By his count, Edward Taylor has taught 181 courses at Boston College since 1986. That includes “almost everything in the accounting curriculum,” he notes. Anyone who has gone through the Boston College Master of Science in Accounting Program has looked up from a chair and seen him in front of a lecture room.
But don’t get the impression that Taylor is purely a creature of the classroom. A full-time lecturer, he is also a partner in a Boston-area accounting firm that bears his name, Nardella & Taylor, LLP. And, his experiences in the field are never far from his instruction in class.
His approach is to “bring the world into the classroom.” For example, at the start of every class, he and his students talk about tax-related stories from the Wall Street Journal and other outlets. “There’s almost always something about taxes in the news, pretty much every day,” Taylor points out.
During class, Taylor will draw extensively on the experiences of his clients and their companies (always honoring, of course, a client’s confidentiality). There was the time, for instance, when one of his clients sold a company for $80 million. “In my class, we walked through how the transaction was conducted,” he relates. “Or maybe somebody is being audited by the IRS,” Taylor adds. In that case, he steers the class through issues that arise in the audits.
Taylor says the whole approach of “bringing the world” into class has a notable impact on his students. “It piques their interest, because they’re talking about a real story. That’s what they remember the most. They remember the stories,” he says.
But probably the most memorable part of Federal Taxation is the research paper he assigns six weeks into the semester. The assignment is based on a continually updated case study that Taylor has crafted, centering on a Congressional tax bill. In papers running between 20 and 30 pages, students examine a wide breadth of issues ranging from the Alternative Minimum Tax to the tax consequences of home foreclosure.
The paper becomes a major focus of the semester and helps prepare students for the rigorous CPA exam. “It teaches them how to research too,” says Taylor, who has received numerous teaching awards and honors. “And it gives them an idea of what they have to expect—the real-life problems they’ll be having to deal with in their first jobs as a professional.”
One reflection of Taylor’s enthusiasm is his class preparation. For example, he estimates that he has taught Financial Accounting “at least 25 times” at the Carroll School. Still, he spends four or five hours preparing for every session, tailoring the content to the particular mix of students taking the class in a given semester. “Every class has a different dynamic, a different chemistry,” he explains.
Along with the world, Taylor also brings his love of Boston College into the class. Both he and his wife are alums of the institution, and each of their three children either has graduated from or is attending the University. His office in Fulton Hall is decorated with Boston College banners, pennants, and other displays of maroon and gold.
“It’s not work,” Taylor insists, referring to all he does at the University. Students get the message right away. When they look at a Taylor syllabus, they see these words gracing the top of the first page: “It’s always a great day to be an Eagle.”
Lecturer Edward Taylor has taught a variety of accounting and taxation courses at Boston College since 1986 at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He is a Certified Public Accountant and spent five years with the international accounting firm KPMG. He has taught over 160 courses in topics such as financial accounting, managerial accounting, cost accounting, federal taxation, advanced accounting, auditing and assurance, and consulting services. While teaching at Boston College, Taylor has been simultaneously involved in extensive faculty service with the student body. He is the faculty advisor to the Accounting Academy, and is the coordinator for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. In addition, Taylor advises many students and has assisted them in finding internships and full-time employment.