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The New Accountant

USC Leventhal partners with KPMG to create new Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics program

August 16, 2017
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The USC Leventhal School of Accounting and USC Marshall School of Business are taking the education of auditors into the data age.

USC is among the select group of nine top accounting and business schools partnering with U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP in its new Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program.

“This program enables students to obtain a working knowledge of how to analyze the vast arrays of data that exist within a company and its economic environment,” said John Owens, program director and professor of the practice of accounting. “The audit profession and every industry that we encounter is rapidly progressing in utilizing this data to make better business decisions, to identify and correct problems, and to generally chart stronger and more fact-based directions than ever before.”

A first-of-its-kind collaboration, the program will offer education and hands-on experience for some of the nation’s most qualified accounting students employed by KPMG and other firms. KPMG will sponsor 15 students with full scholarships, and Leventhal will actively recruit qualified students who are able to secure summer/spring internships at mid-tier and Big 4 accounting firms to join the program.

“We are thrilled to participate with KPMG in this groundbreaking program which is innovating at the forefront of technological change to prepare accounting students for the demands of professional practice,” said William W. Holder, Dean of Leventhal. “With KPMG’s knowledge and guidance, the program will offer a state-of-the-art curriculum that puts our students on a path to long-term success.”

Bridging the Gap

While the Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics (MAcc D+A) maintains a firm foundation in accounting, audit and financial reporting, it goes a step further with direct training in data and analytics and expansion of IT capabilities so that graduates can link the worlds of business and data and manage the systems that tie them together in a client environment.

The MAcc D+A will take advantage of two highly rated and prominent programs: the USC Leventhal School of Accounting and the Data Sciences and Operations Department within the USC Marshall School of Business.

“We are thrilled to participate with KPMG in this groundbreaking program which is innovating at the forefront of technological change to prepare accounting students for the demands of professional practice. With KPMG’s knowledge and guidance, the program will offer a state-of-the-art curriculum that puts our students on a path to long-term success.” -William W. Holder, Dean of USC Leventhal

“The DSO department and the Master of Science in Business Analytics program are proud to be part of the new master program developing a new type of accountant who can bring expertise in business analytics to the field,” said Yehuda Bassok, chairman of DSO and professor of data sciences and operations. “We believe that this new trend of integrating accounting with business analytics will change the field of accounting and I am sure that Marshall, the Leventhal School of Accounting and DSO will lead this exciting change.”

Coursework will include Audit, IT Audit and Security, Advanced Systems, Data Visualization, Data Warehousing, SQL, Professional Responsibilities in Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis and Analytics for Detecting Financial Reporting Fraud.

Some courses will integrate KPMG's audit software or case study materials and data sets. The MAcc D+A students will share classes with MAcc and MBA students.

A formal online course will connect students' classroom learning with their spring semester internships, thereby enriching both experiences. After the internships, students will engage in an “Innovation Lab” to enhance their critical-thinking skills and generation of ideas and applications.

‘Best of Both Worlds’

The Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics program launched in 2017 with two universities, The Ohio State University and Villanova, and follows with USC and six others in fall 2018.

“KPMG’s expanded investment in the data and analytics program demonstrates the firm’s commitment to the future of the audit and tax professions,” said Frank Casal, Vice Chair – Audit. “We’re pleased to include prestigious institutions like the University of Southern California, who share this focus and are equally passionate about their students building advanced skills in accounting, tax and data analytics that they can bring into the marketplace.”

Daryn Kuhlman, currently a senior at LMU, is one of the 15 fully funded KPMG students already accepted for the inaugural class. “When I learned that USC and KPMG were offering a cutting-edge program that would not only teach me skills that would help me in my career, but also allow me to get a master’s degree, it seemed to be the best of both worlds,” she said.

Any way you analyze it, the MAcc D+A adds up. Owens said, “The Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program, along with the hands-on internship experience embedded in it, is the best preparation for the audit profession that I have ever seen.”

For more information on this program, click here.