Revisions to graduate-level course prep students for evolving accounting world

ACCT 8021 students learn data analytics and robotic process automation tools

The latest round of revisions to Management Control Systems (ACCT 8021), a graduate-level accounting course, exposes students to data analytics and robotic process automation tools in the context of management accounting.

Natalia Mintchik, PhD, CPA, CISA, associate professor of accounting, made the most recent adjustments for fall 2021 semester.

“The particular tools are Tableau (data visualization), Alteryx (data wrangling) and UiPath (robotic process automation),” Mintchik said. “I am using resources and materials from UiPath Academic Alliance, Alteryx SparkED and from the Ernst and Young Foundation.”

A woman in a black jacket smiles.

Natalia Mintchik, PhD, CPA, CISA, associate professor of accounting.

ACCT 8021 provides students with insights on potential career tracks in corporate accounting, as well as recent trends and innovations in the accounting field. The course is a blend of theoretical readings and practical applications. Students are tasked with:

  • Reading and discussing professional literature
  • Analyzing case studies
  • Effectively using a range of technological tools

In the course syllabus, Mintchik notes that work on case studies will enhance “application skills as defined in specifications for the CPA and CMA exams” while hoping students will be able to “apply knowledge and skills acquired in this course beyond the classroom in your professional environment.”

According to the Institute of Management of Accountants, 32% of accounting and financial services companies have implemented big data into their operations, while 35% plan to implement to do so. For data visualization, the rate is 27% for implementation and 37% for planned implementation. The spread is a bit starker for automation, with 22% of companies having completed implementation and 42% of companies planning to implement automation.

Student feedback has been positive, according to Mintchik.

“I had a student with an undergraduate degree in statistics who said he was very savvy with technology but not familiar with Alteryx at all,” Mintchik said. “This student got job offers from three out of the big four public accounting firms because of his background and expertise.”

Margaret Reed, PhD, CPA, CMA, department head, professor-educator of accounting, is excited about the modifications Mintchik has made to ACCT 8021.

“I know that our graduate students are ready to add these tools to their portfolio of skills and that their future employers will fully take advantage of these advanced skills,” Reed said. “It has been clear that the accounting profession wants to add this information to future certification processes, and we want our students to be prepared to succeed.”

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