the theft of confidential information often lead to financial losses, reputation damage, diminished stakeholder confidence, lost opportunities, and potential regulatory penalties.

Thus, the cybersecurity challenge is now drawing an immense amount of attention from the business, legislative, and regulatory communities. Accordingly, cybersecurity governance, internal control, management reporting, and assurance activities have become critical agenda items for academics and practitioners.

The CPA profession has long provided assurance and advisory services in regards to external reporting activities such as annual financial statements, regulatory compliance assessments, and information technology system controls reviews. Accordingly, the AICPA has collaborated with the Center for Audit Quality to define an external reporting engagement on an entity’s cybersecurity risk management program.

The AICPA’s resulting proposal includes:

(1) A management-prepared narrative description of the entity’s cybersecurity risk management program.

(2) Management’s assertion that the description is presented in accordance with the description criteria, and that the controls within the program are effective to achieve the entity’s cybersecurity objectives, based on the control criteria.

(3) An opinion on whether the description is presented in accordance with the description criteria (i.e. its completeness and accuracy), and whether the controls within that program are effective to achieve the entity’s cybersecurity objectives, based on the control criteria.

Our midyear meeting panelists will engage in a discussion that addresses the following topics:

(1) The rationale and demand for a cybersecurity risk management program examination engagement.

(2) The standards and frameworks that are applicable to cybersecurity examination engagements.

(3) The key elements of a cybersecurity risk management program examination engagement, as envisioned by the AICPA working group on cybersecurity.

(4) The staffing and competency requirements for conducting cybersecurity engagements, as well as related curriculum implications.

(5) Research opportunities for addressing reporting and assurance issues that are related to cybersecurity risk management program examination engagements.

For more information, you are welcome to review the AICPA’s extensive online content regarding its cybersecurity initiative. And for even more helpful information, we strongly encourage you to join us at the cybersecurity panel discussion at our midyear meeting.

Attack Of The Drones

Now here is a topic that might compel you to attend our midyear meeting! Can you guess, from the title of this blog posting, what we have in mind?

No, we’re not referring to the imminent uprising of artificially intelligent drones across our planet and their subsequent attack on humanity. Perhaps we’ll address that topic during our 2018 midyear meeting.

We’re actually referring to a slightly more immediate concern. Next month, during our 2017 midyear meeting, Rob Nehmer of Oakland University and Deniz Appelbaum of Rutgers University will speak to us about how information technology specialists are utilizing drones to help “attack” business challenges.

According to Rob and Deniz, the FAA has recently lifted some restrictions on the use of drones for commercial purposes. Markets for commercial drone use are in the technology trigger phase of the Gartner Hype Cycle. Developments have occurred in the real estate, agriculture, transportation infrastructure, mining, film, insurance, and other industry sectors.

At the moment, though, we have not yet witnessed the widespread adoption of drone technology in the United States. But auditors are required to perform and validate inventory counts, based on audit observations of the inventory process and the review of internal controls. Auditors are also required to validate the economic value of physical assets. Drones, as an extension or tool of the auditor, are uniquely situated to support many of these audit tasks.

At our upcoming midyear meeting, Rob and Deniz will present a research manuscript entitled Using Drones in Internal and External Audits: An Exploratory Framework. They will propose a paradigm that is based on the Design Science approach, and that integrates the technology adoption process that was discussed by Alles, Kogan, and Vasarhelyi in a 2008 paper entitled Audit Automation for Implementing Continuous Auditing: Principles and Problems.

For an advance peek at the subject matter, you might be interested in a brief PwC Polska video from their Drone Powered Solutions Group. If it grabs your attention, please keep in mind that the best way to begin to develop an in-depth understanding of the subject matter is to join us in Orlando with Rob and Deniz next month.

Coming Attractions

There are only a few more weeks to go until our midyear meeting in Orlando! As they say in the movie business, it’s time to sit back, grab a tub of popcorn, and enjoy some Coming Attractions of our upcoming feature presentations.

In fact, we’ll utilize this blog post to provide you with brief “teaser” comments about three of our planned activities. Then, during the weeks leading up to our meeting, we’ll dedicate a more detailed blog post to each of these activities.

One feature activity will be a panel discussion about cybersecurity, hosted by Efrim Boritz of the University of Waterloo and featuring information about the AICPA Cybersecurity Initiative. According to the AICPA’s September 2016 report Cybersecurity Reporting: A Backgrounder,

In recognition of the needs of management and boards of directors of diverse organizations, and for the benefit of the public interest, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is proposing a reporting framework through which organizations can communicate pertinent information regarding their cybersecurity risk-management efforts to meet the cybersecurity information needs of a broad range of stakeholders.

A second feature activity will be a manuscript presentation about the use of drone technology in internal and external audits. Rob Nehmer of Oakland University and Deniz Appelbaum of Rutgers University are collaborating on the development of an exploratory framework for the technology.

According to Rob and Deniz, “Drones, as extensions or tools of auditors, could serve to alleviate … time consuming, costly, tedious, laborious, and even dangerous (activities). An auditor could monitor the drone live video feed as the drone navigates through a routine warehouse inventory or complex bridge inspection. The drone would be in sight of the auditor and could be piloted or flying automatically.”

A third feature activity will be a manuscript presentation about the development of an educational gaming simulation that combines the technological theories of social presence and emotional contagion. Mike Kraten of Providence College and Steve Kozlowski of Eastern Illinois University are collaborating on the creation of an integrated theoretical model of gaming.

They are also customizing an illustrative learning activity entitled Save The Blue Frog!, an integrated accounting case involving valuation, sustainability, controls and risk, and ethics. They plan to employ the case during a pilot test of the theoretical model, and they will discuss their plans with our colleagues during their session.

During the midyear meeting, our SET Section will host three manuscript presentation sessions and the AICPA’s cybersecurity panel. Of course, we’ll also appear throughout the meeting as joint hosts with our colleagues in the Accounting Information Systems (AIS) section.

Are you curious about any of these three feature presentations? Then you’ll be sure to enjoy our next three blog posts, which will provide you with more detailed Coming Attractions about these topics! And to learn far more about this material, you’ll simply need to join us at the midyear meeting in sunny Orlando. 🙂

Manuscript Presentation Sessions

Drum roll, please! We’re ready to announce the manuscripts that will be presented during our SET Section sessions at our upcoming midyear meeting. We’ll list them below, along with the names of our session moderators and manuscript discussants.

Where multiple authors are listed for a manuscript, the first author is expected to serve as the primary presenter. Nevertheless, the other authors are encouraged to attend the sessions and contribute to the conversations as well.

There are no discussants in our dialogue session. The manuscripts in that session are in the developmental stage, and will benefit from an open discussion between the authors and the audience members.

Next week, we’ll take a break from our weekly blog posts in order to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Then, when we return, we’ll settle into a bi-monthly (i.e. twice each month) posting schedule to publish “coming attractions” in advance of our midyear meeting.

In the meantime … Happy Thanksgiving!

And here are our session manuscripts:

Moderator: Michael Alles, Rutgers Business School

Classifying Restatements: An Application of Machine Learning and Textual Analytics, B. Louise Hayes, University of Guelph; J. Efrim Boritz, University of Waterloo
Discussant: Nancy Lankton, Marshall University

The Blue Frog Meets Facebook: Integrating Social Presence And Emotional Contagion To Enhance Learning Outcomes In Educational Game Simulations, Michael L Kraten, Providence College; Stephen Kozlowski, Rutgers Business School
Discussant: JP Krahel, Loyola University Maryland

The Sentiment Feature of 10-K MD&As and the Financial Misstatement Prediction: A Comparison of Deep Learning and “Bag of Words” Approaches, Ting Sun, Rutgers University-Newark; Yue Liu, Rutgers University – Newark; Miklos A Vasarhelyi, Rutgers University – Newark
Discussant: Jacob Haislip, University of North Texas

Moderator: Julia Kokina, Babson College

Enterprise Content Risk Management: A Conceptual Framework for Digital Asset Risk Management, Arti Mann, University of Houston Clear Lake; Robyn L Raschke, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Discussant: Stephen Kozlowski, Eastern Illinois University

Impact of Business Analytics and Enterprise Systems on Managerial Accounting, Zhaokai Yan, Rutgers University; Deniz A Appelbaum, Rutgers University – Newark; Alexander Kogan, Rutgers University – Newark; Miklos A Vasarhelyi, Rutgers University – Newark
Discussant: Irina Malaescu, University of Central Florida

Using Drones in Internal and External Audits: An Exploratory Framework, Rob Nehmer, Oakland University; Deniz A Appelbaum, Rutgers University – Newark
Discussant: Tawei (David) Wang, DePaul University

Moderator: Barbara Lamberton, University of Hartford

AIS-Ethics: A Case Analysis Of An Attempt To Create A New Subset Of Business Ethics, Michael G Alles, Rutgers Business School

Analytics in External Auditing: A Literature Review, Deniz A Appelbaum, Rutgers University – Newark; Alexander Kogan, Rutgers University – Newark; Miklos A Vasarhelyi, Rutgers University – Newark

Design of Decision Support System for Audit Plan and Risk Assessment, Qiao Li, Rutgers Business School; Miklos A Vasarhelyi, Rutgers University – Newark

Personified ERP System as a Social Actor Influencing IS Resistance, Pamela Jeanne Schmidt, Washburn University; Ronald Freeze, University of Arkansas, Walton School of Business

Using Technology to Market a Tax Practice: What do H&R Block and Liberty Tax Service Have in Common?, Valeriya Avdeev, William Paterson University of New Jersey


Ahead of Schedule

Believe it or not, everything is falling into place! We’re finalizing the agenda of our midyear meeting right now, and we’re pleased to find that we’re running ahead of schedule.

As you may recall, in previous blog posts, we promised to issue manuscript acceptance notifications before Thanksgiving. And guess what? We actually distributed them a few days ago, two full weeks ahead of schedule! And now we’re putting the finishing touches on our discussant and moderator rosters.

So what are our plans for the meeting? Our Section will host three manuscript presentation sessions, one more than last year. The first will be a concurrent session that focuses on technology and learning. The second will be a concurrent session on enterprise models and auditing frameworks. And the third will be a dialogue session that features an open discussion of manuscripts in the development phase.

We’ll continue to utilize this social media platform to report on our planning activities until we finalize our agenda. Then we’ll shift our focus to providing previews of research manuscripts and coming attractions of other meeting events.

After the meeting, we’ll further broaden our focus by building this social media platform into the online communication and networking function of our Section. But hey … let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves! For now, we’ll simply focus on our upcoming trip to Orlando. 🙂

AAA Section Web Sites

Have you been waiting, with immense anticipation, for the AAA to launch the Section web sites? Well, wait no more! They are now all online for your viewing pleasure.

Our own Strategic and Emerging Technologies web site is “live” as well. As soon as you visit our home page, you’ll see a glamorous image of the hotel site of our upcoming midyear meeting.

But please don’t stop at that image! If you scroll down a bit, you’ll see a Social Media section with a link to our WordPress blog. And on our blog page, you’ll be able to click over to our Twitter page as well.

At the moment, we’re the only Section that is utilizing a social media platform to communicate with our members. But several other Sections feature the words Social Media: Coming Soon on their home pages, so we’ll need to continue working hard to maintain our customary leadership role.