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Accounting

The Accounting area offers broad exposure to accounting theory, practice, and research. Accounting can touch all parts of an organization and Accounting courses help prepare students to make better managerial and financial decisions. The Merage School offers Accounting courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The School’s Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration includes basic courses in financial and managerial accounting as well as Accounting electives, and students can obtain an Emphasis in Accounting. The School also offers an Accounting Minor degree to undergraduates from across campus. The Merage School’s MBA programs include the core course in Financial Accounting, which reflects the School’s digitally-driven focus, as well as elective courses. The School also offers the Master in Professional Accountancy (MPAc) degree that comprises a wide range of graduate Accounting courses. Students primarily interested in careers in professional Accounting will find the MPAc to be an attractive avenue of study, while MBAs interested in Accounting or Finance careers can enhance their knowledge and skill sets by structuring their studies to include Accounting electives offered in the MBA and/or MPAc programs. Our PhD program is distinguished by the individual attention and high level training devoted to each student by our faculty. Merage School Accounting instructors include full-time tenure-track faculty, continuing lecturers, and adjunct lecturers from practice. Accounting faculty members are highly committed to the pursuit of excellence in their teaching and research activities, and to maintaining strong interactions among faculty and students.

Faculty

Max Chao

Max Chao
Full-time Lecturer

Joanna Ho

Joanna Ho
Professor
Research Interests: Corporate governance, Corporate social responsibility, Performance evaluations and compensation systems, Improving firm performance with technology, International accounting and management practices

Chuchu Liang

Chuchu Liang
Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Intangibles, Financial reporting and disclosures

Ben Lourie

Ben Lourie
Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Financial Analysts, Market Efficiency, Financial Accounting, Earnings Management

Radhika Lunawat

Radhika Lunawat
Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Fair Value Accounting, Role of Higher-Order Beliefs in Financial Markets, Trust and Reputation Building in Financial Reporting and Disclosure

Mort Pincus

Mort Pincus
Dean’s Professor & Director of MPAc Program
Research Interests: Relation between accounting information and capital market variables, including the pricing of accruals in international capital markets, Earnings Management, Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Earnings Management, Usefulness of book-tax differences in detecting earnings management, Accounting method choice

Devin M. Shanthikumar

Devin M. Shanthikumar
Associate Professor
Research Interests: Financial Accounting. Behavioral Finance, Investor Behavior, Financial Intermediaries, Product Development, Innovation

Terry Shevlin

Terry Shevlin
Professor of Accounting, Paul Merage Chair in Business Growth, Associate Dean of Research and Doctoral Programs
Research Interests: Effect of Taxes on Business Decisions and Asset Prices, Capital Markets-Based Accounting Research, Earnings Management, Employee Stock Options, Research Design, Statistical Significance Testing Issues

Siew Hong Teoh

Siew Hong Teoh
Dean's Professor

Patricia Wellmeyer

Patricia Wellmeyer
Assistant Clinical Professor of Accounting and Program Director, MPAc
Research Interests: Auditor Judgments, Audit and Financial Reporting Quality, IFRS/GAAP Convergence Issues, GAAP and Non-GAAP Reporting Issues

Coursework

Undergraduate business classes may be found through the UCI course catalogue.

MBA Core Course Description

203A. Financial Reporting
Focuses on financial accounting and external reporting for managers and executives, examines issues related to measurement and communication of an entity’s economic activities, and introduces financial statement analysis. A core learning objective is to enable MBA students to become conversant in the language of business and to “read” (i.e., navigate, analyze, critique) a set of financial statements. The basic financial statement model—double-entry accounting—has proven to be incredibly robust, despite endless streams of new transactions as businesses, economies, and cultures have evolved. Still, the digital and IT revolutions that we are in the midst of have impacted and even transformed business models and activities, and in turn affected the production and dissemination, and relevance and reliability of financial accounting information. In 203A, you will learn both the timeless core of financial accounting, as well as some of the most current issues in financial reporting.

MBA Elective Descriptions

203B. Driving Profitability Through Management Accounting
Driving Profitability through Managerial Accounting, focuses on both financial and non-financial systems that leaders use to drive managerial decision making and corporate performance. Many people, when they see the word "accounting," think of bookkeeping. That is not what Driving Profitability is about. The core learning objective of 203b is to enable MBA level students to take advantage of systems to evaluate performance, inform business decisions, and execute strategy. Many of the core managerial tools we cover are almost timeless, but we will also explore how recent digital and IT innovations have led to new and modernized practices. For example, we will discuss innovations such as "Time-driven ABC," which is ideal for service-based companies where the company's primary assets are its people, and will discuss how formal systems can be used effectively in innovative rapidly-moving firms. 203b teaches the systems which modern organizations use to drive performance.

231A. Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation I
Develops foundational skills essential to using financial statements and other information to support investment decisions. Analytic methods used to determine information quality, profitability, and business risk will be in focus. The digital revolution has impacted and transformed many business models as well as changed how business information may be disseminated. Specific analytic tools used to assess digital aspects of businesses will be evaluated. Upon course completion, you will be able to navigate financial information and ascertain whether business strategic objectives are being met, assess associated risks, and understand how this information can play a role predicting future business and investment outcomes. Typically, one section of the course will be taught in a face-to-face format and the other section in the Merage hybrid format.

231B. Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation II
Focuses on the financial statement analysis of liabilities and stockholders' equity. Covers topics such as forecasting financial statements, earnings-based valuation models, accounting analysis of mergers and acquisitions, leases, bankruptcy prediction, and derivatives.

237. International Accounting
The globalization of the world’s capital markets has led to a shift towards global standards for financial reporting with more than 140 countries requiring the use of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).  While the United States has deferred the decision to adopt IFRS, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Accounting Standards Board have joint projects to “converge” the accounting standards over time. In fact, the use of IFRS in digital businesses can create differences in financial reporting versus the use of U.S. GAAP. These factors make it imperative financial managers in global organizations be conversant in IFRS. Furthermore, due to the growing importance of IFRS in corporate financial reporting, the U.S. Uniform CPA exam includes questions and simulations requiring knowledge of IFRS.

Students in this course will learn to read and interpret financial statements, including those of digital based businesses, presented using IFRS; apply IFRS to corporate transactions and financial reporting matters; understand the significant differences between International Financial Reporting Standards and U.S. GAAP with a focus on digital based businesses; and respond confidently to International Financial Reporting type questions on the CPA exam. 

290. Cybersecurity and Financial Reporting
This course aims to develop an understanding of firm information assets, the cybersecurity risks that threaten these, and the risk management principles that best protect an entity’s information assets against those risks. Students will gain an understanding of information security and controls in the minimization of business disruption and financial reporting risks.

MPAc Course Descriptions

MPAC 230. Accounting Proseminar: Career and Professional Development
Provides students with information and practical skills for success in the program and for professional accounting and business career planning, and with discussions of current issues confronting the accounting profession. 

MPAC 231A. Financial Statement Analysis and Forecasting
Develops skills to analyze corporate financial reports. Topics include profitability, risk analysis, cash flow analysis, revenue and asset recognition, and valuation. The skills are useful for students to evaluate financial reporting quality, detect earnings management, and predict firms' financial performance.

MPAC 232. Taxes and Business Strategy
Develops a student's ability to identify, understand, and evaluate tax-planning opportunities. The focus is on tax planning concepts and the effects of taxes on business decisions rather than on detailed tax rules, compliance, or legal research.

MPAC 235. Advanced Managerial and Cost Accounting
Design of cost information and systems used to plan and control organizational activities; procedures used to account for unit, process, and program costs; cybernetic evaluation of costing procedures; cost estimation, analysis, and accounting via computers.

MPAC 238. Advanced Auditing and Assurance Services
Designed to provide advanced coverage of topics and emerging issues in auditing, assurance services, and fraud detection. Provides a deeper understanding of the fundamental concepts of auditing, assurance services, and developing hot-topics within the auditing profession. 

MPAC 239. Ethics in Accounting and Business
Designed to introduce students to the intellectual principles of ethical decision making by emphasizing the theories of ethics and their application in the business, and specifically, accounting professions. MPAC capstone course with a final comprehensive exam for the program.

MPAC 291. Professional Research and Communication
Combines research of the professional accounting literature on a range of technical topics with a written communication and oral presentations of the findings.

PhD Course Descriptions

291. PhD Sem-Acc
A special topics course.

291-AC1. Capital Markets Research in Accounting
The emphasis in this course is on empirical-archival research methods and issues, primarily pertaining to the role of financial accounting in capital markets. Empirical research and the theory foundations for the hypotheses will be covered. Topics will vary across years to enable wider coverage of the vast literature in capital markets research in accounting, and so this course may be repeated. 

291-AC2. Theoretical and Empirical Research in Managerial Accounting
This seminar provides an introduction to theoretical and empirical research in management accounting, using an economics and organizational theory framework. Some examples of topics are: framework, theoretical and empirical research in performance measurement and incentives, strategy and management accounting, strategy theories on competition, governance and firm choices. 

291-AC3. Research Methods in Accounting
In this course, students will learn ways to identify important and testable accounting research questions in this seminar. They will study various design tools and learn how to evaluate research, its validity, and research ethics. The core topics will review the classic papers in accounting research. First-year PhD students will do either a replication of a published empirical paper, or a numerical example of a theoretical model. Senior students will propose and conduct new research.

It is expected that the instructor will incorporate a discussion on teaching expectations in an academic accounting career, as well as the integration of research with teaching. This will expose first year students to the expectations of an academic career in accounting, and to transition senior students to be instructors because they are likely to be course instructors for the first time.

291-AC4. Contemporary Accounting Topics (or Frontiers of Accounting Research)
Students will be exposed to the most current research topics in this seminar. The course will provide a sampler menu of research topics for first year students and will help students at the proposal stage to develop their own research area. This course may be repeated.

291-AC5. Behavioral Accounting Research in Capital Markets
This seminar explores topics in accounting research that follows the new paradigm that does not assume perfect rationality of entities (individuals, institutions, or markets) and instead allows for psychological influences in the capital markets. Some examples of topics are: accounting-related market anomalies, limited attention effects on capital markets and strategic behaviors of entities, accounting regulation response when markets are not perfectly rational, etc.

291-AC6. Tax Research in Accounting
The objective of this course is to develop your ability to critically evaluate and (possibly) conduct empirical research on the role of taxes on business activities, asset prices, and financial reporting. Important elements of this include developing: (1) An appreciation for the role of theory in applied work, (2) An understanding of research designs commonly used in accounting and finance research, (3) The necessary skills to design and conduct empirical research, and (4) Skills to identify a marketable project. 

291-AC7. Special Topics in Accounting (2 units)
This course will examine research in a range of accounting areas, including Financial Accounting, International Accounting, Book-Tax Differences, and Auditing. Assignments likely will include the following: (1) Actively participate in class discussions of research papers; (2) Present and/or discuss at least one of the papers; (3) Draft at least one referee report; (4) Develop a research proposal on an original research idea; (5) A final exam.

291- AC8. Contemporary Topics in Accounting (2 units)
This course focuses on research in accounting, primarily pertaining to financial intermediaries and capital markets. In each session we will discuss the assigned papers.