Online accounting courses on blockchain, data analytics offered for fall 2018

This fall, ACC 7280 (Accounting Data Analytics) and ACC/ISM 7290 (Blockchain: An Accounting and Business Perspective) will be offered to graduate students in the Mike Ilitch School of Business. Both of these courses will be delivered completely online during the first 11 weeks of the fall 2018 semester. Each course responds to strong industry trends: increased use of information technology (IT) and data analytics/big data are having a disruptive influence on the field of accounting and other business disciplines.
Over the past 60 years, many accounting and auditing tasks have gradually been automated. But the vast majority of those tasks required no decision-making at all. The current wave of automation involves tasks where people formerly were needed to make judgments. What kinds of IT-related technologies are being used to automate these tasks? Artificial intelligence (specifically robotics, machine learning, and expert systems) and data analytics are mentioned most often. Recently, blockchain has been hailed as a disruptive technology that will drive business automation still further.
By the time you complete your graduate program at the Mike Ilitch School of Business, you will need a fundamental understanding of both data analytics and how IT is used in business. Each of these courses will help you build skills in these areas.
ACC 7280 has a distinct accounting/auditing flavor because most of the homework projects focus on financial examples and one (IDEA) of the three software packages we use was originally designed to be used by auditors. (The other software packages are Excel and SAP’s Predictive Analytics.) Still, many non-accounting students have taken this course in the past three years and found it to be valuable. The data analytics methods introduced can be used in any area of business.
ACC 7290 will cover “blockchain,” an immutable and distributed ledger. The course will begin with a very close look at the requirements for a successful cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) and how the specific technologies used in Bitcoin’s blockchain closely fit those requirements. Students will do homework assignments to become familiar with these technologies. Then, we’ll look at proposed business use cases, many involving “smart contracts,” for blockchain and examine their feasibility. In this section of the course, the blockchain implementations in Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric will be studied. Tentatively, students will work in online teams to develop their own blockchain applications using the 90-day trial version of SAP’s recently-launched, cloud-based “blockchain as a service.”
If you have questions about either course, please email Associate Professor of Accounting Myles Stern at

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