The first accounting course should do more than equip students with technical knowledge and skills. It should also engender respect for the accounting profession and help students explore accounting-related careers. Above all, it should help students develop intentional learning skills and become life-long learners. To help students achieve these goals, we developed an exercise that incorporates the five-part intentional learning model created by Francis et al. (1995). Students identify a professional to interview about the uses and limitations of financial statements, conduct the interview, and then reflect on the experience using an instrument with reflective prompts.

In this paper we discuss our motivation for the exercise, review the literature that guided our use of the exercise, and use qualitative research techniques to assess its effectiveness for achieving objectives of the first course. We conclude that the exercise is highly effective in helping students achieve intentional learning in the first accounting course and in promoting respect for the profession. It is effective in helping students identify accounting-related careers, but less effective in prompting them to consider the suitability of such careers for themselves. We provide recommendations to improve the exercise and address potential concerns that instructors may face as they implement this effective learning strategy.

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