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Using dashboards and data visualizations in teaching accounting


The paper investigates the use of dashboards and data visualizations as a teaching tools in accounting units. Accounting has a growing demand for data analytics and visualization and current graduates usually lack understanding and skills in this area. The paper addresses this gap by introducing dashboards and data visualizations in teaching accounting units. Approaching visualization as a cognitive tool, the study develops a model aligning conceptual blocks in the accounting domain with the dashboard visualization environment. The proposed model is instantiated in the undergraduate and postgraduate accounting courses. The model is evaluated using a survey and a focus group with accounting academics, graduates and industry representatives. The paper extends the information technology literature on visualization and demonstrates the use of dashboards and data visualizations in the domain of accounting education. The paper also contributes to the education literature by extending the project-based approach to analyse visualization environment as a cognitive tool in accounting education. The paper suggests directions on implementation of visualization in accounting reporting and accounting education and provides recommendations for researchers in those areas.

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  1. Tableau Desktop is the main tool for Tableau. It is a data analytics package with superior visualization capabilities. Tableau Desktop is the software used in the described project.

  2. Tableau Prep Builder is a tool to prepare data for further processing: cleaning and organisation. Tableau Prep Builder is a supporting tool for Tableau Desktop and is recommended for pre-processing of data for further analysis. For example, it allows accumulation of financial data from different sources, e.g. different internal reports, external and internal datasets, etc. Working with Tableau Prep Builder is not reviewed in the suggested activity, but is a useful tool to use in accounting subjects with data analytics component.

  3. It is suggested to organise an introductory workshop at the start of the project to provide basic training in Tableau. While some students may be familiar with Tableau and can have working knowledge in Tableau, this workshop ensures that all students have basic knowledge and skills to proceed with the project and achieve satisfactory results.


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Correspondence to Maria Prokofieva.

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Prokofieva, M. Using dashboards and data visualizations in teaching accounting. Educ Inf Technol 26, 5667–5683 (2021).

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  • Visualization
  • Data analytics
  • Tableau
  • Dashboard
  • Accounting education