Remember that Walden’s Title IV Code is 025042.
Design a specialization based on your goals and interests. The Self-Designed specialization allows you to investigate industries and technical accounting areas that might not otherwise be readily accessible. Tax analysis, systems thinking, not-for-profit accounting, and government accounting are among the many subjects from which to choose.
Estimated time to completion is 20 months. Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.
M.S. in Accounting students must complete five required core courses and five additional courses to complete the Self-Designed specialization.
Accounting (select 3–5 courses)
Management/Leadership (select 0–2 courses)
An essential skill for nearly all accountants is the ability to effectively communicate with organizations to manage internal and external relationships. This course emphasizes the importance of communication in accounting and provides students the opportunity to practice using the tools required for effectual and efficient presentation of information while gaining critical-thinking, reading, and scholarly-writing skills. Students explore various written and presentational forms of communication that accountants use within organizational and managerial settings. Students examine techniques for developing and presenting white papers, memoranda used to communicate issues and recommendations to management, and financial and nonfinancial information. They learn about concepts in balanced communication coverage and how to adapt to constantly changing modes of communication, including social networking, blogging, and using professional organizations and training programs to their advantage. Through these activities, students gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the accountant as well as the ethical methodologies required to maintain a professional obligation to the community and their clients.
In the news, it is too often that we hear about cases of financial fraud and misconduct involving major corporations. It is a social and professional obligation of accountants to be concerned and knowledgeable on topics involving legal and ethical issues in accounting and financial reporting. In this course, students learn to appreciate this role and explore the various legal and professional responsibilities of which public and private accountants must be aware when developing financial statements and reports. They examine a variety of issues, such as the differences between statute and regulation and between common and statutory law. Students also assess the role of bankruptcy and its impact on business relationships. Through the extensive use of current and seminal case studies, students take a practical approach to examining the best practices of doing business in today’s sociopolitical climate from a legal and ethical perspective.
Effective business managers use a variety of financial management tools as they seek to evaluate alternatives and make sound decisions. In this course, students analyze these tools, including the breakeven and cost-volume-profit analysis for model pricing and cost sensitivity, forecasting and cost prediction, variance cost analysis, relevant cost analysis, project valuation and prioritization using payback, rates of return, and discounted cash flow methods. Students sharpen their diagnostic critical-thinking skills and learn to construct effective, ethical, fact-based arguments, which are among the fundamental capabilities required for managerial decision making. Using relevant management articles, case studies, and topic analyses, students also examine how to align business needs with fact-based solutions, how to identify new opportunities, and how to manage and enhance an organization’s competitive position.
One of the primary functions of the accountant’s role is preparing internal accounting information that can be used by management for effective decision making and organizational performance. Students can gain a practical perspective into this role through case study review and analysis of pricing and contribution margin analysis, cost management and allocation, activity-based costing and throughput accounting, and inventory management. Students assess performance measurements, including key performance indicators, balanced scorecard, and forecasting. They explore operating and capital budgeting and financial planning techniques and become familiar with quantitative models and approaches used in management accounting. Through this course, students learn about the different departments and operating divisions within an organization and how they work individually and collaboratively to handle accounting responsibilities.
This course allows the learner to enhance and utilize advanced accounting research skills in order to investigate and review the current and emerging accounting issues and changes in promulgated accounting standards that could impact 21st-century business. The learner will examine a variety of up-to-date and relevant topical areas that are discussed in sources such as: the Financial Accounting Standards Board, International Accounting Standards Board, and Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result of their studies in this course, learners will be able to anticipate changes in accounting standards, and analyze potential impacts for making informed decisions and recommendations to management.
Accountants and business managers must be astute and proactive in managing a business to combat the inevitable threat of operational and financial risks, including those involving credit, market, liquidity, reputation, technology, and legality. In this course, students assess the tools used by accountants and managers in managing these risks. They explore the various processes used to identify, analyze, and assess risks, and they learn the appropriate use of financial and operational controls to mitigate such risks. Additionally, students examine ways to implement techniques, such as developing a risk control matrix and using the concepts of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) framework to improve an organization’s enterprise risk management.
Regulatory compliance involves the policies and processes that organizations use to ensure that they follow the rules and regulations in place by the firms that control financial activity in a given jurisdiction. In this course, students explore the facets of regulatory compliance, focusing on the role of accounting with respect to corporate governance within an organizational setting. They also focus on how organizations build transparency into their governance and compliance systems. Students review and explore the responsibilities of management in terms of compliance and auditing and explore the complex processes of checks and balances that comprise compliance systems. Students further develop their understanding of regulatory compliance through a review of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, in addition to an evaluation of decisions made by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Public Corporation Accounting Oversight Board.
In this quantitative course, students examine the process by which accounting policies are formulated and modified. Students use current research and case analyses to make critical evaluations of fundamental accounting concepts and foundations, such as revenue recognition, lease accounting, and other current issues, in light of their theoretical, empirical, practical, and political aspects. Students demonstrate their ability to use promulgated accounting literature to improve their general decision-making and communication skills in the area of accounting as they engage in functional exercises and weekly discussions.
Students in this course are provided with an overview of current topics in taxation strategies for individuals and corporations. They learn about the Internal Revenue Code on tax differences, including book and tax accounting, inclusions, exclusions, deductions, credits, and tax aspects of property transactions. Students employ a “walk-through” technique through which they gain first-hand experience in the use of tax research services. Students also explore how economic, social, and cultural forces influence tax policy.
In this course, students review content pulled directly from prior certified public accountant (CPA) exams on a variety of topics, including current accounting trends, managerial accounting, and regulatory issues. Students conduct research, discuss with peers, and analyze the answers to actual CPA exam items to gain a thorough understanding of the format, concepts, and principles on which exam questions are based, gaining confidence and preparedness for taking the CPA exam.
In this course, students are provided with tools, techniques, and insight to evaluate the potential for fraud within current operating and financial reporting systems. Students examine creative accounting techniques and red flags of fraud, such as the development of false financial statements; misuse of corporate resources; false revenue recognition; and fraud perpetrated for the benefit of third parties, shareholders, and managers. They explore special topics, such as the override of existing internal controls and absence of proper accounting documentation. Students also examine fraud audit standards, principles of legal evidence, and concepts of the Daubert Rule. Additionally, students examine strategies for identifying sources of securing evidence to prevent loss, corruption, and contamination.
Students in this course examine current topics in international standards for accounting, including financial statement presentation, auditing, and accounting for importers, exporters, and multinational corporations to gain a comprehensive understanding of the various perspectives involved in international accounting. Students examine foreign exchange rates and markets, controlled economy accounting, social responsibility reporting, inflation accounting, and international taxation and its impact on an organization’s international financial statements. Additionally, students analyze issues in accounting for multinationals, including areas of accounting and financial reporting standards. They also conduct an evaluation of international accounting harmonization efforts, including those involving accounting standards, to acquire an appreciation of the importance of comparability in regard to international financial statements.
Students explore accounting and financial reporting principles for nonprofit and governmental organizations in this course. They examine issues regarding fund accounting principles, budgetary accounting, and financial reporting practices. Through a variety of assignments on the specifics of the nonprofit and government accounting arena, students develop and hone diagnostic skills and their analytical problem-solving ability. Students learn about the concepts, procedures, and mechanics of financial and managerial accounting and the role of accounting information in nonprofit organizations.
This course is designed to improve the learner’s overall critical-thinking and reasoning skills within a managerial context. Using relevant management articles, case studies, and current topics analyses, learners will hone their diagnostic reading skills and will learn to construct effective, ethical, evidence-based arguments, which are fundamental capabilities of effective managers.
Leaders encounter many challenges as people from different cultures, social structures, religions, and languages participate in a globalized landscape and workforce. Students in this course examine these challenges and develop an understanding of the interrelatedness of nations in the global economy. They also explore the changing nature of international business and leadership. Students evaluate and discuss the concepts of sustainable business strategies, international trade, foreign direct investment, and regional economic integration in relation to leadership in a global environment.
This course explores systems thinking as a process whereby problems are viewed as individual components within a larger system. The course provides a framework for analyzing relationships within a system and for avoiding the risks associated with viewing problems in isolation. Learners will use systems thinking tools to model single, double, and multiple-loop feedback systems, both at the micro and macro levels of analysis. In addition, learners will be introduced to scenario building and will examine how the practice of systems thinking lays the foundation for creating sustainable outcomes for organizations and society.
This course introduces students to the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques needed to successfully manage projects throughout the life of a project, known as the project life cycle. Students learn about the project management Knowledge Areas and Process Groups as well as the distinguishing characteristics of each. Students gain an appreciation for how these two dimensions of project management interact in initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing a project.
This course focuses on the development and implementation of business strategies that enable a competitive advantage, with an emphasis on understanding the current environment in which the organization competes and forecasting how that environment may change.
This course explores effective strategies to initiate change in order to achieve organizational goals, as well as how to manage unplanned or unwelcome change. Learners will explore a variety of approaches and methods to transition individuals and organizations within a changing environment. Learners will distinguish between reactive responses and proactive responses to change, including examining the implications of culture, inertia, and uncertainty. Additionally, learners will explore the importance of understanding motivation and effective communication in mitigating negative reactions to change and facilitating the change process itself.
Students learn how to organize development projects in the global service marketplace, based on key considerations and best practices in outsourced and offshore development. Topics include legal, economic, cultural and intellectual property issues; 24-hour development; strategic division of labor; case studies of specific geographies; quality and process standards.
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