Faculty Snapshot: Accounting in the Digital Era course sets Rutgers Business School students apart

James R. Littley

Part-time Lecturer, Accounting & Information Systems

Expertise: Data analytics, intelligent automation, risk assessments, internal auditing, forensic investigations, fraud risk management, regulatory compliance and contract compliance.

Rutgers Business School (RBS) has a long history of corporate partnerships that bring current practices and trends from business into the classroom to better prepare students for fulfilling careers.  Jim Littley, Principal, KPMG LLP (retired 2017) became part of that tradition when he taught Accounting in the Digital Era to students in the Master of Accountancy in Financial Accounting program.  

Littley designed the course to give students an advantage and set them apart from their peers.  “Few students outside of computer sciences have done any computer programing or have experience writing code,” said Littley.  “My course introduced them to programing in current leading practice technologies.”  Students began learning and using tools such as Tableau, Python, and UiPath. “Students with a working knowledge to proficiency level ability with these applications and tools are uncommon.  Experience with these tools better prepares students for positions and for what is happening in accounting today.”

“Given the ever-increasing proliferation of data available to accountants and the importance of being able to efficiently convert relevant data to information to extract valuable insights, accountants increasingly need to develop skills in the use of data & analytics, text mining & analysis, and robotic process automation in order to effectively perform their jobs.  Students learn and gain experience in techniques for the modern, data-driven accountant including visual and advanced data analytics, robotic process automation, and programming in leading practice tools.  In addition, students learn the basics of blockchain, big data, and deep learning.  These technologies are profoundly affecting and changing the accounting profession.  The Big 4 and top tier accounting firms are demanding accounting students who are literate in these technological areas, and this class works to fulfill that demand.”  

“As the MAccy-FA course facilitator this summer, I wanted the students to be able to recognize problems, identify and evaluate processes and information, and understand when and how powerful technologies can be used to provide solutions to improve business practices.  This is the direction of accounting in the digital era.  Experience in these areas better prepares students for success in the transition from academia to the accounting profession.

-Sean Ireland

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