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Accountancy Curriculum

The MSA is a 10-course program, supplemented by up to three pre-program courses. Because our students arrive with different backgrounds, we customize the curriculum as needed to suit each student. What follows is an overview of a standard curriculum.

Foundation Work

 

Pre-Program Foundation (nine credits)

To prepare for the MSA, students may be required to take up to three pre-program courses:

GR521 Managerial Statistics

This course covers basic statistical techniques in a managerial setting featuring case studies and conceptual exercises. Statistical topics include effective use of numerical and graphical summaries, estimation and confidence intervals, hypothesis testing and regression. A few more advanced topics such as data mining, the Bayesian paradigm and principles of model building may be encountered during projects.

GR522 Economic Environment of the Firm

This course examines managerial decision making from an economic standpoint. The first half (microeconomics) explores how prices, wages, and profits are determined in market economies; the advantages and disadvantages of unfettered competition; and the impact of government intervention on market outcomes. The second half (macroeconomics) investigates the factors influencing Gross Domestic Product, interest rates, unemployment, inflation, and growth; the causes of the business cycle; the role of the federal government and the Federal Reserve in stabilizing the economy; the impact of technology on productivity and growth; and the influence of international trade and finance on economic activity.

GR525 Financial Statement Analysis for Decision Making

The objective of this course is to provide an applied understanding of the finance concepts and tools of analysis used in measuring firm performance and in making investment decisions that create value. This will be achieved through instructor conferences and the use of cases. The main concepts we will cover are financial statements, ratio analysis, financial planning, the time value of money, capital budgeting, capital structure, the cost of capital and asset valuation.

MSA Curriculum

The MSA is a 30-credit-hour program consisting of:  9 credits of accounting foundation coursework (this may be waived and replaced with open electives based on prior coursework); 12 required credit hours in core accountancy courses; and 9 credits of accounting and non-accounting elective courses.

 

Accounting Foundation Courses (9 credits required)

If approved by Admissions Committee, may be replaced with open electives for students with an accounting background.

AC611 Financial Accounting Problems I

Deals with the measurement and reporting problems of various asset and liability accounts, revenues and expenses, and the preparation and interpretation of financial statements at the intermediate financial accounting level. Pronouncements of the AICPA, FASB and other authoritative sources are used in instruction.

AC612 Financial Accounting Problems II

Builds upon the areas covered in AC 611 and deals with problems in accounting for items such as corporate debt and investments, pension plans, leases, and income tax allocation at the intermediate financial accounting level. Pronouncements of the AICPA, FASB and other authoritative sources are an integral part of this course.

AC621 Cost Accounting

Covers basic concepts and techniques of cost accounting. Topics include cost accumulation procedures, cost-volume-profit analysis, and operational budgeting. Explores the analysis and presentation of information from a behavioral as well as a quantitative perspective.

Core Courses (12 Credits Required)

Substitutions to the following standard courses may be approved by the Admissions Committee based on each student's prior coursework:

AC730 Business Processes and Systems Assessment

Examines typical organizational business processes and the information technology that enables those processes. Reviews qualities of information, including those established by authoritative bodies, to assess the ability of information systems to support the business processes and an organization's management. Focuses on financial and accounting information systems (AIS) and explores several typical AIS application areas. Issues addressed include the effect of emerging technologies on business processes and their related information systems; control issues pertaining to these systems; and the implications of technology-enabled organizational changes on systems design, implementation and management. Students will be introduced to state-of-the-art tools and techniques for examining business processes and information systems and will engage in a project at a company site.

AC741 Financial Statement Auditing

This course is designed to provide a foundation in financial statement auditing. Class sessions cover the economic and social justifications for auditing; the connections between enterprise strategy, business processes, business risks, financial measures, and the audit; the role of internal control in auditing; the technical details of audit planning, testing, and reporting; and the social responsibility of the auditor. Investors, analysts, and the public face a significant problem in assessing the quality of the financial information that an enterprise reports as it goes about its activities. Arguably, these parties can make better decisions if they can trust the executives and management of the enterprise and if they are reasonably sure that the information they encounter is of high quality. One way to gain both that trust and that assurance is by examining the quality of the information through the process of financial statement auditing.

AC750 Federal Income Taxation

Examines individuals, C corporations, S corporations, and partnerships as taxable entities. Topics include the philosophy of taxation, income determination, deductions and credits, acquisition and disposition of property, and related gains and losses. Additional topics, including distribution from and liquidation of business entities, tax planning, and tax research, may be covered.

AC793 Professional Accounting Research and Policy

Introduces graduate students to professional accounting research. Focuses on how research can help address measurement, uniformity and disclosure issues that regularly arise in business. Reviews and critiques research works and their implications for the practice of accounting. Investigates ethical perspectives and emerging professional issues. Evaluates policy formulation of professional accounting standards and their impact on business reporting. Students research, analyze, develop and present proposed solutions to accounting and related business cases found in practice using modern information technology resources.

Elective Courses (nine credits required)

The electives must include a minimum of six credit hours in accountancy courses at the 700-level or higher. The remaining credit hours may be in other accountancy courses at the 700-level or higher, or in other graduate courses at the 600-level or above, where appropriate prerequisites have been met.

Shown below are accounting courses that may be chosen to fulfill these elective credits:

AC590 Internship in Accounting Practice

A 1-credit field-based educational experience for Bentley students with the opportunity to (1) observe management practices in the accounting are a, (2) apply hands-on accounting practices and procedures learned in classes, (3) develop professional skills, (4) test aptitude and personal preferences for various career directions, and (5) establish a basis for future professional employment. This Internship option is available to Bentley graduate students. Students must work a minimum of 15 hours per week for a minimum of ten weeks at an organization and position suitable for the individual student's field learning experience and complete specific requirements during their Internship. A student is limited to doing one such 1-credit internship before degree completion.

AC701 Internship in Accounting Practice

Affords students the opportunity to enhance self-realization and direction by integrating prior classroom study with experience in professional employment. Each student is required to prepare a research paper addressing a contemporary accounting issue and a paper on the work experience, under the supervision of a faculty adviser.

AC713 Advanced Topics in Financial Accounting

Studies issues related to specialized topics such as partnerships, consolidations and business combinations, foreign operations, fiduciaries and not-for-profit organizations.

AC714 Business Reporting and Analysis

Examines current financial reporting and disclosure practices and financial reporting trends. Develops the student's skills in financial reporting measures for solvency, earnings, investment and forecasting implications. Looks at internal measures useful for management decision-making. Discusses behavioral implications of internal and external reporting through use of current research findings.

AC722 Advanced Topics in Managerial Accounting

Provides advanced treatment of cost accounting topics, including activity-based costing and activity-based management, capital budgeting, inventory control methods, linear programming techniques, transfer pricing, and additional facets of process costing and variance analysis.

AC731 Advanced AIS: Modeling Effective Accounting Systems

This course, designed for students who will be accountants and information systems professionals, shows how they can help management use information technology to effectively control the execution of business activities, while capturing accurate and complete data about those activities in real-time. Students will model, analyze and evaluate accounting information systems that support intra- and inter-organizational business processes as well as management control and decision-making. Students will learn to determine and document user requirements, communicate results, and support decision-making. By analyzing and discussing case studies, students will develop the ability to identify key issues, wrestle with conflicting information, and formulate appropriate and feasible recommendations. The course incorporates large-scale projects to enrich the student's experience with an appreciation for the accounting challenges and opportunities posed by information technology.

AC742 IT Auditing

Introduces three typical aspects of information technology (IT) audits: the audits of computerized information systems, the computer facility, and the process of developing and implementing information systems. Through readings, case studies, exercises, and discussion, students will learn to plan, conduct, and report on these three types of IT audits. Additional topics may include challenges posed by emerging information technologies, advanced audit software, business continuity planning, and the role of the IT auditor as an advisor to management.

AC744 Internal Auditing

Explores in detail the duties and responsibilities of the internal auditor. Topics covered include the organization of the internal audit department, staff qualifications and development, long- and short-range audit plans, and the elements of internal auditing (i.e., preliminary survey, audit programs, fieldwork activities, reporting and management review).

AC753 Tax Factors in Business Decisions

Examines the effect of taxation on business decisions and accounting policies. Topics include choice of business entity, valuation of assets and related cost recovery methods, and compensation issues related to equity-holders and employees. Tax planning and tax research will be integrated into all topics.

AC766 Risk and Performance Measurement

The course presents techniques for identifying and measuring business risk and for devising strategies incorporating risk analysis into strategic planning. Provides students with a framework to develop a company's enterprise risk management process. The course ties strategic objectives, risks, internal controls, and critical success factors to business performance measurements to evaluate an entity's progress toward achieving strategic goals. Students investigate the design and implementation of a performance measurement system based on the entity's strategic plan, identifying relevant leading indicators and appropriate industry benchmarks. A comprehensive project provides students with experience in designing or evaluating a company's risk management system.

AC771 Governmental Accounting, Reporting and Auditing

Deals with the measurement and financial reporting problems unique to federal, state and local governments. Covers various aspects of financial statement preparation and interpretation. Reference is made to pronouncements of the AICPA, FASB, GASB and other authoritative sources. Budgeting, budgetary control, and public sector auditing are introduced.

AC772 Principles of Fraud Investigation

Exposes students to the environment of financial fraud, with a focus on asset misappropriation and fraud perpetrated against the organization. Explores the prevailing theories of criminal behavior related to white collar crime, as well as the basics of the regulatory, criminal justice and civil justice systems, relevant federal and state statutes and regulations, and common law related to fraud. Covers fraud prevention, and detection and investigation tools related to asset misappropriation. Also introduces the digital environment of fraud, including identity theft, cyber crimes and internet forensics.

AC773 Fraud and Forensic Accounting

Focuses on complex frauds (including financial statement fraud, tax fraud and money laundering), and on non-fraud forensic accounting engagements (including cases of patent infringement, commercial damages, and anti-trust.) Covers related investigation methods and legal issues, valuation models, reporting and communicating findings, testifying as an expert witness, and other litigation advisory services.

AC781 International Dimensions of Accounting

Examines major international dimensions of financial and managerial accounting. Discusses national and cultural influences on accounting and on the accounting profession. Investigates financial regulation and varying financial reporting standards in selected foreign countries. Analyzes methods of translation and accounting for gains and losses from exchange rate fluctuations. Introduces students to managerial accounting issues raised by international business.