This week, office hours (Tue, June 2nd, 4pm ET) will consist of something a bit different.  In particular, I want to see if we can have an interactive session involving bouncing research ideas off of each other.  This is one of the types of sessions that we discussed during May 19th office hours.

How can we do this efficiently?  I think three things are needed:

  1. A common topic – tossing research ideas into a discussion will be difficult if the research ideas cover the entire realm of financial reporting.  The resulting discussion will likely result in too disjointed of a discussion
  2. Some background “homework” – passively listening to some details about an accounting standard and then immediately responding with a research idea is tough.  Based on my past experiences, participants in a research discussion will be more likely to identify research topics if they have spent a little time dealing with the practice topic at hand and thinking about potential research ideas.
  3. A willingness on everyone’s part to contribute.

I have taken care of (1) and (2).  Click here to download a “homework” assignment which identifies 7 pages of the FASB/IASB discussion paper on leases as our common topic.  These pages deal with accounting for contingent rental payments.  Interestingly, the IASB and FASB come to two different opinions on how to handle contingent rentals, and both views differ from current practice.

As for (2), the assignment has 2 simple scenarios followed by two types of questions.  The implementation-type questions should be easy to answer after reading the 7 pages of the discussion paper.  The research-type questions are in boldface because these are more important for our discussion to be a success.  After reading about how accounting for contingent rentals might work, what research questions come to mind?  Admittedly, you might have no interest in executing a research study about contingent rentals.  But that should not stop you from tossing out possible questions that a researcher could execute using archival, experimental, analytical or possibly other approaches.  You can also help other participants to refine their questions.  And if this session works the way I expect, the discussion will help a few participants identify a new question that they would not have thought of otherwise.

Part (3) is up to the participants.  I estimate that if every participant comes to the session with one potential research topic to share, then we should easily fill the hour.  For those without voice capabilities, I suggest you compose two or three sentences about your idea in advance in electronic form, and then Rob and his helpers can find a way to display the sentences to the rest of us.  Trying to type the sentences in real time is okay, but it could be tough.