Launching A New Blog

Thank you, Save the Blue Frog subscribers, for following our Entrepreneurship course during the past month. We appreciate your interest in our progress, and we value your feedback regarding our content.

We’re now pleased to report that we’re launching a new blog for the course. You are welcome to continue subscribing to it, and sharing your thoughts and suggestions with us.

We’ll cease our postings of the course content on this blog at this time. Please let us know if you enjoyed this one month snapshot of our activity.

Most importantly, we appreciate your time and your support. Our course is richer for it!

It’s Your Turn, Redux

We’re about to experience an online weekend for the second time in three weeks! And thus, once again, it’s your turn to take a proactive role by applying our content to your own business concept.

Thus, by Thursday, October 4th at 9:00 am, please update your Google Drive project folder. You should address my feedback about your initial submission by updating your prior work, and then add your new flexible budget and storyboard work to your folder.

Later today, on September 25th, I will reach out to each of you via email to schedule a brief ten minute telephone or face-to-face conversation. As we discussed, I prefer to review my feedback with you via a verbal conversation.

Finally, please keep in mind that our Blackboard system will be down for maintenance all weekend. I have established a web site for us to serve as a temporary replacement for Blackboard. Of course, our Save The Blue Frog blog is always available as well.

It’s Your Turn!

Reminder: Click here for the course materials.

As you know, this weekend is an online weekend. You are working on your first term project submission, and will upload it to your Google Drive folder by Thursday, September 20th at 9:00 am.

And what do we plan for our next classroom meeting? We’ll begin with our customary brief quiz on the traditional balanced scorecard and statistical analysis. Then we’ll discuss our first submission activity, and I’ll ask a few of you to present your content to your classmates.

Finally, we’ll review the remaining course materials that are related to The Business Model. And we’ll preview the next section of the course, i.e. the section that addresses Volume Estimation.

While we complete these activities, please keep in mind that we are using the Integrated Reporting Framework to organize our content for the Term Project. It’s never too early to begin organizing your thoughts about the final presentation!

Applying The Business Model

Reminder: Click here for the course materials.

And now it’s your turn! We discussed the balanced scorecard and statistical analysis in depth yesterday. You are now empowered to apply it to your entrepreneurial business concept.

As you know, we do not meet in person next week. So let’s discuss our online plans for the next two weeks:

1. Please open a free Gmail account. If you already have one and do not wish to use it for our upcoming online discussion, you are welcome to open a second account.

2. No later than Friday, September 14th, please send me your Gmail address. I will respond with an invitation to access a folder that you will use to organize your project. As we discussed in class, if you strongly prefer a different document management system, please let me know.

3. Using the traditional balanced scorecard framework (while feeling free to modify the framework if necessary), please develop a conceptual model in the manner that we discussed in class. One or two sentences for each component would be helpful. Some sense of causality (i.e. cause and effect) between the components would also be helpful.

4. Using the statistical survey question format that we discussed in class, please develop a set of X and Y questions that can demonstrate the validity – and thus the potential value – of your entrepreneurial concept. You do not need to collect data yet; solely focus on the questions for this week’s activity.

5. Review the components of the Integrated Reporting “Octopus” framework. Make brief notations to identify the components that will be defined by your balanced scorecard and statistical survey work.

6. A strict interpretation of the guidelines of our program would necessitate your submission of this work by Saturday, September 15th at 9:00 am. However, as long as I receive your Gmail address by that time, you are welcome to upload your work to your folder by Thursday, September 20th at 9:00 am.

If you have any questions, please let me know! I look forward to watching your project take shape in your folder.

The Business Model

Happy Labor Day, Entrepreneurship Students! I hope you’re enjoying the unofficial conclusion of the summer vacation season.

It was a pleasure to meet all of you yesterday. Here are some notes to guide our way, as we venture into the semester together.

Last week, we engaged in an introductory discussion about the classic model of accounting and valuation, as codified by Friar Luca Pacioli over five centuries ago. We then time-traveled to our contemporary era and reviewed the Integrated Reporting framework.

Meanwhile, in other courses of our program, you began to identify and explore your own entrepreneurial opportunity. It’s time to integrate our coursework by analyzing that opportunity from a financial perspective.

So how, exactly, will we do that? Let’s proceed a step at a time:

1. We can find the Integrated Reporting framework on page 13 of the guidance document that was published by the International Integrated Reporting Council. A link to the document is included in our course material page entitled Course Information; we’ll begin our session on September 8th with a brief closed-book quiz about the framework.

2. As a homework assignment in advance of September 8th, please begin to apply the Framework to your entrepreneurial opportunity. You are welcome to use any electronic or physical resource to help you do so; during our September 8th session, we will ask you to verbally describe the element(s) of the framework that (in your preliminary opinion) will be most difficult to define within your plan.

Is it too soon to engage in this activity? Perhaps it is! But please give it a shot, and be prepared to share your experience with your classmates.

3. As you may recall, on our course material page entitled Course Information, I included a link entitled Course Slides (Current Edition). Please click on that link and review the slides entitled Course Agenda, The Need for a Managerial Accounting Approach, and A Five Step Planning Process. Then proceed to review the quartet of slides entitled Step 1 – The Business Model.

I actually do NOT expect you to understand most of this content! After all, we have not yet reviewed it in class. Nevertheless, it can’t hurt to flip through those few slides before we review them together.

4. I have prepared another course material page entitled The Business Model. Please click on the six links on that page and lightly skim the content, understanding (once again) that I do not expect you to understand most of the content.

5. As we discussed in class yesterday, given our “classroom without walls” teaching strategy, I will begin to post selected course notes and materials on (both) the University’s internal Blackboard system and an external social media resource. This will enable colleagues from the academic and practitioner communities to contribute their perspectives to our discussion.

6. Finally, I have an administrative requirement to share with you; I need to obtain electronic “signatures” from you regarding our syllabus. Thus, please bring an internet equipped electronic device to class this week.

As you can see, our lives are about to become more interesting! But please don’t worry; we’re embarking on this journey together.  🙂

Click here for the course materials.

Entrepreneurship Course

Hello, friends and colleagues of the Blue Frog! As you know, we utilize this blog from time to time to serve as the communication hub of academic courses that illustrate principles of sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

For the Fall 2018 semester, we are delighted to provide this resource to the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at Houston Baptist University. The course is ACCT 6365, Integrated Accounting and Financing for New Ventures; its students are enrolled in the Master of Science in Management and Entrepreneurship Program.

The Integrated Reporting Framework of the International Integrated Reporting Council is serving as the central paradigm of the course.

Click here for the course materials.

Water Use Reporting At Coca-Cola

The Verge, one of the online platforms of Vox Media, published an investigative story last week about the sustainability accounting practices of Coca-Cola. It raised a number of questions about the manner in which the firm reports on its water use in the production of its signature product.

For instance, the article noted that:

Coca-Cola claims that for every drop the company uses, it gives one back. But “every drop” includes only what goes into the bottle. The company does not count water in its supply chain — including the water-guzzling sugar crop — in its “every drop” math.

During the first two weeks of June, we are utilizing our Save The Blue Frog web site and case to support an intensive accounting course at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. It is the capstone course for the graduate accounting program, entitled Strategic Management in a Global Business Environment.

Thus, for our course, the investigative story provides a well-timed example of the need to utilize standard industry metrics for the reporting of environmental, economic, and social outcomes. The capstone course is emphasizing the standards, frameworks, and metrics of the Global Reporting Initiative, the International Integrated Reporting Council, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and the United Nations in its curriculum.

Many thanks to Barbara Sullivan-Watts, a Special Lecturer at Providence College who is teaching Environmental Biology at the institution, for bringing the Coca-Cola article to our attention.

Sustainability and Integrated Reporting

Are you worried about the future of the Sustainability Movement? Fear not! Our accountants are endeavoring to save the planet.

It may be reasonable to feel a little dubious about that statement. Nevertheless, author Jane Gleeson-White has written a best-selling book entitled Six Capitals: The Revolution Capitalism Has to Have — or Can Accountants Save the Planet?

She does not definitively answer that question in her text. However, she does explain that our accountants have many impressive allies who aren’t ordinarily associated with their profession.

For instance, HRH Charles, The Prince of Wales, is playing a key leadership role through The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project. Gleeson-White credits the Prince for being a major impetus behind the global adoption of the Six Capitals model.

For the next two weeks, we will utilize our Save The Blue Frog web site and case to support an intensive accounting course at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. It is the capstone course for the graduate accounting program, entitled Strategic Management in a Global Business Environment.

As the final course that students complete before graduation, the curriculum emphasizes the need to analyze global business problems in an integrated manner, and to recommend solutions in a persuasive context. May we agree that there is no better topic for achieving these goals than Sustainability?

You are welcome to use this link to review our materials. As always, we continue to welcome your comments, suggestions, and feedback.

If UPS’ Accountants Can Deliver Holiday Packages, Human Capital May Be More Flexible Than We Expected

Now that the dust is clearing on the blow-out holiday sales season that retailers enjoyed last month, tales are emerging about the extraordinary steps that their supply chain managers took to meet customer demand.

What tales? Consider, for instance, the global delivery firm UPS. It received so many packages in the days leading up to Christmas that it was forced to ask hundreds of its accountants, marketers, and other office workers to join their colleagues in sorting and delivering packages.

Some were actually met at the doors of their office buildings and told to go home, change clothes, and report to operations facilities. Others were instructed to deliver packages with their own automobiles.

Pretty unusual, huh? Even more noteworthy is that the office workers completed these tasks responsibly. Apparently, their lack of training and personal unfamiliarity with delivery tasks failed to impede their performance.

That raises a few interesting questions. If accountants and marketers were able to succeed at these operating tasks, is human capital more flexible than we expected? If so, is the principle of work specialization overblown? And if true, are we spending too much time, effort, and resources on specialty training, and not enough on cross-training?

After all, cross-training was the fundamental Human Resource Management philosophy for centuries before Henry Ford and others developed modern Operations Management theory during the early 1900s. Business managers previously believed that it made more sense for craftsmen to learn all of the functions of producing a product or service, instead of specializing in a single function or two.

We now live in an era when many long-accepted assumptions about workers are falling by the wayside. For instance, riders now trust part-time Uber drivers as much as they ever trusted part-time taxi drivers. And travelers now trust part-time Airbnb hosts as much as full-time hoteliers.

Indeed, the UPS experience may simply represent another case of Human Capital being more flexible than we ever expected. And that very flexibility may be the harbinger of a human labor revolution.

In Connecticut, Has Risk Management Gone Awry?

Connecticut has always been known as the Land of Steady Habits. Last week, however, it also became known as the Land of Miserably Unhappy Commuters.

That’s because the high voltage feeder cable that powers the New Haven (Connecticut) to Grand Central Terminal (New York City) commuter train line failed last week. Stranded passengers were told to expect little or no train service for up to three weeks.

So why is this a prime example of risk management gone awry? It appears that the Metro-North rail system has always maintained a secondary electrical system. But two weeks before the failure, engineers removed the secondary system from service for maintenance upgrade work without replacing it with any other temporary resource. Thus, when the primary feeder cable failed last week, there was no other system in place to power the train line.

Regrettably, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy noted that Metro North officials appeared to have been taken by complete surprise. He said that “there appears to have been little plan(ning) for this type of catastrophic failure.”

The discipline of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) embraces a few key principles. Organizations must identify potential crises before they occur. For crises that are relatively likely to occur, preventive controls must be implemented to reduce the likelihoods. And for events that will be relatively costly if they occur, crisis response functions must be implemented to contain the costs of failure.

Did the folks at Metro North follow these principles? Because a failure of the primary feeder cable could inflict so much damage on commuters, one may question whether the secondary system should ever have been removed without the temporary implementation of another crisis response function. And because the severe aging of the electrical fleet and infrastructure makes such failures relatively likely to occur, one may ask whether the primary system (as well as, or perhaps in place of, the secondary system) should have served as the focus of preventive maintenance work.

In other words, Governor Malloy’s own observations reveal that the public transportation agency was following a risk management plan that was bound to go awry. And now the commuters of Connecticut are bearing the brunt of that failure.