Department of Accounting & Law, School of Business

Master of Science in Accounting with an Information Systems Emphasis

The Program

Entry Requirements

Program Philosophy




Application Request

The Program

The Department of Accounting & Law at the State University of NewYork at Albany offers a concentration in Accounting Information Systems in its one-year Master of Science in Accounting Program. This concentration prepares the students for positions in the emerging practices in the accounting and consulting professions variously described as Information Systems Auditing, Computer Assurance Services, Information Systems consulting, Information Systems Risk Management, and Computer Risk Management Services.

The one-year program is available to students who hold a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Accounting (or in Business with an Accounting minor), who wish to enter the practices described above. M.S. Program in Accounting is registered by the Division of Professional Education of the State Education Department of New York, and is fully accredited in Accounting by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

The M.S. Degree in Accounting with a concentration in Accounting Information Systems consists of 30 credits of coursework (ten courses). Five of those courses provide the student a broad perspective on the environment (Economic, tax, financial) in which accounting operates. The other five courses in the Accounting Information Systems concentration provide a rigorous foundation in all aspects of accounting information systems including their analyses, design, implementation, maintenance and audit. The courses are heavily computing oriented, project-based and writing-intensive.

  • The students get in-depth exposure to at least one operating system, several programming & scripting languages, software engineering tools, and database management systems.
  • The students get hands-on experience in developing audit programs for applications as well as operating systems. They also get in-depth exposure to latest technologies such as data networking, EDI, and network computing.
  • The courses in the concentration involve considerable programming, report-writing, developing systems documentation, and oral presentations.

Upon graduation, the students get positions in large international firms of accountants and consultants in their specialized practices. They also often take the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examinations immediately on graduation in May-July. While the program is not intended to prepare the students for the certification examinations, during the past two years, every student taking the CISA examination has passed on the first attempt without taking any separate review courses.

During the past two years, the program has attracted students from US, Canada, Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Mainland China, Russia, and Armenia. The prior education of the entering students in the program includes universities from around the world including universities such as Cornell University, Yale University, Columbia University, McGill University (Canada), and Cambridge University (UK). Their prior education has been in diverse fields including accounting, business, law, economics, computer science, psychology, chemistry, journalism, engineering, and agriculture.


Entry Requirements

The applicants must have a Bachelor's degree with a major in Accounting, or in Business with a minor in Accounting. In other cases, the deficiencies will need to be made up prolonging the program beyond the one year. There are no specific requirements in terms of computing background apart from basic familiarity with personal computers. GMAT scores, however, are required.


Program Philosophy

Master of Science in Accounting with an Information Systems Emphasis is an intensive one year program in which the students constantly work under faculty supervision in groups on projects. The class sizes are kept small to achieve the following guiding principles of the program:

    The study of analysis, design, implementation, security, controls, audit, maintenance, migration, strategy for Accounting Information Systems should have a technical & computing (in specific, programming) orientation.
    All systems/auditing courses should have integrated in them a hands-on (programming) component, usually based on semester-long programming-based group projects
    The students must have a diversity of experience. This should include:
    The students should be exposed to diverse platforms. The courses in the program provide adequate exposure to Microsoft Windows as well as unix/X-Windows environments.
    The students should have in-depth exposure to the traditional structured systems analysis & design as well as the object-oriented methods of analysis & design all the way through programming.
    The students should get exposure to a whole host of development tools including programming tools (IDEs), CASE tools, Web Application development/management tools, etc.
    The students should gain competency working in both modes. While these days users usually face graphics mode applications (with point-and-click interfaces), often, the systems professionals need to be conversant with both text and graphics mode of working.
  • .
    The students must have some server management experience. Currently, some of the servers managed by the students include Windows NT Server, Oracle 8, DB2, etc..
    The students must be quite comfortable working with at least two languages to build applications, a declarative language (currently SQL) and a procedural language (currently Java). This competence should be pervasive. For example, the students should be able to do rudimentary network programming, or build small systems to implement PKI (public-key infrastructure) all the way through programming. They should be able to build sophisticated web-based systems incorporating Java applets and servelets using development tools.
    The courses must be based on the philosophy that things are best learnt by doing. Semester-long group projects should form the back-bone of the entire program.
    It is only by learning from past mistakes that competence is obtained. To facilitate this, most work is done in a "sand-box" provided by the Systems Laboratory that the students actively help in administering.
    The students must formally present their work before the whole group. Organising presentations, and learning effective written and oral communication skills is best accomplished by presenting group reports on quite technical materials before a non-technical audience.
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    The Program Computing Facilities

    The concentration in Accounting Information Systems is supported by the Arthur Andersen Graduate Laboratory for Accounting Information Systems, housed in the Department of Accounting & Law. This laboratory also supports the doctoral students in Information Science who minor in Accounting Information Systems.

    The hardware in this state-of-the-art laboratory includes a Sun Enterprise Server 450 (with 256 MByte memory, 38gB storage), an IBM Netfinity 5500 Windows 2000 Server (128mB memory, 20gB storage) serving as the primary domain controller (with an IBM Netfinity 3000 serving as a backup domain controller), two additional IBM Netfinity 3000 Windows NT servers, Sun Sparc and UltraSparcII Solaris workstations, 12 Pentium II and III class PCs in the Windows NT environment (8 IBM PC 300GLs, and other Pentium II machines), and an HP4000 Postscript network printer. The equipment in the laboratory, a part of the unix cluster at the State University of New York at Albany, can via ethernet, access the Novell network in the School of Business and all the mainframe environments at the University.

    The software available in the laboratory includes database management systems (Relational & Object-Relational: Oracle, DB2; Object-Oriented: ObjectStore), Webservers (Java Webserver, Internet Information Server, Oracle webserver), Web applications servers (Silverstream server, IBM WebSphere, Bluestone Sapphire server, Oracle application server), IDEs (IBM Visual Age Java, Sun Java Workshop & Studio, InPrise JBuilder), CASE tools (Paradigm Plus, ERWin, Oracle Designer 2000, Oracle Developer 2000, IBM Visual Warehouse), Datamining software (IBM Intelligent Dataminer, Weka), PC X-servers (XWin-32), text analysis/retrieval software (TextAnalyst, InQuery, SMART, etc.), among others. In addition, the workstations in the Laboratory have access to the wealth of software in the unix cluster including languages (C/C++, lisp, prolog, java, Fortran, Perl, Python, etc.), typesetting (TeX/LaTeX, troff, etc.), unix tools (awk, sed, yacc, lex, etc.), and statistical/mathematical software (SPSS, SAS, SPlus, Maple, Lisrel, Minitab, etc.). Access is also available for databases such as Lexis and Compustat.

    The Department of Accounting & Law is in the academic alliance programs of IBM, ORACLE, Informix, Bluestone, Network-1, and Silverstream.


    Some of the Accounting Information Systems Courses

    (For full details, please see the University Catalog).

    Acc 681 Accounting Information Systems (3 Cr)
    Transaction cycles and structured analysis & design of accounting information systems. Object-Oriented analysis & design of accounting systems with emphasis on internal controls. The course will involve designing & programming of an accounting system using CASE (Computer Aided Software Engineering) tools.
    Prerequisites: Acc 512 or equivalent.

    Acc 682 Analysis & Design of Accounting Databases (3 Cr)
    Basics of relational database theory in the accounting context. Semantic modeling of accounting data including the REA model. Use of CASE tools for the analysis, design & documentation of accounting databases. Languages for retrieval of information from accounting databases. Controls in accounting databases.
    Prerequisites: Acc 681 and Acc 512 or equivalent. Intended to be taken concurrently with Acc 681.

    Acc 661 Auditing of Advanced Accounting Systems (3 Cr)
    Auditing of modern complex accounting information systems. General & application controls and the design & development of generalised audit software. Auditing of operating systems and database management systems. Privacy & security of data in accounting systems. Audit of on-line systems.
    Prerequisites: Acc681 and Acc512 or equivalent.

    Acc 683 Advanced Topics in Accounting Information Systems (3 Cr)
    Topics relating to emerging technologies that affect accounting and auditing practice, including topics such as expert systems in accounting & auditing, groupware systems for auditing, retrieval of audit data.
    Prerequisites: Acc 681 and Acc 682.

    Acc 680 Research Seminar in Accounting (2-3 Cr)
    Intensive reading and research on an approved topic of special interest in the student's field of concentration; a comprehensive report and an oral presentation required.

    Other Courses

    (For full details, please see the University Catalog).

    Eco 506 Economic Analysis and Policy (3 Cr)
    Application of selected topics in micro and macroeconomic theory to monetary, fiscal, pricing, and regulatory policies. Designed for graduate students in allied social sciences and business who have completed at least one year of basic economics.
    Fin 635 Corporate Financial Problems (3 Cr)
    Case studies of structural topics such as long-term financing arrangements, recapitalizations; reorganizations; and mergers, acquisitions, and spin-offs; and of operational problems such as capital budgeting, dividend and reserve policies, pension funds, executive compensation, and relationships with investors and professional analysts.
    Prerequisite: Fin 580 or 6 credits of finance at the undergraduate level.
    Acc 542 Income Taxation of Corporations, Partnerships, and Estates (3 Cr)
    Various dimensions of corporate taxation, and the theory and practice of taxation as applied to partnerships and fiduciaries.
    Prerequisite: 3 credits of tax accounting.
    Acc 522 Statistical Analysis for Business Decisions (3 Cr)
    Extensive coverage of sampling techniques for decision making. Includes simple random sampling, stratified sampling, cluster sampling, treating unequal clusters, area sampling, imperfect frames, questionnaire design, and field operations.
    Prerequisite: Msi 220 or Mat 108 or equivalent.
    Acc 611 Contemporary Developments in Accounting Thought (3 Cr)
    Contemporary accounting theory. Structures accounting thought and interrelates the pronouncements of the AICPA and American Accounting Association with authoritative writings in the journals.
    Prerequisite: Acc 312 or equivalent.


    Accounting Information Systems Faculty

    Saurav Dutta
           B.Tech (Aerospace Engineering)   (Indian Institute of Technology),
            Ph.D., (Business Administration)  University of Kansas,
            Certified Management Accountant.
    Associate Professor of Accounting
    Office: BA336
    Phone:(518) 442-4426
    WWW Home Page:

    Ingrid Fisher
            M.S. (Accounting)   State University of New York at Albany,
            Certified Public Accountant.
    Lecturer of Accounting
    Office: BA341
    Phone:(518) 442-4948
    WWW Home Page:

    Jagdish S. Gangolly
            B. Com., (Statistics)   University of Bombay,
            Post Graduate Diploma in Management, (Operations Research)   Indian Institute of Management,
            Ph.D., (Business Administration)   University of Pittsburgh,
            Certified Internal Auditor.
    Associate Professor of Accounting and of Management Science & Information Systems
    Office: BA365A
    Phone: (518) 442-4949
    WWW Home Page:

    Kinsun Tam
            B.S., (Computer Science)   University of Massachusetts at Boston
            M.B.A.    University of Massachusetts at Boston
            Ph.D., (Accounting) University of Connecticut
             Certified Public Accountant.
    Assistant Professor of Accounting
    Phone:(518) 442-4978
    WWW Home Page: TBA


    Application Requests

    You may request application materials by filling-in our application request form on-line. For further information , application materials, etc. please contact:

    Ms. Lisa Scholz
    Department of Accounting & Law
    School of Business
    State University of New York at Albany
    Albany, NY 12222.

    Phone: (518) 442-4978
    FAX: (518) 442-3944


    Updated on June 30, 2000 by Lisa Scholz.