Welcome to the ISA/BIT Learning Centre!
Objective of the Learning Centre
A key objective of the
learning centre is to provide an opportunity for students who may be
interested in an IT specialty to complete the prescribed specialist
education program and earn one or both of the Graduate Diplomas in
Information Technology offered by the School of Accountancy at the
University of Waterloo (subject to approval by the Ontario Council on
Graduate Studies or OCGS):
- The Diploma in
Information System Assurance (ISA), and
- The Diploma in
Business Information Technology (BIT).
Both of these
diplomas are still subject to OCGS approval.
programs will be offered by distance education as described below.
Another objective of
the Learning Centre is to provide specific courses on selected topics to
interested parties on demand.
the Accounting Profession
The term "information
technology", or IT, encompasses hardware and software products, information
system operations and management processes, and the human resources and
skills required to apply those products and processes to the task of
information production and information system development, operation,
management and control.
IT is one of the core competencies of professional accountants and deserves
special attention due to its explosive growth and its rapid rate of change.
IT plays a vital role in supporting the activities of both profit-oriented
and not-for-profit organizations. Professional accountants, in addition to
extensively using various types of information technologies, often play
important managerial, advisory and evaluative roles in connection with the
adoption, deployment and use of various information technologies by
organizations of all types and sizes.
Society expects that professional accountants who accept an engagement or
occupation have the required level of competence to perform the work
required. The accountancy profession as a whole has the obligation to ensure
that candidates for membership possess necessary IT competencies, and the
credibility of the accountancy profession depends on its success in
fulfilling this obligation. In addition, the accountancy profession has an
obligation to ensure that, after qualifying, members keep abreast of
relevant developments through continuing professional education.
International Education Guideline 11 identifies the following IT knowledge
and competency requirements for professional accountants:
- a set of general
IT knowledge requirements related to business systems;
- a set of knowledge
and competency requirements related to IT controls;
- a set of
competency requirements related to the accountant's role as a user of IT;
- a set of
role-related competency requirements associated with one of the following
generic IT roles:
- or an
alternative role defined by an IFAC member body.
In recognition of the expanded knowledge and competency requirements in a
number of specialized fields the accounting profession has embarked on a
specialization program. Within the large and diverse area of Information
Technology, there are a number of recognized or evolving specializations,
- IT security,
control and assurance
- IT strategy,
design and business process enablement
first is the specialization area of ISACA – the Information Systems Audit
and Control Association. The CICA has entered into an accreditation
agreement with ISACA that permits qualified CAs to link their CA designation
with the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designation. A CA
specializing in this area will be identified as "CA•CISA".
The second is the "CA•IT" specialization oriented towards a CA who
applies business acumen, strategic insight and understanding of IT to help
There is some overlap in the core competencies between the two specialties.
However, the focus of each specialty is quite different, as are the
associated business roles.
MAcc IT Stream
The UW MAcc IT stream is
a package of IT-related courses that provides the core courses required by
either the CA•CISA or CA•IT specializations. Thus, students can get a head
start on fulfilling the education requirements of the ISA and BIT diplomas.
The IT Stream is an
efficient and effective way to prepare for IT-related job opportunities upon
graduation. It will enable students to educate themselves to participate in
the "New Economy" and differentiate themselves to employers seeking
qualified candidates as well as accelerate their compensation scale.
University of Waterloo MAcc students may earn a portion of a diploma by
completing the IT Stream within the School of Accountancy's MAcc program,
and will be able complete the balance of the education requirements of an IT
speciality on a part time basis while employed in IT risk assessment,
assurance or consulting roles in a professional services firm, industry or
Non-UW students may apply for these Diploma programs and complete them on a part time basis.
By successfully completing a BIT Diploma, students will be able to reduce
the pre-certification experience requirements for the CA•IT accreditation
from 3 years to 2 years.