A student’s illustration presented at the class discussion.

ACTG 252 Class
Intermediate Accounting

A bachelor’s degree in accounting can be earned as either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. There are several schools of thought that say accounting is a science because an accountant needs skills to record transactions in a consistent manner in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, also know as GAAP. The way accountants gather the data they record is by using systematic and scientific methods of collection. Accountants who are auditors examine and test financial data using formulas, observation and research. With all of these methods, it is easy to see how accounting could be considered a science.

However, some argue that accounting is an art.  Certain transactions that accountants record are based on carefully thought out estimates. These estimates are made by making assumptions using historical data and creatively applying this data to perceived future events. Also, as accounting evolves from rules-based to principles-based accountants will need to be resourceful and inventive as they formulate advice for clients within the ethical guidelines and standards set for the profession.

We often think of the word art literally, by thinking of a museum full of paintings. But an artist can be anyone that is skilled in any occupation. Accounting Professor Claudia Lubaski decided to take the literal form of art and apply it to an assignment in her ACTG 252 class this spring. The class was given an article to read on accounting being a science or an art. Some students said it is a science because accountants do debits/credits and there isn’t much creativity there. There was some discussion that accountants are sometimes thought of in non-creative ways.

Lubaski challenged her students to be creative and create a piece of art that had to do with accounting. She wanted them to see that they were more creative than they thought, wouldn’t be ordinary accountants, but rather GREAT accountants.

Student Justin Barth said, “This project tested my creative abilities more than anything else I’ve done in any of my accounting classes.”

Another student Myesha Arnold said, “Working on this project I never really thought of having accounting having anything to do with art. This project made me think of accounting in a different perspective. I believe after doing this art project and seeing all the different & creative ideas people came up with, I think accounting is more an art than a science.”
Nathaniel Stumph added, “Accounting is unique and is an art because we all have creative ideas of what accounting is.”

The project concluded with an art show on May 2..  Those that attended cast ballots to choose the top three. Lubaski applauded the students, saying, “Although the class remains divided on whether accounting is an art or science, all of the are projects were fantastic!”