The MICRON accounting system and teaching method have been
founded on points "A" and "B" of the introduction. Whenever possible abstract
accounting concepts have been simplified and the teaching method streamlined to
be as efficient and dynamic as possible. The effectiveness of point "C"
(Instructors that understand and respect this class of owner) is, of course, in
the hands of you, the instructor. If you are interested and want to teach these
people, you will successfully instruct them. If it is a chore you would rather
not do, then no system can motivate your students, and it would be best
if you worked in something else.
MICRON is based upon a few changes in accounting principles that
from some professionals often elicit the same response, "That is not right! "
These professionals are correct if one considers standard accounting rules a
gospel rather than a guide. But, if one looks at the larger aims of accounting -
the accurate registration and representation of business transactions - there
may be more than one way to gain the same result. MICRON is another "way" and
whether dr not it meets "standard accounting principles" is besides the point.
This system works and it is tailored to meet a specific audience who cannot
grasp the complexities of those "standard principles".
The primary simplication in this accounting relates to the
definition of debits and credits. Here, all debits are "more" of something of
value while all credits are "less" of something of value. This is to eliminate
the troublesome redefinition of debit and credit on the liabilities side of the
balance sheet. The change is made possible by a special organization of the
accounts into two distinct groups with two sets of books. This division is
between cash and credit transactions.
The first group of accounts consists of all cash transactions
and is organized into what might be called a large checkbook The second group,
consisting of credit transactions, is in a book or books designed much like
auxiliary accounts payable and accounts receivable books.
The success of MICRON lies in this conceptual and organizational
separation of cash and credit transactions. Prototypes to this system attempted
to unite the two books into one page and' although it is mechanically possible,
the results were not satisfactory It was found that those owners who could not
under stand the unified approach could easily use the separated version that
distinguishes between cash and credit transactions. Therefore, we urge you not
to take a step backwards by using one instead of two books; save yourself the
The teaching method is one based on both individual and class
instruction with a very strong emphasis upon a "trial and error" approach to
understanding. The procedure is to teach basic ideas and the fundamentals of
bookkeeping in a classroom atmosphere and then immediately emerse the owner into
the "practice" by openning the company's books. Follow-up visits check the
students progress and serve as sessions to further explain theory or particular
book entries. As you will see, those owners who have a genuine desire to learn
wild quickly assimilate the material.
It is felt that this quick assimilation is due to two factors.
First, the student is not given time to be bored as he immediately sees and
experiences theory changed into action. Secondly, after only 5 lessons the
student himself becomes the central participant in a very relevant project his
own company This immediate transfer of responsibility from teacher to student
creates a sink or swim situation where the owner realizes that his success rests
totally upon his own abilities. If the instructor makes periodic visits to help
and encourage the student, the student realizes that he has no one to blame but
himself for failure. Therefore, the ultimate success of this system rests upon
the participation and responsibility of the student. We are only trying to "help
him help himself".
Our teaching experience has shown that this process can be
accomplished in an average of 33 hours instruction time. The following line
graph will serve as a guide:
The Teaching Plan
Explanation of the Financial Statements
Explanation of: Transactions
Explanation of the Credit Books and the purchase of the
Explanation of Auxiliary Sections and Review
Openning of the Books, elaboration of the initial Balance
Statement, and entering the first transactions.
8 follow-up visits
Instructions to elaborate Financial Statements
Elaboration of the Financial Statements
Seminar on Financial Analysis
Review and Analysis of Financial Statements
Review transactions during month
Elaboration and analysis of Financial Statements
Sessions should never be more than two hours to avoid losing the
students attention. If the students cannot grasp a point, divide a lesson into
two sessions. Also it is suggested that the classes be held on consecutive days
and that the system be immediately installed. This will insure quick movement
from the theory to the practice.
Before explaining the lesson plan a few other important points
must be mentioned ...
First, it is imperative that each instructor understand the
mechanics of this system perfectly before attempting to teach it.
Included in the "Financial Statements" section of this manual
are a trial balance, beginning and ending balance sheets, and an income
statement for the transactions of "Colombia Industries" during the month of
July. During the lesson, if one follows the commercial movements of this
company, the evolution of the system from the beginning balance sheet to the
elaboration of month end statements will become clear.
Other aids to greater proficiency are provided by the sections
entitled "Additional Controls" and "Odd Entries". However' it is assumed that
the instructor knows or has had experience in accounting. Many small businesses
often conduct transactions that are, to say the least, odd and experience in
accounting comes in handy when deciding what to debit and credit. Such rare
entries become an intellectual challenge but we have yet to find one that can't
be handled In short, be imaginative. MICRON is as effective as its application.
Second, it is preferred that the instructor initially teach two
or three companies on a personal non-classroom basis to gain mastery of the
system and teaching method The benefits of the "trial and error" method of
learning can be of use to teachers as well as students. It should also be
suggested that the number of students per teacher be kept to manageable levels
At month end statement time 4 or 5 companies are a lot.
Third, the teacher must remember that his audience has a short
attention span. Again, we emphasize as many visual and dynamic teaching
techniques as possible. Asking spot questions taking examples from the students'
industries reviewing important concepts from new points of view, etc. will make
a boring session into an exciting one. A good teacher is an actor ... so let
yourself get into it!
Fourth, the selection of students should be a careful process.
Whether the students be business owners, their wives, children or trusted
employees, the first consideration must be desire. Only those who want to learn
will learn and you will be wasting both your time and theirs if there isn't this
important common denominator, For those of you who work with credit related
institutions, it might be noted that those students who are awaiting approval of
loans often have shown more desire before receiving the money than after.
Consequently, we discourage teaching those awaiting loan approval as their
motives might be camouflaged.
If during the preliminary interview the person shows desire and
has a company that might be judged "ongoing" rather than in a "liquidation"
state, the final decision rests upon his intellectual capabilities. Years of
education are not necessarily indicative of a person's ability to assimilate new
ideas, make rational judgments, and show common sense. This is your value
judgment. We urge you not to accept obvious failures for instruction as only
ill-will will result.
Given the classroom situation, it is best to group those of
equal intellectual capabilities. Also if they can be drawn from the same
industrial sector or have similar types of business transactions, the teaching
process will be easier.
Finally, if someone other than the owner is to be bookkeeper, it
is very important that the owner also attend classes and learn some accounting.
Experience has shown that where the owner knows nothing of the accounting, he
often ignores it or may even distrust it.
Fifth, it is recommended that a pencil, not a pen be used to
make all entries. Students are expected to make errors at first (it is part of
the teaching method) and they will probably continue doing so even after the
system is mastered ... we are all human. Just because something is written in
pen does not make it more correct ... only harder to erase.
Now that you have an overview of MICRON and its teaching method,
we have organized approach, lesson, and follow-up outlines that can either serve
as a step by step reference to class instruction or as a guide to one-on-one
teaching. The basic structure of these outlines will be a listing of the
objectives teaching or instructional aids and the recommended procedural
approach to each session.
Included in this manual is a detachable "Teaching and
Instructural Aids" section that will prove to be quite helpful. It consists of a
chronological sequence of questionnaires visual aids, handouts, and examples
that are numbered to conform to the session outlines. They will not only help
explain the system to you and your students, but should add an important visual
dimension to what is generally a very boring subject to teach,
Finally, good lucks You are about to make accounting both
relevant and dynamic to an economic sector that desperately needs the help. You
should also have a very satisfying experience as those you teach will be most
appreciative of your