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Master's in Accounting Programs

Universally recognized as an accounting powerhouse, Gies Business offers a variety of master's programs that can prepare you for a successful career. With the #1 accountancy faculty in the nation and #2 graduate program, Gies accountancy ensures you'll be taught and mentored by the top experts in the field.

Gies offers three STEM-designated Master's in Accounting programs:

Master of Accounting Science (MAS)

The nine-month residential MAS will develop your data analytics skills so you can be a leader in accounting and sit for the CPA exam with confidence. This program is designed for students with:

  • A bachelor's degree in accounting from an accredited US institution
  • US-based internship experience

Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA)

The one-year residential MSA will build students’ expertise in the fundamentals of accounting, develop data-driven decision makers, and prepare students to sit for the CPA. This program is designed for:

  • Domestic students who do not have a bachelor's degree in accounting
  • International students with any undergraduate degree
  • Students with a preference for residential, in-person learning

Online Master of Science in Accountancy (iMSA)

Regardless of the depth of your accounting background, the iMSA is a flexible, 100% online program that will teach you to gather and analyze critical information and make informed, strategic decisions. This program is designed for students with:

  • A bachelor's degree in any field, including accounting
  • A preference for flexible, 100% online learning

We develop information engineers and problem solvers

The most successful accountants are not just number crunchers; they're highly-trained, forward-thinking professionals who can make data-driven strategic decisions. At Gies Business, you'll be immersed in a leading-edge curriculum infused with data analytics that top employers demand. Our graduates are leaders, communicators, and critical thinkers prepared to lead businesses into a rapidly changing future.

Accelerate your career opportunities

As one of the largest suppliers of leaders in the accounting profession, we boast more partners in the Big Four CPA firms and consistently place graduates in C-suite jobs with major corporations. Gies graduates land jobs, in the US and abroad, with prestigious companies like PwC, ADM, Tencent, Grant Thornton, KPMG, Deloitte, EY, and many more.

Gies' graduate accountancy programs enable you to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Employers recognize the value of an accounting degree from Gies College of Business, and our graduates are prepared to add value in their careers from day one. So whether you want to sit for the CPA, land a job with the Big Four, or just learn to speak the language of business, Gies' graduate programs can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.


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If you have questions about admissions, tuition, curriculum, or anything else about Gies accounting programs, we’re here to help.

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Gies News and Events

Leiby brings VR, empathy into accounting discipline

Jan 4, 2021, 08:37 AM by Aaron Bennett
The image of an accountant as a dispassionate person who isn’t influenced by status or environment doesn’t reflect today’s professional, according to Justin Leiby, associate professor of accountancy at Gies College of Business.

The image of an accountant as a dispassionate person who isn’t influenced by status or environment doesn’t reflect today’s professional, according to Justin Leiby, associate professor of accountancy at Gies College of Business.

“It struck me how much emotions and feelings drive decision-making in the real world, yet much research has focused on how to take their impact out of the process. The emotional side is a reality to embrace and work with instead of against,” said Leiby.

Leiby’s research and teaching interests focus on the role of social relations and interactions in auditing. He is the Professor Ken Perry Faculty Fellow in Accountancy at the College. Leiby earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and German at the University of Pittsburgh and his PhD in Accounting from Gies College of Business in 2011.

Leiby then headed south, working as an assistant professor of accounting at the University of Florida and subsequently the University of Georgia before returning to Illinois in 2018.

“It wasn’t a big secret I’d like to come back here. Gies has one of the best behavioral accounting programs in the country, and my wife and I didn’t realize how much we loved this place until we left,” Leiby said. “It was an easy decision to come back. This community accepts you for who you are and eases stress instead of creating it.”

Leiby’s Risk Management and Innovation course focuses on empathy building. It uses empathic design thinking to challenge accounting students to manage risk by first considering how stakeholder thoughts and feelings impact how they react to risk.

He has integrated virtual reality (VR) experiences into his course, and he is also in the early stages of developing a project with his students to examine how VR impacts remote working, which has become the status quo during the COVID pandemic. It builds on research that shows immersive environments create greater empathy and other interpersonal bonds.

“One great advantage of VR over Zoom’s teleconference platform, for example, is that it is free from distraction. Instead of looking at someone else’s home office, you’re in the virtual same space that’s a neutral environment,” said Leiby. “This impacts how much you invest in your performance on a given task.”

The goal is to find practical implementations for VR and use it to do certain audit procedures. He believes the area that’s most promising is coaching.

“There are critical interactions as an auditor when you need to gain someone’s attention and trust, like giving performance feedback. These are teachable moments. But giving feedback by email is terrible and by phone or a Zoom call isn’t much better. A level of engagement is missing,” he said.

Post-COVID-19 VR could also reduce travel time, create smaller carbon footprints, and respond to younger professionals’ desire to create more flexibility in their work schedule.

“This research hopes to prove that remote working can be effective and prove its value to those who make workplace decisions at firms,” he said, noting that VR is already growing in acceptance on the consulting side of accounting firms.

Leiby has collaborated with Anna Gold (VU Amsterdam) and Kathryn Kadous (Emory/Gies PhD) on a project for The Foundation for Auditing Research (FAR) that started with premise that the way people assess expertise is fundamentally incorrect. This applies to accounting in that regulators are concerned that auditors rely on experts without delving deeper into the underlying quality of their work. They created a case based on real-world input concerning the audit of the fair values of investment properties. Professional auditors viewed one of three versions that shows the dynamic between an expert and the client.

“This is fascinating. We asked them to assess the competence of an expert. We found they unintentionally confuse status with competence. On the surface, auditing appears to be rigid and standardized with guidance for everything. In reality, auditors live in an ambiguous world where they need to make their best guess if the valuation of things outside their expertise is reasonable,” he said. “Generally, it becomes easier to push back to a client if the auditor has the support of an expert with a powerful social network, which helps to smooth the waters.”