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Master of Financial Accountabilty (MFAc)


Required Courses

GS/FACC 6000 Introduction to Accountability and Governance
This is the required first course in the Program. As well as introducing the concepts of accountability and governance and providing an overview of the MFAc program, it addresses interpersonal communication skills critical in business environments and reviews basic management competencies needed for careers in management. Students will engage in extensive writing and speaking assignments to prepare them for the other seminars.

GS/FACC 6100 Corporate Responsibility and Ethics
Students acquire the basic knowledge necessary for an understanding of corporate accountability and ethics, including: ethical governance and accountability frameworks, corporate reporting responsibilities, professional and managerial ethical codes and obligations, business ethics and stakeholder management relationships, and ethical decision-making analyses and frameworks. The course also examines the issue of sustainability. Students will look at best practices with respect to published corporate codes of ethics as a basis for designing a generic corporate code of ethics.

GS/FACC 6200 Performance Measurement Systems
This course provides an overview of performance measurement and incentive systems (PMIS) used by companies today. Course objectives include improving students' understanding of management behaviour related to PMIS, presenting examples of financial and non-financial PMIS and providing students with opportunities to develop a PMIS. The course will ensure students understand that any accountability, oversight and governance mechanism is based on a set of performance measures designed by managers and directors.

GS/FACC 6300 Enterprise Risk Management
This course presents an integrated framework of risk management in organizations (ERM), analyzes risks that can be controlled and explains the control policies and procedures available to reduce risks. A major focus includes the likelihood that financial information could be misstated; controls over financial information will be a component of this course.

GS/FACC 6400 Research Methods and Statistical Inference
This course has four principal objectives. The first is to help students take a more structured and scientific approach to the evaluation of data. Managers are literally bombarded with data (the information overload problem) and must be able to filter and assess the quality of such data before inputting into managerial decision models. The ability to evaluate the quality of data and to make generalizations from it using the principles of statistical inference are critical skills for all mangers. The second objective of the course is to show how risk and uncertainty can be incorporated into decision making using techniques such as Probability theory and Bayesian inference. The third objective to show how data is evaluated using the principles of evidence analysis. Managers should be adept in evaluating both the sufficiency and persuasiveness of evidence used in decision models. The fourth objective is to show students how to prepare a research proposal to address any business problem. This is obviously essential for students pursuing the major paper option, but any manager benefits from recognizing when sound methodological principles have been followed in researching a business question. Managers read and possibly rely on many research reports over their careers and it is important to be able to distinguish good research from weak research.

GS/FACC 6220 Corporate Governance
Effective corporate governance is crucial to a successful and sustainable corporate enterprise. This course explores corporate governance in relation to financial accountability, including boards of directors; board structures, processes, legal and ethical environment; evaluation of board performance; financial reporting and internal control oversight; performance and compensation oversight; strategic planning and risk oversight; assessing individual director performance; and shareholder accountability.

GS/FACC 6600 Accountability Issues in the Government & Not-For-Profit Sectors
This course examines management and accountability issues encountered in government and not-for-profit entities. Issues such as governance, transparency, and performance measurement are tailored to the unique challenges faced by these entities. This course not only includes prescriptive remedies for managers working in the public sector but is valuable for private sector managers also since many of the issues are common. Corporations are also impacted by bad government and should be taking a stronger advocacy role as agents of change.

GS/FACC 6700 Executive Compensation
Most modern management theories posit that principal drivers of managerial behavior are executive compensation schemes. It is also a common belief that compensation schemes tied to the bottom line and stock price lead to actions more in the manager's interest than the firm's interest. This course looks at these issues and identifies best practices to strengthen corporate governance and accountability in the organization through appropriate design of executive compensation schemes

GS/FACC 6800 Synthesis of Theory and Practice: Accountability and Governance
Capstone course In the MFAc Program that integrates theories and practices from the previous courses and applies them in an experiential learning format. Complex multi-subject cases using real world data will be used to develop integrative decision frameworks. Students will have to show their expertise in domains such as assessment of: financial health, organizational risk, ethical conduct, environmental sensitivity, regulatory compliance and governance and accountability structures. Students will also pick an entity from the private or public sector using publically available data and as an experience in experiential learning will show the relevance of their learning to this real world domain.

Elective Courses

GS/FACC 6180 Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility
This course integrates concepts of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility and examines corporate strategies from three perspectives: social, environmental and economic outcomes; the interests and rights of future and current generations; value that nurtures positive relationships among firms, labor and communities.

GS/FACC 6190 Cases Studies in Stakeholder Accountability for Sustainability
This course examines applied issues of ecological, ethical and economic integration through a stakeholder accountability lens. Case studies and current events are used to explore issues such as fossil fuel development and climate change, globalization and labour standards, and financial instability and inequality. The focus is on managing diverse and competing stakeholder interests that arise in the context of sustainability.

GS/FACC 6280 Directors' Duties in Discharging the Board's Accountability Responsibilities
The Board of Directors is the primary vehicle for achieving accountability and proper governance in any organization. This course provides guidance to play an effective role as a Board member

GS/FACC 6290 Legal and Regulatory Compliance to Promote Accountability and Good Governance
Good governance requires that organizations be in compliance with all facets of legal and regulatory requirements. This course reviews the requirements that Board Directors should be familiar with.

GS/FACC 6380 Performance Reporting to Enhance Accountability in the Public Sector
This course looks at performance reporting in the public sector employing comprehensive auditing in the context of the theory and practice of accountability. Containing elements of political science, history, audit and accounting, the course offers an integrated picture of the development of accountability concepts, theory and principles, their connection to governance and management, and the role, evolution, theory and current practice of performance reporting and auditing. It focuses on three different areas: first, on the fundamental notion of accountability in the public sector; second, on reporting principles to guide performance reporting to governing bodies; and third, on the theory and practice of the three different models of comprehensive auditing as key assurance mechanisms.

GS/FACC 6390 Ethics Issues Impeding Accountability in the Public Sector
The course builds on the core ethics course GS/FACC 6100: Corporate Responsibility & Ethics. Comparisons are drawn with the private sector. The course examines the role of ethics in promoting accountability, good governance practices, sustainable government and value for money for taxpayers. Analyses of recent ethics scandals are made with a view to how to prevent re-occurrence and how to change the culture of the public civil service.

GS/FACC 6870 Advanced Financial Statement Analysis
In order for companies to be financially accountable to their shareholders, creditors, employees and the public in general, the managers running them must have a robust understanding of their businesses. It is only with this understanding that they can hope to ensure the long-term viability of their organizations, disclose useful information to stakeholders and maximize long-term shareholder value. This course will provide students with a foundation from which to analyze companies effectively and understand them comprehensively, providing the necessary prerequisite to driving for financial accountability. The course will go beyond the information that resides in the financial statements and take a more holistic approach to analysis. Each main topic covered will contribute to building core components of students' analytical toolkit. Several large public companies and their disclosures will be studied in order to apply analytical tools in various contexts and learn common analytical principles across companies. The combination of theory and practical analysis will lead to an enhanced appreciation for, and a deep understanding of, the critical success factors of any business.

GS/FACC 6880 Information Technology Governance
This course takes an applied approach to IT governance and will cover the fundamentals of IT governance, examining effective governance models and successful implementation of these models. Since all organizations, regardless of size, have information systems, management of such systems is an important component of developing systems that provide accurate financial information. Appropriate case studies will be covered to highlight lessons learned and best practices.

GS/FACC 6890 Earnings Management and Forensic Accounting
Through the theories and practices of forensic accounting, this course helps students to understand the fraudulent practice of earnings management. While different levels of earnings management exist, fraudulent earnings management practices can hurt shareholders as well as capital markets, as observed in recent corporate scandals. Topics include: fraud identification, prevention, detection and investigation.

GS/FACC 6900 Directed Readings
Not normally offered. May be taken with permission of the Director if the student can find a faculty member willing to supervise the topic. Its primary function is for students short one course for graduation.