Bentley Collaborates with KPMG to Transform Accounting with More Analytics
The advent of big data, analytics, blockchain and machine learning is creating exciting changes in the field of accounting — and requiring new skills. Bentley University is working with Big Four accounting firm KPMG to develop curriculum for a new Master’s in Accounting program with a focus on analytics.
Launching in fall 2022, the MS in Accounting is a STEM-designated program that prepares students for the newest opportunities and challenges within the accounting and other financial information professions, enhanced by coursework utilizing information technology and data analytics. Students choose from five concentrations matching their future-focused career goals: Assurance, Advisory, Corporate Financial Reporting, Analytics and Information Systems, with options targeted to prepare for the CPA, CISA, CMA, CIA or other certifications.
Since its launch in 2017, the KPMG Program has been a collaborative first-of-its-kind effort with pioneering business schools across the United States. The program prepares students to hit the ground running in today’s data age by providing specialized skills for practical use of the latest analytics technology needed in today’s data-driven accounting environment.
“When developing the new MS in Accounting, our committee not only looked at the academic requirements of Bentley University but the unrelenting demand from the market and the certification agencies in accounting,” says Len Pepe, director of graduate accounting programs at Bentley. “The seven global accounting firms, and most financial services companies, have business lines set up similar to our concentrations of Assurance, Advisory, Analytics, Information Systems and Corporate Financial Reporting.”
Pepe says that the CPA exam is also instituting similar options in its strategy moving forward starting in 2024. “It made sense that we answer market demand by combining the MS in Accounting Analytics with the MS Accounting and offering concentrations to create a strong value-proposition for our graduate students.”
TECHNOLOGY IN ACTION
EY reports that by combining AI with other technologies, such as robotic process automation, accountants can redirect the time that they used to spend on mundane tasks toward performing high-value, high-impact tasks. But a survey by Deloitte suggests that as companies weave AI into their operations and products, they may encounter a potential roadblock in finding talent. “As the number of AI applications increases, the talent pool may feel somewhat fixed. Clearly, U.S. organizations feel this pressure, as 68 percent perceive the talent gap as moderate-to-extreme.”
Bentley’s customized, technology-oriented program features resources like Alteryx, a limited release cloud-based product to clean and analyze datasets. As an example, Alteryx can be used to identify input issues that may indicate fraud. Students also use Tableau to visualize data to detect anomalies. The Bentley MSA provides students with access to enabling technologies and tools used by seasoned accounting professionals, including IDEA (audit automation), SAP (enterprise resource planning) UiPath (robotic process automation) and Celonis (process mining).
Bentley’s STEM-designated curriculum is one of only a few programs to collaborate with KPMG’s Data and Analytics Program, which provides access to data and case studies as well as KAAP (KPMG Auditing and Analytics Process). The Bentley MSA is the only KPMG program in New England.
“Thanks to the fact that the Bentley MSA is infused with analytics and technology," Pepe says, "graduates are prepared to excel in the rapidly changing accounting profession."