Academics

PwC Supports Data Analytics for McIntire’s Accounting Curriculum with a $20K Grant

The funding will immediately help faculty to implement topic-specific analytics tools for student use within existing Commerce courses.

Student performing calculations on computerLongstanding McIntire corporate partner PwC recently provided $20,000 in support of the School’s Accounting curriculum development, focused on data analytics.

The funding will immediately help faculty to implement topic-specific analytics tools for student use within existing courses.

Professor Adam Koch explains the importance of the grant to facilitate student learning as they prepare for careers in the field:

“Accounting is all about verifying, aggregating, and analyzing financial data. Recent trends in data analytics and predictive models are revolutionizing the way businesses operate, and accounting is no exception. The skills that accountants need are changing and will surely continue to change. This grant will enable us to introduce new, hands-on, data-driven projects and applications that will give the students the opportunity to learn and practice the skills they need for this changing profession. We are very grateful for PwC’s generous support in helping us take this next step forward.”

Potential ways the analytics could be implemented in both undergraduate and graduate accounting classes vary. Some applications might be introduced through the study of textual analysis to identify deception in financial reporting; others might serve to analyze inefficiencies in large pricing data sets in strategic cost accounting, tax transactions, and advanced auditing.

The grant was awarded as part of PwC’s INQuiries program, a higher-education initiative created by the firm in spring 2007 to assist faculty and PhD students in their efforts to contribute to knowledge in the areas of auditing and tax; three years later, in 2010, the program began including curriculum development and diversity programs.

“At PwC, we’re focused on digitally upskilling our team,” says PwC Partner Robert Vallejo (McIntire ’92), who approved the McIntire proposal designed to best prepare students with the advanced analytics techniques. “Technology is transforming how businesses operate, and both our partners and staff need to have the skills to function in this ever-changing business environment. We’re excited to invest in the upskilling of future business professionals and to see how Professor Koch and his colleagues at McIntire incorporate these data-driven projects and applications into the classroom.

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