Undergraduate Course Descriptions

ACCT1010 - Acct & Financial Report (Course Syllabus)

This course is an introduction to the basic concepts and standards underlying financial accounting systems. Several important concepts will be studied in detail, including: revenue recognition, inventory, long-lived assets, present value, and long term liabilities. The course emphasizes the construction of the basic financial accounting statements - the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement - as well as their interpretation.

ACCT1020 - Strategic Cost Analysis (Course Syllabus)

Strategic Cost Analysis is the process of analyzing and managing costs in order to improve the strategic position of the business. This goal can be accomplished by having a thorough understanding of which activities and costs support an organization's strategic position and which activities and costs either weaken it or have no impact. Subsequent cost management efforts can then focus on reducing or limiting expenditures on activities that add little or no strategic value, while increasing expenditures on activities that support the strategic position of the organization. Performance can then be evaluated to ensure that the chosen actions are taken, and that these actions are yielding improved strategic performance. Throughout the course, a strategic cost analysis and management framework will be applied across functions and organizations to highlight the cost analysis and performance evaluation methods available to forecast financial performance and improve strategic position.

ACCT2110 - Tax Policy & Practice (Course Syllabus)

The academic component of the course will focus on several areas: (1) The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap. Students will read this book throughout the semester to support their understanding of the community that they will be serving. (2) Statutory tax system. Students will learn about the tax system as it relates to individuals and sole proprietors. The VITA training covers general tax preparation, with a specific focus on tax credits available to VITA-eligible taxpayers and the use of VITA software. In addition, one session of the course will include a guest lecture/discussion. It will focus on statutory tax issues related to organizational form choice for self-employed and gig economy workers, which is an important statutory issue in low-income communities. (3) Social policy debate. Tax policy, including deductions, subsidies and credits, are one tool that lawmakers can use to get more cash in the hands of individuals and families, especially for low-income groups. Students will consider the effectiveness and usefulness of tax policies relative to other tools that the government has available. There are three guest lecturers for the sessions on tax policy. (4) Working with people. Volunteering with VITA requires students to work with people from a low-income community on the sensitive issue of personal finances. Students will learn to discuss sensitive financial issues with lower-income adults (including many seniors) through readings and in-class discussions, and by reflecting on their real-life experiences in the local community. This skill is important in a variety of roles such as healthcare (physicians and nurses), business (e.g., the HR function), and education. The community service part of the course is volunteering with VITA, which is the IRS’s “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance” program. Following training, students will perform tax services for the West Philadelphia community during the tax season. The course will meet once a week in three-hour sessions for 8-9 weeks during the Spring semester. Students are expected to be in the field performing service throughout a significant portion of the semester. As described on the IRS website, the VITA program has operated for over 50 years. Volunteers offer free tax help to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns, including: • People who generally make $58,000 or less • Persons with disabilities; and • Limited English-speaking taxpayers.

ACCT2120 - Fin Measurement & Disclo (Course Syllabus)

This course builds on the knowledge you obtained in your introductory financial accounting course. This is an intermediate level course on financial reporting which covers more complicated transactions than those found in ACCT 1010. We will cover major valuation and financial reporting topics on all three major sections of the balance sheet-assets, liabilities, and equity-along with their consequences for net income and cash flows. Case studies and illustrative examples from the financial press will be used to increase your familiarity with actual firms' financial statements and to emphasize the effect of financial accounting rules on the information presented in financial statements. After completing this course, you will have obtained many of the tools necessary to both prepare and analyze financial statements and accounting information provided by firms. You will acquire an understanding of both the "how" of accounting procedures and the underlying reasons "why" these practices are adopted. These skills are essential for pursuing a broad range of professions in accounting and finance.

Prerequisites: ACCT 1010

ACCT2420 - Acct & Business Analysis (Course Syllabus)

In the course, students learn how to analyze firms' financial statements and disclosures to determine how a firm's particular accounting choices reflect the underlying economics of the firm. As a result, the course strengthens students' ability to use financial statements as part of an overall assessment of the firm's strategy and valuation. The course is especially useful for anyone interested in working on the buy or sell side. The course provides both a framework for and the tools necessary to analyze financial statements. At the conceptual level, it emphasizes that preparers and users of financial statements have different objectives and incentives. At the same time, the course is applied and stresses the use of actual financial statements. For example, students learn how to detect when firms are managing earnings and/or balance sheets. It draws heavily on real business problems and uses cases to illustrate the application of the techniques and tools. If ACCT 2420 is not offered in a given year, Undergraduate students can take ACCT 7420. Please submit a permission request through Path@Penn.edu.

Prerequisites: ACCT 1010

ACCT2430 - Acct For Complx Fin Stru (Course Syllabus)

Since ACCT 2430 will not be cross listed with ACCT 7430 in the Fall 2021 semester, students interested in ACCT 2430 will need to be permitted into ACCT 7430. All prerequisites need to be completed in order to receive a permit. Please submit a permission request through Path@Penn.edu. Undergraduate students will be notified in August regarding a permit. Also this class will follow the MBA calendar. The objective of this course is to discuss and understand the accounting that underlies merger, acquisition, and investment activities among firms that result in complex financial structures. Key topics include the purchase accounting method for acquisitions, the equity method for investments, the preparation and interpretation of consolidated financial statements, tax implications of mergers and acquisitions, earnings-per-share considerations, the accounting implications of intercompany transactions and non-domestic investments, etc.

Prerequisites: ACCT 1010 AND (ACCT 2120 OR ACCT 2420)

ACCT2640 - Climate and Financial Markets (Course Syllabus)

Climate change might be the defining challenge of our times, with a wide range of effects on financial markets and the broader economy. At the same time, financial markets play an important role in financing the transition to a net-zero economy. This role, however, is shaped by the information that is available to market participants. In this course, we examine how climate risks—both physical and regulatory—affect firms, financial markets (including carbon and renewable-energy certificate markets), and markets for energy and real estate. We examine the role that firms’ disclosures and third-party information sources play. As climate change is high on the agenda of almost every company and government, this course will be valuable both for students with the ambition to pursue a career centered around sustainability and those who want to gain a better understanding of how climate issues affect more traditional roles in the financial sector, consulting, or non-profits. The starting point for this course is that financial market participants increasingly realize that climate change represents an important investment risk. One central concern focuses on transition risks, and in particular on the effects that regulatory responses to climate change have on the business models of carbon-intensive energy companies. We discuss how concerns about various climate risks influence the way investors allocate their capital and exercise their oversight of firms. We start with the price impacts of climate risks in equity, debt and real estate markets, including the role played by shareholder activism and engagement, divestment and portfolio alignment. Next, we study carbon markets with a focus on pricing and discuss strategies to hedge climate risks through financial instruments such as carbon or renewable-energy credits and derivative contracts. We then explore how different firms in the global energy sector—ranging from oil & gas to renewable energy to electric utilities—have responded to climate-related pressures from their investors and other stakeholders. Because outsiders’ reactions depend on the information that they have, we investigate the impact of ESG reporting on financial markets and on the choices that managers make. Here, we also discuss the costs and benefits of regulating ESG reporting and the impact of greenwashing. We pay special attention to the impact of climate risk and reporting on decisions inside organizations, such as spin-offs, hedging, catastrophe insurance, and the structure of executive-compensation contracts. Further topics include life-cycle emissions and the social cost of carbon.

Prerequisites: ACCT 1010 AND BEPP 2500

ACCT2700 - Forensic Analytics (Course Syllabus)

Recent trends in Big Data and predictive analytics are revolutionizing the way stakeholders analyze financial data. This course teaches students the hands-on skills necessary to manipulate large-scale financial databases and build predictive models useful for strategic and investment decisions. The course will cover three applications of predictive analytics: (i) forecasting future earnings, (ii) predicting accounting fraud, and (iii) detecting insider trading. The course will draw on cutting-edge academic research in each area; introduce students to the basic SQL coding skills necessary to manipulate Big Data and conduct meaningful analyses; and leverage the datasets and computing power of Wharton Research Data Services. The course is organized as a hybrid of a traditional seminar course and a computer science course. The first few classes of each unit will cover the conceptual material and source material related to each topic. The later classes in each unit will cover the technical material and programming skills needed to manipulate the respective datasets, estimate predication models, and backtest algorithms. Acct 2700 will NOT be offered in Spring 2025.

Prerequisites: ACCT 1010 AND STAT 1020

ACCT2900 - Acct for Entrepreneurs (Course Syllabus)

This course covers the financial, managerial, and tax accounting issues and tools relevant to private, entrepreneurial companies as they progress from the earliest stages of the business through to the company’s exit, typically through a strategic buyer, a private equity firm, or via an IPO. Topics include the choice of organizational form; the development of the initial accounting infrastructure; the accounting issues that are frequently faced by entrepreneurs such as accounting for intangible assets, employee compensation, revenue recognition, and financing; the development of management and internal control systems; the establishment of monthly and yearly budgeting, financial forecasting, and cash management processes; and the accounting information required for fundraising and going public. The class is designed for students who intend to own, work for, or invest in entrepreneurial companies.

Prerequisites: ACCT 1010 AND ACCT 1020

ACCT2970 - Taxes and Bus Strategy (Course Syllabus)

The objective of this course is to develop a framework for understanding how taxes affect business decisions. The key themes of the framework - all parties, all taxes and all costs - are applied to decision contexts such as investments, compensation, organizational form, and mergers and acquisitions. The ultimate goal is to provide a new approach to thinking about taxes that will be valuable even as laws and governments change. If ACCT 2970 is not offered in a given year, Undergraduate students interested in ACCT 2970 will need to submit a permission request through Path@Penn. Please submit your request in Acct 8970. All prerequisites need to be completed in order to receive a permit. Also this class will follow the MBA calendar.

Prerequisites: ACCT 1010 AND FNCE 1010

ACCT3990 - Independent Study (Course Syllabus)

Intensive reading and study with some research under the direction of a faculty member. Approval from one of the departmental advisers must be obtained before registration. Also a 3.4 average in major related subjects required.