New Course: Accounting Data and Analytics

What data points do COVID outbreaks and rat sightings in New York have in common? How are draft round choice, position, and lifetime earnings correlated in professional sports? How about a custom map that shows how much each section spends at a sporting event?

These are just a few topics explored in the School of Accounting’s newest course offering: Accounting Data and Analytics. The target audience for the course series is Masters of Accounting students, but some MBAs and MSFs take it because the information is so relevant.

The course package demonstrates Lundquist College’s commitment to innovation in experiential learning. It also brings together students from a variety of disciplines to access that in-demand additional skill.

“One of the major developments in the field of accounting has been the emergence over the past five years or so of accountants using data a lot more in their work,” said Porter faculty member Stephanie Peel. and practice teacher, who developed the courses. for the School of Accounting using his 30 years of experience at PwC, whose accounting data and analysis was a signature feature.

“Data is so critical to the firms that accountants work for and with,” said Peel, adding that students will use this training in audit firms, in tax work and tax advice, and in work. businesses, including the preparation of financial statements.

Increasingly, said Peel, large public accounting firms are recognizing the need for everyone in an organization to be data literate and able to use these data analytics tools.

Peel describes this as a case where the industry has a need and the Lundquist College of Business is responding with a pipeline of qualified and up-to-date students in this field.

“We built a series of courses from scratch,” she said. “There’s literally a manual for that right now.”

Accounting Data and Analysis I is taught through the lens of different accounting specializations, such as internal auditing, external auditing, and management accounting. These are positions that many students will hold or work directly in their careers.

Using real products and real sales that have been anonymized, students get the data, clean the data, complete the analysis, and see if the results are expected or lead to surprises. The course also uses the Tableau data visualization tool.

Course II in the series, says Peel, dives deeper into technology: How can you optimize data technology to produce more informative results for stakeholders? A major project for the intermediate course revolves around a real-world scenario: an employee leaves with a half-finished project. How does the team evaluate the work and make adjustments to complete the job?

Course III covers the fundamentals of more engaging analysis through storytelling with data, such as how to make the best choices based on what we understand about how the brain and eye work together to interpret size, length and color. It also delves into the features of products like Excel that allow the end user to make decisions to create their end product in a more flexible way.

The courses build on each other, and the three-course series for graduate students is offered in the fall, winter, and spring.

This and other new offerings are a comprehensive accounting education experience, where top-performing students have the opportunity to be fast-tracked into Lundquist College of Business a full year ahead of their contemporaries and complete both their bachelor’s degree in accounting and their master’s degree in accounting in just four years.

“Great accounting firms need data-savvy people,” Peel said. “If new graduates come in with this knowledge, they are ahead of their peers. We give students much deeper technical skills.

—AnneMarie Knepper-Sjoblom ’05, Lundquist College Communications

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