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Calcbench in the classroom  

Accounting financial data is often used in a class environment. As professors we are typically eager to use “real life” data from “real” company filings with the SEC. Some professors are now using Calcbench in their classroom. Uses include introductory accounting classes which use the data for simple financial statement analysis projects. Financial statement analysis classes can use the financial data for benchmarking, creating peer groups for the analyzed company. Auditing classes can use the benchmarking tool to examine the company they are looking at and perform some analytical procedures. Calcbench is also used in data analytics classes.

There are several easy ways to get students involved in “real” data. One possible assignment that would help students understand difference between industries would be to ask them to calculate a few basic ratios (e.g., current ratio, debt to equity, ROA) for SIC 2000 (food and kindred products), compared to 5000 (Wholesale-durable goods). The students can use the already calculated ratios from the drop down menu or they can be asked to export the required data to Excel and calculate the values themselves. Another possible assignment would be for students to choose a company they are interested in and they could be asked to form peer group to compare the company to. The peer group they create can be based on the competitors the company identified in their MD&A or based on the company’s industry. Either way, this would give students some context and reference points for a more meaningful analysis.

Many students have limited or no access to easy to use databases that include “real life” data because of the cost involved. If you’re planning on using Calcbench as a teaching tool please let us know so we can ensure you and sure students will have uninterrupted free access. 

Ariel Markelevich, Ph.D., CMA
Associate Professor of Accounting
Suffolk University


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