Date of Award
The following thesis is a collection of case studies that were completed during two semesters of enrollment in Accounting 420, directed by Dr. Victoria Dickinson. It is presented as a fulfillment of the requirements for the University of Mississippi, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, and the Professional Research and Development Thesis Program. While each of the twelve cases is different, they all provided a significant contribution to my own personal understanding of the principles of financial reporting and how those principles apply to the accounting profession. Each week of the thesis course, I would receive a different set of complex accounting questions, usually presented in conjunction with a specific company’s financial statement and accounting strategies. These cases were not always based on real firms, but throughout the semester, the most rewarding and educational research revolved around real-life examples like WorldCom, Google, and Starbucks. The historical cases allowed me to explore human errors and helped me understand how those mistakes effected millions of dollars of public investment and thousands of jobs. Nevertheless, whether the cases had a base in history or not, they all asked deep, realistic questions that challenged my knowledge of accounting and its intersection with outward financial performance. Week-in and week-out the cases provided mysteries in the form of financial statements that each student in Accounting 420 had to decipher and solve. Many times, there wasn’t a clear correct answer; rather, the cases provided many avenues to go down in search of an answer: many of these avenues led to acceptable conclusions, but many of them did not. Therefore, the thesis that I present reflects the way it was produced. It is the product of many wrong answers, many mistaken assumptions; however, in the end, with the help of Dr. Dickinson, I have obtained a knowledge of the world of accounting that would not have been obtained without this constant trial and error.
Fowlkes, Thomas, "An Analysis of the Principles of Financial Reporting and their Applications Through the use of Case Studies" (2020). Honors Theses. 1286.