5 Questions with Kristie Dewald

Kristie Dewald with a blurred background, wearing a white blazer

March 14, 2024 - 9:30am

After teaching for two decades, Kristie Dewald, a VIU Accounting Professor and Chartered Professional Accountant, took on the challenge of co-authoring a textbook. Advanced Financial Accounting in Canada, first edition was published by Pearson Canada in 2022 and is co-authored by Nathalie Johnstone, an accounting professor at the University of Saskatchewan, and Cheryl Wilson, a professor at Durham College in Ontario.

Her contributions to the text draw on her experiences teaching graduate and undergraduate students, her involvement in teaching and developing material for the Chartered Professional Accountants’ professional education program, and her years as a practicing accountant.

We caught up with Dewald to learn more about the textbook and her career at VIU.   

Can you share a few details about yourself and how you came to teach at VIU?

I have an undergraduate degree in commerce with an accounting major from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master’s in Educational Technology from the University of British Columbia. I am also a Chartered Professional Accountant.

Fairly early in my career I was offered a position as a teaching professor at the University of Alberta School of Business. It was a wonderful job and a great school, and I taught there for 13 years. I have also had many roles in the CPA professional program for the past 20 years including facilitating courses, authoring materials and marking the national final exam.

Moving to Vancouver Island was a joint decision that my husband and I made. We were both at a point in our careers where we were interested in trying something new. My husband had taught at VIU during the summers of 2014 and 2015 and really liked both VIU and Nanaimo. So, he suggested we move here. I am glad that we did. My experience at VIU has been really positive.

Tell us about your book, and what inspired you to write it?

Advanced Financial Accounting in Canada, which is published by Pearson Canada, is a collaborative effort. I wrote this book with two co-authors: Nathalie Johnstone, and Cheryl Wilson,

There wasn’t a single motivating factor that triggered the desire to write this book. Rather, there were several favourable conditions that led my co-authors and I to believe that an unmet need existed for an easy-to-read textbook that focuses on core advanced financial accounting topics without overloading students with nonessential concepts and stories.

One of the main factors we considered was that there was only one advanced financial accounting text in the market.  Despite having a monopoly, several schools had not adopted this book.  I think it was a matter that “one size does not fit all”.  We wanted to write a book that would approach the content differently and that we believed would better meet the needs of students and instructors.

There were also personal factors that also enabled me to invest the time needed to write a good book. First, I was on a year off from the University of Alberta and had few other commitments. By fortunate coincidence, Nathalie Johnstone called me and asked if I would join her as a co-author on an advanced financial accounting textbook. She and I had previously collaborated on cases for the course and often exchanged materials, so I knew she and I would  take a similar approach to things. I felt that with my experience as a practicing CPA and years of university teaching experience behind me, I could make a meaningful contribution as a co-author. So, I signed on to the project.

How has the market responded to your first edition?

Like most products, textbook sales go through an introduction stage where sales are low, followed by a growth stage where sales rise rapidly. I didn’t know what to expect for sales of the first edition. I thought that it would be the instructors who were not currently using a text that would be the first to adopt our book. However, what we have discovered is that some instructors have dropped our competitor’s book and adopted ours. Based on the response from the marketplace, we have been asked to write a second edition. So, I think it is fair to say that the response from the marketplace has been very positive.

What advice would you give other aspiring authors?

The first thing that I would tell people who are considering writing a book is that you really need to be intrinsically motived to author a book from beginning to end. I estimate that my co-authors and I put in more than 2,000 hours to write this book. You are also always working towards tight publisher deadlines and you don’t want to let your co-authors or the publisher down, so you need to be very dedicated and disciplined. 

My second point is related to the first point. That is, don’t do it for the money.  I had colleagues tell me I was crazy to take this on.  The Canadian market is a small market, and this title is targeted to fourth year accounting majors – an even smaller market. But I am proud of what we have produced. If you embark on an authorship journey with the attitude that simply publishing a book is an end-in-itself, you will find success in the venture.

Lastly, you need thick skin. No matter how good a book is, there will always be people who are quick to criticize what you write. Sometimes it’s because they wish that they had written the book, rather than you. So, my advice is to gracefully accept the thoughts and opinions of reviewers and critics. Take what you feel are good recommendations and ignore the ones that do not help you make meaningful edits.

What’s next for you?

As I mentioned, the second edition is underway.  We also plan to add videos and other resources with this edition, so, this will be my focus for the upcoming year. Beyond that, I don’t know what the future holds. 

Tags: Accounting | Teaching and Learning

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