Accounting Intuition: “If we make the principles of accounting accessible to everyone, then not only will that benefit those individuals but society as a whole.”
Accounting Intuition is a finance training business specialising in using visualisation and simulation techniques to help people develop an intuitive understanding of financial principles. Based in London, it is part of the Metapraxis Group, a provider of management information software powering some of the world’s most complex companies. Accounting Intuition was created in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and their learning content is fully CIMA-accredited. Alison spoke to Director Matt Bittlestone about demystifying accounting and how it can empower learners.
I moved to Metapraxis in 2015 to relaunch the Accounting Intuition set of online courses and corporate training days. A lot of the content of the courses was actually created by my father who was the primary expert in developing the courses and the innovator behind the approach that we take to teaching accounting. We took a decision to stop focusing on the corporate training and to focus on packaging the content in a way that’s user-friendly online to allow people to take it remotely. We were very keen to keep it free so that everyone could benefit from it but also to try and draw an income from it. That’s how we came to be working with Alison.
We publish courses that focus on is the principles of accounting. Not necessarily how exactly to do a journal or a transaction, but to give a sense of how, at a conceptual level, accounting actually works. A lot of accountants really struggle with how, for example, the profit and loss statement is connected to the balance sheet is connected to the cash flow because typically all of those are presented separately and taught separately. People don’t necessarily have a joined up understanding. What we’ve done is built our courses around interactive models that allow people to visualise accounting as a simple connected system of water pipes and tanks. Everyone can understand water being stored in tanks and flowing between pipes, and that’s really all accounting boils down to. We’re trying to demystify accounting through the use of visualisation and technology and give everyone who needs it a really solid understanding of the principles. For people who like to understand things from a systematic, or a conceptual, basis it’s really valuable.
I came across Alison as part of our assessing the online learning marketplace. When we were considering our options, we wanted to partner with a provider who would keep the material free, which was very important for us, and also one that was reputable. Alison seemed like the best fit for what we wanted really. For us, there’s been two benefits to working with Alison. One has been the relationship with the experts within Alison. Their advice and help in tweaking the content of the courses and making sure that they’re really appealing to users has been useful. They also make sure that the platform is regularly maintained and updated, and kept leading in class. Also the wider reach that Alison provides, in terms of its online presence and its marketing, allows us to get more users than we would otherwise be able to.
A lot of the motivation for the courses came from the aftermath of the financial crisis. My father and the team at Metapraxis passionately believe that accounting was a contributor to that, in that not enough warnings were given and the way that things were being accounted for had gotten unnecessarily complex. The project’s vision was to try to demystify accounting. There was a line of thinking that, if we can try to make the principles of accounting as widely understood as possible and accessible to everyone, then not only will that benefit those individuals but it may actually benefit society as a whole.
If you’re interested in publishing a course with Alison, I would say it’s worth persevering. We’ve got some course-specific software and so, as a result, the migrating over of the content to Alison took a little bit longer than for providers who may not have their own bespoke software, but it was definitely worth it. Like with anything there’s always going to be a few little issues but definitely persevere. Everyone that I worked with from Alison’s technical team have been very supportive.
In my experience with online learning, I find if you can do it with someone else you can push each other and that can help. Try to have that social element if you can. Make time for it because, though things have changed slightly with the pandemic, generally life is always hectic and people can forget to make time to actually learn new things, which is beneficial for your mental health but also to progress your career. And if you like a course give it a high rating and a review!