Accounting is concerned with the provision, interpretation, and application of financial and other economic information essential to the efficient conduct and evaluation of an organization's activities. It includes a study of data processing and reporting methods, and of the many related measurement and conceptual problems such as how to assess and report the effects of inflation on the organization's earnings and financial status. The information provided by accounting is employed for: effective planning, control, and decision making by management; and discharging the accountability of organizations to investors, creditors, government agencies, taxing authorities, employees, consumers, and other users.
Because decisions made by various users are partly based on accounting information, accounting has to adapt to changing business and social needs. In order that the professional accountant be able to meet and/or initiate change, his or her education must therefore extend beyond a mastery of techniques and practices to include a study of their conceptual foundations, rationale, and limitations; and must include an examination of alternative accounting models.
The major in Accounting gives students significant insight into all financial information aspects: how it is generated, how it is processed, and what it means. Any business person must have an understanding of the "numbers" if he or she is to be successful in future business endeavors. Therefore, we recommend to every student who has a strong interest in the fields of accounting, financial management, or financial and management information systems that he or she consider accounting as a major. Accounting courses will also provide an insightful background for the study of finance, economics, computer science, operations management, management information systems, law and related disciplines, strategy, or organizational design.
Accounting majors primarily follow a professional career by becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Certified General Accountant (CGA). In Alberta, the three Accounting Institutes are working towards unification under the new Chartered Professional Accounting (CPA) designation. Some accounting majors go on to law school (especially if interested in tax) or industry. Graduates of the U of A BCom program with a major in Accounting, who have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and have completed all the CMA prerequisite courses, are eligible for an exemption from writing the CMA Entrance Examination, and thus can directly enter the CMA Strategic Leadership Program.