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Online Master of Science in Accounting

Online Accounting Courses

Master Numbers and Organizations

Accounting professionals and educators have developed the online M.S. in Accounting curriculum intending to develop well-rounded leaders who are masters of both technical and managerial skills. The program consists of 30 credits, or 10 courses of 3 credit hours each, and can be completed in less than a year*.

The program helps students meet the 150-hour requirement for the CPA exam and/or the requirements for the CMA certification.

Click the course name below for more details.

Foundation Courses (9 credits)

*Foundation courses are only required if the applicant has not taken these courses in prior education.

  • This course covers audit theory and practice. It emphasizes applying audit theories and procedures in examining a company’s financial statements by a certified public accountant. Auditing standards, professional ethics, legal responsibilities, and current auditing trends are discussed.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply auditing standards
    • Discuss the auditor’s role concerning legal liability, ethics, and independence
    • Define internal control and distinguish the major components of internal control
    • Explain the relationship between evidence and audit risk, and identify and explain the components of audit risk
    • Apply audit methods and techniques used in practice today
    • Perform appropriate analytical procedures for various audit types
    • Apply professional auditing standards, use of evidence, and audit opinion formulation process
    • Analyze various types of data and relate them to audit procedures.

    Prerequisite(s): AC303

  • This course provides an introduction to federal income tax law and regulations. Tax provisions and administrative rules pertaining to individuals, corporations, and alternative organizational structures are examined.

    Upon completion of the course students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Interpret and evaluate the tax code as it applies to taxpayer situations
    • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of the taxation of different entities
    • Assess tax and nontax costs of various organizational forms
    • Compute property transactions to determine depreciation and cost recovery
    • Evaluate property transactions to determine gain or loss considerations, nontaxable exchanges, capital gains and loss, and recapturing provisions
    • Prepare tax return schedules for partnerships, C corporations, and S corporations
    • Analyze tax implications and communicate these findings
    • Evaluate and analyze tax sources of information related to tax practice and its inherent ethical responsibility

    Prerequisite(s): BU300

  • This course focuses on a comprehensive analysis of financial accounting theory. Topics include the formation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), financial statement presentation and valuation, revenue recognition concepts, time value of money, cash and marketable securities, accounts receivable, and inventories. Students critically examine the principles of real-world financial analysis and reporting issues.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Assess the environment of financial reporting and rulemaking
    • Use critical decision-making skills to meet the objectives of financial reporting
    • Prepare financial statements and disclosure according to GAAP, including the disclosure requirements for the balance sheet, income statement, statement of stockholder equity, and the statement of cash flows
    • Examine the inventory process in accounting, ending inventory, and cost of goods sold under multiple inventory valuation methods, including dollar value LIFO, and lower cost or market methods
    • Examine the codes of ethics and theoretical frameworks for various accounting professional organizations
    • Relate SOX and systems and controls in accounting by various types of accounting software to financial reporting and decision making
    • Know the requirement of the accounting profession concerning continuing professional education (CPE) and certifications (CPA, CIA, CMA, etc.)
    • Examine business data and apply financial ratios for analysis

    Prerequisite(s): BU300

Core Courses (24 credits)

  • The course provides students with an understanding of how accounting and other information necessary to assess a firm’s economic status is created, packaged, and disseminated to a company’s management team and external users such as investors, customers, analysts, and the financial media. The course also covers academic writing used in the program and information literacy required for research.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Evaluate methods used to communicate complex accounting concepts
    • Interpret how effectively annual reports communicate an organization’s objectives
    • Develop different communication strategies for all stakeholders
    • Employ multimedia, hypermedia, and electronic literature resources to gather and distribute accounting and business knowledge and information
    • Employ clear writing and speaking skills appropriate to the audience
    • Capture ideas, data, and relationships visually

  • This course covers how accounting leaders assist a company in making strategic financial decisions and explores the relationship between ethics and leadership. Students learn behaviors to accelerate high performance and create an ethical environment.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Develop a definition of ethical leadership that encompasses social responsibility and civic engagement
    • Use tools for conflict resolution, managing diversity, and building teams
    • Evaluate team strategies that enhance team productivity
    • Analyze organizational theories of managing strategically
    • Assess the congruence between personal norms and ethical principles
    • Demonstrate respectful engagement with others’ ideas, behaviors, and beliefs
    • Apply diverse frames of reference to decisions and actions
    • Resolve issues based on evidence weighed against relevant criteria

  • This course is designed to present an understanding of accounting information systems and their role in the accounting environment. Particular attention is paid to accounting information systems concerning organizational goals, relational databases, internal control processes, risks, and management reports.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Evaluate how accounting information systems align with organizational goals
    • Analyze the impact of accounting information systems on managing organizational risk
    • Summarize the advantages and disadvantages of enterprise resource management systems
    • List internal controls as they apply to accounting information systems
    • Develop a contingency plan for disaster preparedness and data recovery
    • Prepare and evaluate flowcharts of business processes from a narrative

  • This course builds upon previous auditing coursework through the use of case studies. It provides an in-depth analysis of selected advanced topics in auditing, including developing an understanding of the (1) code of professional ethics of the auditing professions, (2) fundamental principles underlying an audit performed following generally accepted auditing standards, (3) impact of information technology in the conduct of an audit, and (4) how audit sampling is used in an audit. In addition, the factors that impact audit risk are analyzed, and the impact of internal controls on the conduct of an audit are evaluated.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Understand the philosophy, environment, and code of ethics of the auditing profession
    • Examine the fundamental principles underlying an audit performed following generally accepted auditing standards
    • Interpret and use audit sampling in the conduct of an audit
    • Articulate management and auditor responsibilities concerning internal control under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
    • Evaluate the use of internal controls by top management and governing boards for organizations
    • Determine audit risk and assess its impact on an audit
    • Assess the impact of information technology in the conduct of an audit

  • This course examines fraud schemes and addresses fraudulent financial reporting, misappropriation of assets, and corruption. Students learn how to develop evidence to support a fraud case through litigation assistance and expert testimony techniques.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Research fraud issues and internal control within the workplace to recommend a course of action
    • Identify common fraud schemes and fraudulent financial reporting
    • Identify the evidence of misappropriation of assets
    • Identify and evaluate criminal activity related to accounting fraud
    • Develop evidence to support a fraud case through litigation support and expert testimony techniques
    • Research the role of technology in the forensic accounting profession

  • This course emphasizes cost accounting as a source of data for measuring and improving the economic condition of the business. Topics include strategic planning and control, cost analysis, overhead allocation, and financial statement analysis.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply advanced managerial accounting concepts and tools to make more informed and effective decisions
    • Assess, interpret and evaluate various issues faced by business organizations
    • Provide a recommendation for strategic management decision-making
    • Create forecast projections
    • Analyze financial statements and recommend a course of action
    • Prepare a strategic plan and annual budget

  • This course examines the relationship between managerial decision-making and taxes. Topics include the different entities and the impact of tax considerations in business decisions such as corporate structure, reorganization, and compensation.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Research the differences and similarities between federal taxation and business law
    • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the taxation of different entities
    • Analyze the taxation rules for mergers and acquisitions for a company
    • Analyze how taxes impact and influence business decisions
    • Compare the tax treatments among foreign branches and foreign subsidiaries
    • Assess tax and nontax costs of various organizational forms

  • This course identifies developing areas in accounting and encourages students to research the issues, think critically, evaluate alternatives and communicate conclusions orally and in writing. The course addresses the role of the contemporary accountant, international accounting standards, the future of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), standard-setting and regulation, ethics, and other developing issues.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Examine and summarize the role that the accountant plays as a strategic business partner
    • Analyze the historical and current accounting standard-setting process
    • Compare International Standards to US GAAP
    • Research and summarize current accounting emerging issues
    • Analyze the current Congressional business tax rulings
    • Communicate conclusions with clarity and coherence

Elective Course (3 credits): Select One

  • This course introduces the concepts and practices of accounting for nonprofit entities and state and local governments. Topics include the role and process of budgeting in governmental and nonprofit organizations and financial analysis.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Identify and articulate the roles and responsibilities of a nonprofit board of directors and the management team
    • Apply generally accepted governmental and nonprofit financial reporting principles
    • Identify the accounting similarities and differences between nonprofit entities between private business enterprises
    • Prepare financial statements, notes, and supplementary information to meet the external reporting requirements of a nonprofit entity

  • This course uses data analytic processes and models to identify, translate, test, and communicate financial information. Students learn to identify data quality and reliability and explore problem-solving through statistical data analysis.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Explain why data analytics matters to accountants
    • Apply and translate accounting data
    • Analyze and visualize data sets of an organization
    • Develop and interpret results of KPIs and financial analysis
    • Interpret and evaluate using the IMPACT approach
    • Prepare text mining and sentiment analysis on financial statement data
    • Communicate financial reporting data in a professional and engaging manner

  • This course examines human resource management in business policy and competitive strategy. The core competencies required to become a successful human resource manager are discussed. Topics include an overview of business policy, the role of human resource planning, strategic human resource management, and using technology for planning and administering human resource functions.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Outline the core competencies needed to become a successful human resource manager
    • Analyze how business strategy, competition, labor markets, technology, labor unions, and government regulations affect human resource planning activities, including skill inventories and supply/demand forecasting
    • Formulate how human resource policies, systems, and organizational design support an organization’s business strategy
    • Appraise employment practices related to recruitment, selection, and performance management
    • Evaluate training and development practices such as career counseling, needs assessment, and career pathing

  • This foundation course covers key terminology, project management context, and the project management framework. This framework includes the project management knowledge areas and the project process groups.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply key project management terms
    • Analyze the environment in which projects operate
    • Describe a generalized view of how the various project management processes commonly interact
    • Identify project integration, scope, schedule, cost, quality, resource, communications, risk, procurement, stakeholder management process inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs
    • Analyze stakeholder needs and expectations
    • Interpret the role of the project manager
    • Initiate a project by creating a project charter and analyzing stakeholder needs
    • Apply university and workplace citation and documentation carefully to all assignments

  • This course examines the principles of corporate finance and the tools and practices used in financial decision-making. It examines the treasury function of an organization and the decisions made by the treasurer. Topics include long-term financing, capital budgeting decisions, beta, debt-equity options, dividend policy analysis, and IPOs.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Use tools and techniques of corporate finance
    • Support treasurer level decision-making with financial information
    • Demonstrate the ability to make capital budgeting decisions
    • Create a dividend policy
    • Prepare financial information necessary to take a company public

  • This course provides an overview and foundational understanding of concepts essential to the cybersecurity professional to evaluate best practices in implementing security systems within the enterprise. This course covers key bodies of knowledge in security, privacy, and compliance. Topics include security planning, risk management, security technologies, basic cryptography, digital forensics, application security, intrusion detection and prevention, physical security, and privacy issues.

    Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply the principles of information technology security
    • Analyze situations of computer and network usage from a security perspective to develop a security mindset
    • Explain information security’s importance in our increasingly computer-driven world
    • Identify appropriate strategies to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information
    • Express management’s role in the development, maintenance, and enforcement of an information security program
    • Describe the relationship among laws, regulations, and professional issues in information security
    • Articulate how cryptography serves as the central language of information security
    • Analyze how physical security fits within an information security program
    • Define the roles of computer forensics in information security
    • Apply basic software tools for assessing the security posture of a business
    • Explain how issues of privacy relate to business information security

  • This course focuses on the complex nature of analytics at the enterprise level. Emphasis is placed on the techniques companies use to turn information into an asset. Leadership and communication techniques are examined. Additional topics include leveraging proprietary data, technology, and organizational performance. Best practices in project management are explored.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Differentiate company products and services by monitoring and analyzing usage patterns
    • Assess the financial aspects involved in a company’s analytics maturity cycle
    • Integrate an enterprise perspective in coordinating the work of analysts to gain the greatest business value
    • Apply business analytics strategy to complex scenarios

Capstone Course (3 credits)

  • This course blends accounting theory, practice, and research. Students demonstrate leadership and strategic decision-making skills along with advanced knowledge of accounting. Students present findings to colleagues and professionals in the field.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply learned research skills to investigate an entity
    • Analyze the financials of an organization.
      Interpret results of the financial analysis
    • Develop a course of action based on research on analysis
    • Prepare a management summary of the research and analysis
    • Present findings in a professional and engaging manner

Stackable Graduate Certificates

Choose from a selection of graduate certificate programs designed to accelerate your degree and help you achieve your goals faster. Each of Saint Mary’s Accelerators requires the completion of 12 to 15 credits and adds only six additional credits (two courses) to your degree program, allowing you to complete extra credentials while saving time and money. Choose a certificate in a content area of interest:

Share Your Success

Saint Mary’s supports your success by providing you with the tools necessary to not only achieve your professional goals but to share them with the world—especially the digital world.

As part of our commitment, Saint Mary’s offers an opportunity for you to be awarded digital badges. Digital badges are a graphic verification representing your achievement after completing a specific online course or program.

Get Started Now

Request more information to learn more about Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s online programs. An enrollment counselor will contact you shortly to share more information and answer your questions. When you’re ready, you can click Apply Now to start your online application.


*Students must be registered for 12+ credit hours each semester in order to complete the program in 12 months