How’s this for creativity? Teaching accounting, auditing, and IT through a murder mystery?

I am enjoying the idea of teaching accounting or economics or other complex stuff through some creative method. Have had several posts on the topic. So intrigued by the idea that I’ve started producing cartoons. (See my other blog, once upon internal control.)

How’s this for an idea? Writing a full-length murder mystery novel with the goal of teaching auditing, taxes, IT and forensic accounting. That has been the approach of Prof. Larry Crumbley. In his spare time he has written 13 educational novels. Started back in 1988.


Feature length cartoon up – discussion of bank reconciliations and offering count in a local church

Some short scenes have been combined into a 9 minute cartoon along with an intro and extro. The first of several feature-length cartoons is available on my other blog, Once Upon Internal Control. This one discusses some creative internal controls over cash and a few ideas on how to maintain security over the offering until it is counted by the count team. More to follow!

Cartoon can be found at:

Once Upon Internal Control – part 1


Conclusion to the tale of Southside Community Church – cartoon #4 posted

 Posted at Once Upon Internal Control: The exit interview with the reporter who was investigating reports of extravagant spending. Final cartoon in the tale of the church that did internal controls well can be found here.

All four cartoons plus the intro will be rolled into a feature cartoon.

Cartoon posted to illustrate good controls protect the innocent from false accusations

I have a new cartoon posted at Once Upon Internal Control showing good internal controls in a local church. The dramatization is based on a reporter calling for comment about rumors of a high-flying lifestyle.

Cartoon called: When a reporter calls, good procedures save the day. Visit the other blog for the cartoon. I will be posting cartoons there.

Once Upon Internal Control: The Cartoon – chapter 1, bank reconciliations

A cartoon that discusses some internal controls over bank reconciliations in a local church:


The cartoon is based on the book Once Upon Internal Control – A tale of good and bad ways to implement internal controls in a local church, written by James Ulvog, CPA.

If you want more detail, the video above is based on the following selection from the book:


Rappin’ economists, round 2. Yes, rapping. Yes, round 2.

The great economists Hayek and Keynes continue their rap encounters. This time they go to a congressional hearing and wind up in a boxing ring.

Check out Fight of the Century at EconStories.


Some of my favorite lines:


Creative visualization – astounding use of a map to show statistical data

(cross-post from Attestation Update)

A graph of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia shows the devastating losses suffered during the advance on Moscow and retreat.  It is the best illustration I’ve seen of creatively presenting a complex body of information.  Dare I say it is a beautiful graph?  Why is this of interest to us?  It shows a powerful way to communicate statistical data.

You can see the graph here at Cartographia.  Click on the map to enlarge.

One sentence of explanation allows you to interpret the entire view – (more…)

Creative visualizations-military history illustration

(cross-post from Attestation Update)

I’ve been interested lately in creative ways to show data.  We accountants are great at absorbing a lot of numbers and finding the patterns.  Other people who don’t have our mind-set can not see what we see.  We need to find new ways to explain things.

How would you summarize the location and intensity of wars over the last several centuries?  One of my favorite historians would do that verbally over the course of a full-length book or a dozen columns.  (And I’d love every word of it too!)

Jordi Colomer has done so in a 5 minute video:


Why are cartoons such a popular explanation of economics right now?

Amity Shlaes, in her current Forbes column, Economics by Cartoon, points out that the cartoon Quantitative Easing Explained and the rap debate between Keynes and Hayek have received 3.5 million and 1.7 million hits on YouTube, respectively.  I’ve mentioned these videos here on this blog and here on my other blog.  (Just checked – the QE cartoon is up to 4.0 million visits.)

Over 5.7 million hits on YouTube video explanations of what is going on?  Why?


Economic development makes every country healthier and richer

Incredible visualization of 200 years of economic development and improvements in health around the world.  A professor creates an entertaining visual of how health and wealth has increased in 200 countries over 2 centuries.  Does it all in under 5 minutes.  (more…)

Easy-listening explanation of Quantitative Easing

Quantitative Easin’ is a new song in easy listening style that explains what the Fed is planning for the very near future.  Fun explanation.  Watch out for the depressing graphs though.

The singer, Curtis Threadneedle, is on facebook here.

Update: Fed announced the QE2 will be for $600,000,000,000 spread in $75B purchases per month of longer-term treasuries. Typo in title of this post corrected.

Rapping Economists debate how to improve the economy? Rapping? On economics?

As news reports indicate the Fed plans a half trillion dollar quantitative easing, it is a good time to revisit the Hayek and Keynes debate.  If you would like a rap explanation, check this out: “Fear the Boom and Bust”. Yes, Hayek presented in rap. (more…)