Building at UTM/Courtesy of Shai Gil

A new Master’s of Forensic Accounting program (MFAcc) was unanimously approved by the Governing Council’s Committee on Academic Policy and Programs on May 10.

The program proposal first received approval from the University of Toronto Mississauga Academic Affairs Committee at the end of April. The program will now be subject to approval by the Executive Committee on June 14. If approved by the Executive Committee, the program will begin in September 2017.

The two-year part-time MFAcc will be offered by UTM’s Institute for Management & Innovation and will consist of 10 half-credit courses. Nine of these courses will be online, with one week long in-class course offered during a residence session.

The proposed program is meant to replace the current Diploma in Investigative and Forensic Accounting (DIFA). Once formal approval is reached for the MFAcc, the DIFA program will permanently suspend admissions; once all the DIFA students have graduated, the diploma program will officially close.

Forensic accounting, which merges accounting skills with investigative work, is an emerging field relevant to financial crime. According to the official New Graduate Program Proposal, the program would “educate students in forensic accounting and investigation, data analytics and security, fraud and cybercrime, fraud prevention, risk assessment and investigation, legal and legal process issues, and psychological aspects of white-collar crime.”

In Canada, similar programs are only found at two other institutions. Seneca College offers a certificate in Fraud Examination and Forensic Accounting, while Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, BC, offers a Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation advanced diploma.

“The MFAcc addresses a critical issue in a world in which we are dependent on the integrity of governments, corporations, NGOs and not-for-profits,” said Hugh Gunz, director of the Institute for Management and Innovation. “It will enhance IMI’s mission to teach sector-specific management in areas vital to our society.”

Professor Robert Reisz, vice dean, graduate for UTM, also lauded the program during the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs’ May 10 meeting.

“It is an interesting program because it is an opportunity to provide academic and professional leadership, in response to the complex financial crime that requires financial assistance integrative and legal expertise of accounting professionals with specialized training in the emerging field of forensic accounting research,” Reisz said. “So that’s developing around the professional practice itself.”

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