Making a difference with Oracle Academy
The spotlight is on Joshua Dennis, Senior Lecturer, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University Bloomington, United States.
Indiana University Bloomington, with 40,000 students, is the flagship campus of a public university with eight campuses throughout the state. Indiana University (IU) offers over 200 majors in all disciplines and consistently ranks in the top 10 of business journal and recruiter lists.
The Kelley School of Business at IU Bloomington teaches business education to 10,000 students in 20 majors including a Bachelor of Science in Business (BSB) in Accounting and Bachelor of Science in Information Systems, which are ranked as some of the best programs in the nation.*
The Bachelor of Science in Accounting prepares students for careers in auditing, corporate accounting, management consulting, and taxation, very often with accounting firms, nationally and internationally.
Joshua Dennis teaches Accounting Information Systems at Kelley’s Department of Operations and Decision Technologies. With a previous career in Big 4 Consulting and as a Chief Financial Officer, Dennis has experience in financial systems consulting, ERP, project management, business process improvement, venture capital/private equity, public accounting, tax, change management, and mid-size company business requirements.
Dennis championed IU Bloomington to become an Oracle Academy member so the Kelley Business School would be able to access Oracle NetSuite free of charge for use in its accounting courses.
Oracle Academy: Can you tell us about your Accounting Information Systems class?
Joshua Dennis: My Accounting Information Systems class includes an examination of ERP accounting platforms, using Oracle NetSuite as a prime example of software predominantly used by small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). I teach undergraduates and also graduates joining for one year in the 3/2 MBA program that cuts a year out of the MBA process before entering the workplace. The 3/2 MBA additionally qualifies them to sit for the CPA Exam.
Oracle Academy: Why NetSuite?
Joshua Dennis: Because it is wonderful software! NetSuite is intuitive, easy to use, and runs in a browser. Everything about it is cool. In my class we get into the entire business case around it as well as its use in accounting, especially in the SMB market.
Oracle Academy: Great! And how did Indiana University become an Oracle Academy member?
Joshua Dennis: When I joined in 2016, IU was already using NetSuite, and my arrival coincided with Oracle acquiring the software. When that happened, it was requisite to become an Oracle Academy member to benefit from the free offering. I championed that cause, braving the reefs and shoals of the approval process in a vast university of 112,000 students and 21,000 teachers.
We’ve been using it ever since. I also champion Oracle Academy within the university, actively promoting its cloud program and database curriculum to other faculty.
Oracle Academy: Who do you teach?
Joshua Dennis: I teach NetSuite to around 500 accounting students a year. That includes pure accounting undergraduates as well as Kelley Business School graduates who have stayed on for a fifth year to earn a master’s degree prior to going into the workforce.
Since our accounting program is ranked fourth in the country, I feel a huge sense of responsibility to deliver great content. NetSuite is fantastic, as I said, as a single system for running a business in the cloud.
Oracle Academy: And do you introduce them to other ERP accounting platforms?
Joshua Dennis: Yes, I give them both NetSuite and one other ERP system, but qualify the two. I point out that NetSuite is a pure cloud product whereas with other ERP systems, one has to acquire servers, install software, and all that messy stuff.
But above all, I contrast the user experience, emphasizing that the NetSuite interface changes dynamically depending on what role you are in sales, in the warehouse, or in accounting. I explain that NetSuite, being cloud based, has become an affordable ERP choice for mid-sized companies.
Oracle Academy: Can you tell us how you deliver NetSuite?
Joshua Dennis: To set the scene, I use NetSuite to showcase how accounting applications are at the core of every organization's enterprise systems. Then I go into a broader understanding of the relationship between IT and the rest of the business.
My curriculum is self-developed, clearly based on the entire NetSuite platform. We follow basic business cycles, such as Purchase-to-Pay, Order-to-Cash, along with internal controls, the accounting cycle, role-based security, master data management―all of this tied back to NetSuite.
In terms of projects, students are required to think through how they would implement NetSuite for a company. They think through the accounting and general business requirements, take what they’ve learned in NetSuite and develop a project plan.
Oracle Academy: Excellent initiative. What are the career opportunities for your graduates?
Joshua Dennis: Believe it or not, almost all students receive job offers before graduation. Most of them have done one or two summer internships over their four years and most end up as full-time employees of those firms. It has a lot to do with Indiana University’s strong ranking and general reputation as well as an incredible recruiting engine.
On any given day you will find numerous recruiters from major national or international companies on the campus, as well as smaller-sized firms. It’s an incredibly robust market for accountants today and I tell students they are coming out of school at the best moment in the history of capitalism to find a job. The starting salaries are very impressive.
At IU we highly value the relationship and support we get from Oracle Academy.
Oracle Academy: Awesome. What interests and hobbies do you have outside of teaching?
Joshua Dennis: I have two boys, and I am an avid sailor, play the bass, and I’m a big fan of the IU men’s soccer team, who have more national championships than any other school in the United States.
I began sailing when growing up in the Detroit area, taking 40-50-foot boats out on the Great Lakes. Nowadays, with Indiana being landlocked, I sail 20-foot dinghies and take part every Sunday, when I can, in races on local lakes. It’s a passion.
Apart from that, I consult, have a small company, and do a lot of teaching; I’m kept busy!
Thank you, Joshua Dennis, for your passion for Oracle Academy and for preparing your students to make a positive impact.