NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2011

Instructor Details

Hipscher, Aaron


(212) 998-0011

T & R, 11am-12pm, 2pm-3pm (or by appointment)

KMC 10-89


TA: Connor Foran





Course Meetings

MW, 8:00am to 9:15am

Tisch T-LC25

Section 1: 8:00am-9:15am

Section 4: 9:30am-10:45am

Section 7: 11:00am-12:15pm


Class Will Not Meet On: Official Stern Holidays


Course Description and Learning Goals

Accounting produces much of the information used within corporations. Accounting information is used in valuation, in contracting, by investors, by creditors, by managers and by the government. A good understanding of accounting is one of the basic building blocks of business education.

This course introduces the fundamentals of accounting. We will approach the subject from a user's point of view, not the accountant, although this does require extensive work on how accounting information is prepared. By the end of this course, you should be able to read and understand financial statements.

The course begins with the simplest and most important rules of accounting. We begin by looking at the three fundamental financial statements --the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows. Particular attention is paid to how the three statements interact with each other. We then move on to specific topics in accounting. Throughout the semester, we will be doing problems using real financial statements.


The United States is moving towards adopting international accounting standards. We will be looking at U.S. GAAP and what kinds of changes you can expect to see in the future. We will see how these changes will impact you both as a student of accounting and as a future user of accounting information. We will be discussing this all during the course.



The basic text is Horngren, Sundem and Elliot,Introduction to Financial Accounting, Custom Edition for C10.0001, Prentice-Hall, 10th Edition. You may not use the 9th Edition. All assigned readings and homework problems are from the text. We will be using the General Mills Form 10-K, 2010. This is available in PDF format on the Blackboard site for this course (http://sternclasses.nyu.edu/) and from the General Mills website (http://www.generalmills.com).


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


Assessment Components

There are no make-up exams. All exams are cumulative. Attendance is a must. If you miss an exam (for a legitimate reason) – at my discretion – the next exam will be counted as cumulative for the point value of the missing exam.

I reserve the right to lower your grade or fail an individual for unsatisfactory attendance.


You may not schedule your flights to go home before our Final Exam.



Assessment is based on three exams & several short quizzes. The first two midterms will be held on March 2nd, 2011, and April 6th, 2011, respectively. There are no make-up exams. All exams are cumulative. The exams will be weighted: 20%, 25% and 35% respectively. Quizzes will account for 10% to 15% of your grade. Quizzes, when given, will be during the first 10 minutes of class. There are no make-ups. Attendance is a must. If you miss an exam (for a legitimate reason) – at my discretion – the next exam will be counted as cumulative for the point value of the missing exam.

I reserve the right to lower your grade or fail an individual for unsatisfactory attendance.


You may not schedule your flights to go home before our Final Exam.



In line with Grading Guidelines for NYU Stern Undergraduate College, the process of assigning of grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. This means that students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.


If a student feels that an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing the overall course grade, a request to have the grade be re-evaluated may be submitted. Students should submit such requests in writing to the professor within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why he or she believes that an error in grading has been made


Core Enhancement

I will be handing out cases. They will be worth 5% to 10% of your grade.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course

Course Policies:





Students are expected to come to class prepared, having read text and/or assigned readings prior to class. Homework, case studies, and other assignments, are expected to be completed and handed in on time.


Laptops, cell phones, Smartphones, and other electronic devices are a disturbance to both students and professors. All electronic devices must be turned off prior to the start of each class meeting.


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Course Outline


Class Schedule:


Introduction: Bring General Mills to class


Read Chapter 1


Homework: Chapter 1: 27, 32, 34, 36, 37, 39, 48, (Project 1-50)


Read Chapter 2: The Income Statement,


Homework: Chapter 2: 35, 39, 40, 47, 50, 57


Read Chapter 3 – Recording Transactions


Homework: Chapter 3: 21, 23, 28, 35, 40, 46, 49, 55


Accounting Adjustments Read: Chapter 4 – Using Financial Statements – In Class: 4-22, 23, 24, 25, 27


Homework: Chapter 4: 4-29, 30, 31, 39, 43, 46, & 53.




Exam 1


Read: Chapter 6: Revenue Recognition and Cash, Accounts Receivables


Homework: Chapter 6: 37, 39, 47, 59, 65, 67


Read: Chapter 7: Inventories & Cost of Goods Sold


Homework: Chapter 7: 37, 44, 50, 51, 58, 59, 69


Read: Chapter 8: Long Lived Assets & Depreciation


Homework: Chapter 8: 28, 31, 34, 35, 45, 51, 59, 72




Exam 2


Read: Chapter 9: Liabilities & Interest (Introduction to Present Value Concepts)


Homework: Chapter 9: 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 53


Read: Chapter 9: Present Value Concepts and Long-term Bonds & Leases


Homework: Chapter 9: 41, 42, 57, 60, 63, 66, 69


Read: Chapter 5: Statement of Cash Flows


Homework: Chapter 5: 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, 46, 47, 52, 56, 58, 67


Read: Chapter 10: Stockholder’s Equity


Homework: Chapter 10: 34, 45, 46, 49, 59, 61, 75



Final Exam



Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.


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