By Jay McIntosh, Adjunct Faculty – Einstein said, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” Yet many financial executives have never taken a tax course beyond the introductory level. Now a new winter class, Accountancy 584, will give non-tax majors at DePaul an understanding of the business consequences of tax law.
Executives’ lack of formal tax education may be one of the reasons income taxes have consistently been a leading cause of material weaknesses and significant deficiencies under PCAOB Auditing Standards. We created Accountancy 584 with that background in mind. It is not designed to make the students tax experts—it is intended to give them the skills they need to interact more effectively with tax professionals and to have a better understanding of how taxes affect business decisions. This course is designed for students who have a solid foundation in accounting and finance but have not taken graduate-level tax courses.
I spent a great deal of my career as a tax professional explaining tax risks, opportunities, and issues to CFOs, audit committee members, CEOs and other non-tax professionals. Only on rare occasions did they actually appear to understand what I was saying. They generally trusted my judgment and accepted my recommendations. All too often, however, tax professionals are brought in too late in the decision-making process to completely eliminate the risk or maximize the opportunity.
Topics that will be covered in the course include choice of organizational form, mergers and acquisitions, transfer pricing, U.S. taxation of international operations, financial accounting and ethical considerations. Students who complete this course will have a base of knowledge to build on as they pursue a career in financial management. They will be better equipped to effectively allocate time and resources to taxation.
Accountancy 584 will be offered as a graduate-level course during winter quarter of DePaul’s 2011-2012 school year. Please email me
with questions or to learn more about the class. Jay McIntosh is Adjunct Faculty in the School of Accountancy and Management Information Systems at DePaul University.