New Accounting Curriculum Equips Undergraduates with Advanced Technological Skills
As technological advancements—including new artificial intelligence (AI) tools and robust data-driven resources—continue to influence various aspects of the business world, Georgetown McDonough is at the forefront of ensuring that students are well-equipped to enter the workforce with a deep understanding of innovations in business.
This concentrated effort begins at the undergraduate level, which includes the Accounting 2101 course, a graduation requirement for McDonough undergraduate students across all majors and areas of discipline.
For Jason Schloetzer, an associate professor of business administration and area chair of accounting and business law, along with Karen Kitching, a teaching professor of accounting, the AI, Analytics, and the Future of Work Initiative is top of mind when it comes to teaching the next generation of business leaders.
The new Accounting 2101 curriculum includes the integration of multiple analytics tools companies use to analyze accounting data for managerial decisions, such as which product markets to target, the profitability of products and customers, and how to identify inefficiencies for cost reduction opportunities and to improve operations.
“Georgetown is one of the first schools in the country to integrate enterprise technology and data analytics into an introductory accounting course that is taught to all majors, not just those who are focused on accounting,” Kitching said. “I believe universities nationwide are trying to upskill, but we’re just one of the first movers to do so.”
In the new Accounting 2101 course, Kitching said students learn to design enterprise systems that help companies track and manage their operations. By doing so, students enrolled in the course understand how companies capture operational data and how to extract that data for accounting-related analysis using data visualization, automation, bots, and process mining.
“In the past, there had to be a go-between for managers to receive and analyze accounting-related data – the data scientists did all of the coding. Now, managers are doing this work themselves using the same tools our students are gaining exposure to.”
Schloetzer said McDonough always strives to be a leader in the classroom, and the new Accounting 2101 curriculum is just one example of achieving that goal. He also shared that industry leaders have been critical influencers in driving the recent course changes.
“Over the last couple of years, I have spoken with companies about how they enhance business practices and the trends they are involved with. Through these interactions, I’ve noticed that chief financial officer teams are using many more of these analytics tools to analyze accounting information and create management reports for data-driven decision-making.”
Schloetzer said he’s received outstanding feedback on the new curriculum from other industry leaders and explained that McDonough is in an excellent position to influence future accounting professionals.
After I discussed our new course with a colleague at another university, they replied, “‘McDonough is 40 years ahead of what we are currently doing in the classroom.’ That is exactly where we should be, helping equip our students for the future of business.”
The new Accounting 2101 course will be offered this fall after it was first taught this past academic year. Mila Panchich (B’25) took the course with Kitching and said the new curriculum ensures that hard work is rewarded with relevant, applicable skills.
“While I knew I wanted to pursue a career in tech before the course, the Accounting 2101 software exposed me to a wide array of analytical tools that I probably wouldn’t have encountered in any other Georgetown course and would need for my future career,” she said. “While the class has definitely maintained its rigor, this challenge makes the feeling of grasping the new technologies extremely rewarding.”
Other students shared that the new curriculum in the Accounting 2101 course applies to various business areas beyond the accounting field.
“What has really stood out about the new curriculum is the integration of technology into our learning,” said Dominic Vogel (B’24). “We’ve spent time with software like Tableau, Alteryx, and Microsoft Access, learning how to best use them to solve business problems. These skills will be highly relevant regardless of which career path I end up going into after graduation.”
Ultimately, Schloetzer said the course brings the business and IT person together, which creates a unique advantage for McDonough’s undergraduates. Schloetzer is excited to see and hear future positive outcomes and feedback from students who take the course.