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ACCT 470 Accounting Systems and Data Processing Course Guide

Course Description 

This course is an introduction to systems analysis and design with a strong emphasis on accounting information systems. Conceptual foundations of accounting information systems; the systems life cycle; basic manual and automated control of accounting information systems; and accounting information systems applications will be reviewed. Students will use systems analysis and design methodologies to understand the accountants' role in development of accounting information systems. The emphasis of systems analysis and design will be on gaining an understanding of how one goes about developing an accounting information system. 

In addition, we will briefly examine how IT developments are changing the way that businesses are conducted. Since most of you will be users or auditors of information systems, the course is geared towards gaining an appreciation and working knowledge of systems development, software construction and database systems. The goal of the course is to enable intelligent communication with systems professionals. 

Specific, Assessable Learning Outcomes

The student will demonstrate a basic understanding of:

1.       Traditional transaction cycles and internal controls

2.       Designing systems using the REA model

3.       Translating systems design into a relational schema

4.       Querying a database to obtain information

Recommended Teaching Methodology

Faculty teaching the course are expected to utilize a variety of teaching styles and evaluation mechanisms throughout the semester.   There should be several projects incorporated into the course to give students hands-on experience in applying the concepts taught.

Syllabus Requirement Life Long Learning

In order to support our students’ development into Life-Long Learners, students will be encouraged to join the appropriate professional organization. For this course, students will be encouraged to join ISACA

Course Outline

Overview of accounting information systems

                Business processes

                Traditional vs. integrated systems

The REA enterprise ontology

                Value systems and value chains

                Conceptual Modeling

                Patterns in business models

Task level modeling


                Data Flow Diagrams

Converting models to relational schema


                Implementation of Relationships                   

                Implementation compromises

                Querying databases

Transaction cycles



                Human resources/Payroll

                Conversion (if time permits)

Risks and Controls in Information Systems

Introduction to E-commerce

Recommended Assessment Measures

  1. A project involving a manual accounting system

  2. A project involving:

    1. design of a system for one transaction cycle

    2. implementation of the system in Access

  3. Tests on course topics during the semester

Statement of Expectations

This course is an elective for accounting majors.

The students will be expected to show an interest in the subject, the willingness to commit the necessary resources in terms of time and intellectual effort, and the willingness to actively participate in the skill development process.

Databases and information systems are used in all facets of business. The knowledge expected to be gained from this course is important throughout the student’s career. Most of the learning that will take place will not occur in the classroom. It will occur while working on the material outside of class – when reading, thinking critically, analyzing, and applying the concepts to real problems. The amount learned and the level of skill developed will be directly proportional to the amount of effort put forth in preparing for class.

The classes are opportunities to discuss and apply the material, to develop communication ability, and to create leadership skills. There are opportunities for the faculty member to provide insight, to help when appropriate, and to evaluate performance. Like any athletic or artistic endeavor, most of the knowledge acquisition and skill development takes place when practicing, not performing.

Prerequisite Knowledge

Acct300   Students should have a thorough understanding of the traditional method of recording accounting transactions. In addition, they should possess an intermediate level of competency with personal computers and the Windows operating environment. Elementary proficiency with spreadsheet, word-processing, presentation, and email software is assumed.

An ability to make an oral presentation and the ability to write about business and accounting topics is also expected.

Institutional Mechanism for Providing Feedback for Continuous Quality Improvement

The faculty teaching the course will meet at least annually to discuss their results. Because technology changes frequently the faculty will also discuss any new developments that should be incorporated into the course.