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Smiths’ write accounting book geared toward all

Murphy and Catherine Smith, professors in the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, examine the textbook they created in hopes of making it understandable to all. || Kylie Townsend/The News

Many students enrolled in an accounting course arrive afraid of being bogged down by numbers and bizarre financial terms.

Professors Katherine Smith and Murphy Smith, professors in the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, collaborated with Shannon Knight of Texas A&M to dissolve this student pain.

“We felt that far too many students dreaded taking accounting,” Katherine Smith said. “We tried finding a book that made accounting interesting to students in all, and we didn’t see a textbook doing that well.”

The Smiths then started down a lengthy journey of writing and publishing their own accounting textbook.

The text, titled Financial Accounting and Reporting, gives students financial basics that apply to real-life scenarios that are meaningful to any business major. The textbook, which covers all of the necessary topics included topics the sophomore level course, is written from a different perspective than most.

“Some people have a knack for accounting, but the rest of us need some help.” Katherine Smith said.

Both professors started the project at another university, where they briefly tested the text in an accounting course. Eventually the text moved with the professors to Murray State, where it was finished.

Murphy Smith said the process of laying out the textbook involved writing the original chapter draft, proofreading for clarity and outlining chapter assignments.    Although the book is based on complex accounting topics, the professors focused on making the text as clear as possible.

“(Murphy) would write it, then I would go back through and make sure it would be understood by people who weren’t accounting majors,” Katherine Smith said.

Though the text took several years to produce, the professors are happy with the final product. The textbook is not currently in use by Murray State classrooms, but in the future it may be a strong text in accounting classes.

“We’re not using it right now, but I hope one day we’ll be able to,” Murphy Smith said. “It’s always fun for an author to teach their own work.”

The professors are esteemed by their colleagues and have received many different honors throughout their careers as professors and have published works in several respected business journals.

Bonnie Higginson, vice president of Academic Affairs, said the professors have worked well together at Murray State.

“I know the two Smiths are highly regarded in their fields,” Higginson said. “They have worked together and independently several times.”

 The textbook, published in late July by Commerce Clearing House, is available in print and eBook format. It also includes a CD-ROM with working papers and PowerPoint presentations.

Story by Lexy Gross, Staff writer.