Leading the change to shape the future of business

Steve Fortin, SAF Director

A world of unprecedented change is a world of unparalleled potential. Technologies are disrupting businesses, industries and traditional accounting and finance (A&F) fields. Tomorrow’s financial professionals will play an important role in defining the financial reporting of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, identifying opportunities and turning them into reality.

SAF, like the University of Waterloo, was built by risk takers and innovators. SAF continues to redefine education for the next generation of A&F professionals. Our curriculum broadens our students’ skillset beyond accounting and finance to meet tomorrow’s demand for professionals who are fluent in the language of business, analytics, technology, and the environment. Our graduates think like entrepreneurs to identify opportunities and trends to anticipate future complex problems.

TRANSFORMING THE PROFESSIONS THROUGH WORLD-CLASS RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

The School has long been known as Canada’s top school for accounting and finance education and research. Ranked 10th* in the world for accounting research, we are expanding and broadening our global reputation as thought-leaders through the research and symposia hosted by our research centres – Centre for Accounting Ethics, Waterloo Centre for Taxation in a Global Economy, UW Centre for Information Integrity and Information Systems Assurance (UWCISA), and CPA Ontario Centre for Performance Management Research and Education (CPMRE). And leveraging our deep connections with CPA Ontario, we’ve partnered with WatSPEED, a new unit at Waterloo, to provide professional education to bridge the skills and knowledge gaps for early career A&F professionals.

The School is never at a stand-still. We continually review and update our robust curriculum to prepare graduates to become A&F professionals with the breadth and adaptability to work and thrive within disruption. SAF’s flagship undergraduate program, Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) recently expanded its curriculum to provide students with flexibility to focus their studies in one of five specializations – public accounting, entrepreneurship, sustainability, financial leadership, and financial markets.

Seizing the opportunity to innovate in the combined fields of environment, social impact, and financial management, SAF has partnered with the Faculty of Environment to launch a new undergraduate program, Sustainability and Financial Management (SFM). A first of its kind in Canada, the SFM program will train and equip professionals of tomorrow with the skills needed to navigate, analyze, interpret, and report on a company’s impact and governance specific to sustainability while providing a curriculum to lead towards professional designation in both the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designations.

Our history is defined by ground-breaking ideas and pioneering research. We have a history of being first – come see what we do next.

*2021 Brigham Young University Global Accounting Research Survey

School of Accounting and Finance Strategic Plan

Starting in 2017 the School began implementing a new strategy that is designed to prepare our students for an ever-changing world and to apply practice, policy and the professions with world-class research.

Over the next ten years, the School will leverage our people and the University’s strengths, aligning our combined resources and energy towards our mission:

Transforming the professions; world-class research, experiential education.

As a School composed of students, faculty and staff we will transform the accounting and finance professions in two ways. First, through the world-class research conducted by our faculty and disseminated to the business community, policy makers and standard setters. Second, our graduates will transform the professions through the impact that they will have in their careers based on the capabilities they develop through experiential education here at Waterloo.

To develop our students’ capabilities we will:

  • Further invest in our outstanding cross-disciplinary programs with Arts, Math, Science and EngineeringExpand our business analytics course offerings to develop student capabilities in this rapidly changing area
  • Expand opportunities for experiential learning such as case competitions, Student Investment Fund and Student Venture Fund
  • Implement problem-based learning to develop our students’ ability to solve problems and collaborate as part of a team
  • Fine-tune the sixteen months of co-op work experience to optimize student learning
  • Collaborate with the Conrad Centre to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset where students innovate and solve problems
  • Renew our graduate program offerings by redeveloping our Master of Accounting program

To develop a world-class research capability we will:

  • Recruit top academic researchers and create an environment that fosters collaboration
  • Enhance our existing PhD program and develop a new PhD program in finance
  • Build on our international research collaborations to gain broader perspectives on research issues
  • Engage the policy, practice and professional communities to inform our research and to apply academic research to these communities
  • Effectively communicate our research to the business community, policy makers and standard setters

If you are a current student, staff member or faculty we are thankful that you are part of our team and helping us achieve our Mission. If you are thinking of joining us we would be delighted to have you help us transform the professions.