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Master of Financial Accountabilty (MFAc)

Courses

The Program consists of nine required core courses and two electives.

Required Courses:

GS/FACC 6000 3.00 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 6120 3.00 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.

GS/FACC 6140 3.00 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 6160 3.00 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 6180 3.00 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 qualitatively evaluated using the principles of evidence. 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 3.00 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 6460 3.00 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 6620 3.00 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 6900 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 6100 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 6200 3.00 Financial Accountability: Theory and Practice
This course provides the basis for theoretical analysis of many fundamental problems in the area of financial accountability. The readings and case assignments provide an appreciation for the development of theories in financial accountability and current financial reporting techniques. Major themes in this course deal with how enhanced transparency in financial reporting leads to improved accountability and prescriptive remedies for increasing transparency.

GS/FACC 6240 3.00 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 6400 3.00 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 6800 3.00 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.