Written by: Sakina Nazarali, Peak Associate

SFU’s Beedie School of Business (SFU Beedie) has partnered with KPMG, a professional service company that offers auditing and accounting services, for a new graduate program that will teach audit professionals enhanced digital and cognitive analytic skills.

SFU Beedie announced the three-year partnership in December via a press release on their website. The partnership between the two organizations was signed in November 2018. SFU Beedie was chosen by KPMG because “the school demonstrated its ability to deliver this forward-looking program through an advanced online interface, alongside in-person teaching sessions,” according to the release.

The program, titled Digital University, “focuses on developing auditors for an era of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other digital advances” said Will Henderson, manager of communications and public relations of SFU Beedie in an email interview with The Peak. He describes the program as “open to qualified CPAs within KPMG’s Audit practice with 3–6 years of experience.”

Upon successful completion of the Digital University program, auditors will earn a graduate certificate in Accounting with Digital Analytics and they also have the option to continue their training to obtain a Master of Science in Accounting with Cognitive Analytics, according to Henderson.  

The certificate program will be launched in summer 2019 and it will conclude in December 2019, according to Henderson. The MSc program, on the other hand, will be launched in summer 2020, and certain auditors who have earned the certificate will be nominated to enrol in the MSc. The entire program, including the certificate and the MSc, is part-time and will take about two years to complete, he added.

“KPMG’s Digital University program is the first of its kind in Canada and focuses on developing auditors for an era of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other digital advances,” said Henderson. “The program will offer KPMG professionals the training, practical experience and work environments they need to accelerate their careers in the fast-changing data age.”

The program will not only aim to bolster practical knowledge in data analysis for participants, but also encourage them to “combine these skills with critical thinking to derive meaningful business insights from data,” according to the SFU press release.

Digital University participants can keep working while completing the program’s course requirements. “Around 80 per cent of the course work will be delivered online . . . But students also will attend a limited number of face-to-face classes led by Beedie professors,” said Andrew Gemino, SFU Beedie’s associate dean of graduate programs in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

“The Digital University relationship between SFU Beedie and KPMG in Canada reflects a shared commitment to developing innovative business professionals who will lead the way in their industry across Canada,” said Ali Dastmalchian, SFU Beedie’s Dean, in the university’s press release.

With files from SFU Beedie School of Business and The Globe and Mail