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Master of Financial Accountabilty (MFAc)

How can we improve accountability and governance relationships in organizations?

brian gaber "The most coveted leadership skill for private and public sector managers today is the ability to instill appropriate accountability and governance relationships in the organizationů. this is the essence of the MFAc"

Thank you for visiting our website. Most of you are here because you are contemplating taking a graduate degree in business and we believe the MFAc should definitely be on your short list. There is a good discussion in our FAQ section on the features of the MFAc compared to the MBA and other business degrees.

The MFAc is unique. This is a relatively new degree and the only one of its kind. It was spawned out of the public outcry at scandals such as Enron that culminated in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the United States. While that legislation has created a new industry in regulatory reporting, the basic problems surrounding the lack of accountability and good governance still persist. The global financial credit crisis of 2008 has unequivocally shown there is currently a dire need for graduates of our Program.

Does the world face a crisis in accountability? Consider questions such as the following. What really caused the collapse of the US subprime mortgage market? Could the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been averted if BP and other firms had better governance systems in place? Can government leaders waste billions of dollars of taxpayer money on schemes such as green energy or stealth fighter planes and not be called to task for mismanagement? Is the Canadian Senate out of control? How many times can the Eurozone bail out member states without risking collapse of the whole system? How many times can the US hit the debt ceiling and still avoid a collapse of the economy? Can firms operate sweatshop factories using child labor in developing countries and claim to be responsible corporate citizens? Can the food industry continue to lace processed foods with poisons such as salt, sugar and saturated fat and not be held accountable for the associated health costs to society? Why does an industry like tobacco making carcinogenic products continue to be allowed to put products on store shelves? Should a government be allowed to willfully destroy thousands of internal documents to blunt the effectiveness of public enquiries? Do the Athabaska tar sands or the Keystone Pipeline projects really represent no threat to the country's environment? Should companies and governments be allowed to ignore their role in adding to carbon emissions that create climate change? Should corporations and wealthy investors be allowed to transfer resources to secret offshore banks for the purpose of tax evasion?

Public confidence is shaken when giant corporations such as Enron and WorldCom get caught committing outright fraud through manipulative accounting practices, but there are many dubious if not nefarious corporate practices that are still perfectly legal. The largest banks in the USA knowingly sold overinflated bad investments that led to the housing bubble collapse. Hedge funds appear to use computerized trading programs that deliberately destabilize stock markets.

All government attempts to address these issues legislatively have largely failed because governments are mired in their own scandals. For example, the US government bail out of the banking sector was supposed to come with new oversight regulations to prevent a reoccurrence. None of this proposed oversight is in place today and the public is as much at risk as it ever was. The current federal government of Canada was elected largely on a platform of more transparency and accountability riding on the coat-tails of scandal in the previous administration and yet accountability and transparency in government in Canada have fallen to lows never witnessed before in this country. Other countries report similar scenarios.

York's MFAc program addresses these complex questions and challenges. You'll acquire strong critical knowledge and practical skills from across the areas of accounting, management, information technology and law. You'll also deepen and extend your knowledge by linking conceptual frameworks and research with professional experience and practice. You will be poised to become agents of change to increase accountability and governance and the world will become a better place because of your commitment to change.

MFAc graduates can and will play a major role in restoring public trust in our private and public sector organizations. The most coveted leadership skill for private and public sector managers today is the ability to instill appropriate accountability and governance relationships in the organizationů. this is the essence of the MFAc.

The MFAc degree is based on the following conceptual pillars:

  1. Establishing guidelines for corporate ethics and sustainability
  2. Compliance with regulatory standards and laws
  3. Building effective information systems, reporting systems and control systems
  4. Promoting transparency in financial reporting
  5. Proper management of risk
  6. Establishing proper governance relationships in the organization.
  7. Ensuring that the organization's actions are socially responsible

These themes pervade our courses in the Program and we look at these issues both from a theoretical perspective and in terms of real world impact through extensive use of case studies. Much of our classroom discussion is shaped by current events in the headlines. Our instructors are a mix of distinguished researchers and industry experts. A feature of our Program is frequent guest lectures by recognized leaders of government and industry.

We believe our MFAc graduates will possess the expertise necessary to solve the increasingly complex problems related to good governance and have the tools and motivation to become influential agents of change holding senior management positions in the private or public sector.

I invite you to explore our innovative Program further and to consider the meaningful opportunities it can provide you.

Brian Gaber PhD CA
Director