Summary of Degree Programme
38.04.08 Finance and Credit
Instruction in English
Principles and Concept of the Master’s Programme
Current changes in the character of economics and competition related to a greatly increased role of knowledge, intellectual capital as a factor of company business models’ feasibility and its performance dynamics sustainability, also related to new environmental and climatic challenges, a range of social problems and added complexity of their solution, set entirely new professional objectives to corporate capital managers.
First, a modern successful company is a knowledge firm (living firm) which implies a special importance of non-financial resources and intellectual assets in product development, cash flow generation, change of business investment risks. These changes have long been included in management concepts. However, business analytics, and even more so, financial analytics which provide tools and methods of resource measuring still offer a wide field for search for solutions to new challenges and development. The issues of analysis of intellectual capital which comprises human capital, client capital, organizational (or structural) capital remain unaddressed when it comes to measurements, systems of their state indicators, their dynamics indicators, defining the value of the above capital units and measuring of changes. The abovementioned problems also result in an acute problem of measuring the intellectual capital utilization efficiency. Besides, search for solutions concerning analysis of the role of nonfinancial intellectual assets in achieving the corporate financial results themselves is on the table.
Second, significant environmental changes, increase in the risks caused by such changes for society and companies put forward the task of analysis of the role such resources play in corporate performance. Discussion by the global community of sustainable and responsible development results inevitably in defining new approaches to business analysis, information on business and results evaluation. Considering the special role of this group of resources for society it cannot go unnoticed that measurements of performance, corporate efficiency should be performed in a new fashion. Thus, a modern company is considered from the point of view of multiple capitals, interrelation of financial capital with nonfinancial one (intellectual, social capital). So analysis of this particular interrelation of capital becomes the key objective of business analytics, results evaluation, making forecasts of certain companies’ development and assessment of their future growth. Consequently, at present the problem of evaluation and planning of corporate financial performance is formulated quite differently.
Third, the paradigm of perception of the business’ role in society and its target functions also changes significantly. At present increasing importance is attached to the concepts of value creation by business for a wide range of stakeholders – nonfinancial stakeholders, to be more exact – as opposed to the traditional perception of business as being aimed at serving the interests of owners and lenders as well as at increase of the business value understood in a narrow sense as growth for shareholders. The new perception of the role of nonfinancial stakeholders is discussed by the academic community, for example as the concepts of “extended shareholder value” (Michael Jensen), “total value” (Debriere), “shared values”.
Fourth, the necessity to analyze the role and contribution of nonfinancial capital, and first of all of intellectual capital generated inside a company, poses the problem of changing the approaches to corporate reporting. Researches show that dispersion of share prices of public companies explained by their financial statements, i.e. indicators of financial performance, came down dramatically and the downward trend persists. So, it is necessary to introduce fundamental changes in corporate reporting preparation. The acuteness of the problem has already forced financial statements’ regulators (IFRS Committee, London) to start discussion of future changes. In 2019 there were especially important shifts related to this problem. In November 2019 the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) published the document Enhancing Corporate Reporting which emphasized the role of the International System of Integrated Reporting (<IR>) in providing an “umbrella framework” for reporting. The core message of this document is as follows: “IFAC believes that integrated reporting bringing together the relevant information about a company, provides a holistic picture of performance and provides insights on an organization’s ability to create sustainable value over time” . This document encourages regulators and standard-setters to use the integrated reporting <IR> concepts as a foundation for corporate reporting. A special emphasis is laid on the fact that “interconnected framework may drive development of best practices and standard setting”. The document also describes the role of the accounting profession in improvement of corporate reporting including development of “reliable procedures and internal control systems, providing assurance as well as finding, measuring and reporting of corresponding indicators supported by the best practices and reporting standards”.
In June 2019 65% of participants of IFRS Foundation Conference in London agreed that incoherence of current requirements is a great obstacle impeding progress in global implementation of intellectual assets’ reporting systems. Consequently, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) developed plans of changes in financial reporting in accordance with IFRS to highlight the importance of recording intellectual assets. IASB proposed a project of development of a Practice Statement titled Management Commentary which, in particular, will develop guidelines for narrative reporting on intellectual assets. The key performance indicators which, according to investors, are useful for analysis of companies were also presented at the Conference. World Intellectual Capital Initiative developed the concept focusing on innovation and added value creation by establishing direct links with key performance indicators.
Thus, financial reporting regulators have discussed and issued new documents which require disclosure of intellectual capital information in annual reports by stating corresponding data in the Management Commentary concerning the company procedures taking place within the reporting period. For this purpose the regulators introduced a new term “INTANGIBLES” emphasizing that the plural means that this word refers to a set of resources which has a broader meaning than the official term “intangible assets”.
Fifth, consultants and professional associations already implement corresponding test methodologies and changes. For example, ACCA - ASSOCIATION OF CHARTERED CERTIFIED ACCOUNTANTS comprising professional accountants and financial management specialists in 180 countries introduced new syllabuses and professional examinations in 2020-2021: SBR - Strategic Business Reporting; SBL - Strategic Business Leader: part Governance: Stakeholder analysis and social responsibility, environmental and sustainability accounting including EMAS and ISO 14000. CIMA - Chartered Institute of Management Accountants implemented new “examination papers” related to nonfinancial reporting, nonfinancial capital (section Management - Integrated Reporting, regulation of non-financial reporting; section Strategy -non-financial capitals (human capital, intellectual capital and social and relationship capital), United Nations Sustainability Development Goals.
The purpose of the programme is training new professional specialists competent in analysis, evaluation, measuring of corporate financial and nonfinancial capital and making reports on multiple capitals and their role in obtaining corporate financial performance indicators and creating a consistent trend of value growth for all company stakeholders.
On the basis of this purpose the complex of subjects and projects provides a set of subject areas, concepts and topics which allow to convey the most advanced knowledge in the following fields:
- company analysis on the basis of evaluation of the change in the business value;
- an integrated approach to analysis and results assessment which implies study of nonfinancial capital and its role in creation of corporate financial performance and contribution in company’s investment risks;
- an integrated approach to analysis of business value creation which takes into consideration not just the contribution of nonfinancial stakeholders in the business value but also the extent of gain of benefit streams created for them and the company value.
Taking into consideration the purpose and objective of the master’s degree programme we view it as an interdisciplinary programme which combines subject units of up-to-date financial analytics based on the principles of corporate finance and business value assessment and subject units of financial and management accounting.
Comparison to Existing Online Master Programmes
The educational objectives set by the programme are unstandard and unique. Therefore it is impossible to compare them directly to existing master programmes dedicated to business analysis and accounting. There are several types of online programmes in the international market related to bookkeeping and accounting: MBA in Accounting (MBA); Master of Professional Accounting (MPAc); Master of Accountancy (MACC); Master of Science in Accounting programs (Ms). The master programme we offer is of Master of Science type in the field of finance and credit. European universities have several online master programmes in the similar field (accounting), for example: MSc Global Accounting, The University of Law Business School, UK Online, United Kingdom; Master in Finance and Accounting, Kozminski University, Warsaw, Poland; MSc Global Accounting, GISMA Law, Berlin, Germany. These programmes are focused on the traditional approach to data about a company and its performance and are not focused on the issues of combining of financial and nonfinancial capital and data and their use in business analysis. In the USA the programme Pennsylvania State online Master of Professional Accounting stands apart. It is of a mixed mode (with an offline component). This programme is concentrated only on financial and management accounting for business and non-profit-making organizations. In Asian universities there are also online programmes of a similar type: PEKING University - Master of Professional Accounting (MPAc); SHANGHAI JIAO TONG UNIVERSITY - Master of Professional Accounting (MPAc); HONG-KONG POLYTECNIC University - MSc in Accounting and Finance Analytics (mixed mode). The above programmes are taught applying university platforms.
Since 2017 there has been the only accounting programme on Coursera platform: Online Master's of Accounting (iMSA) in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is also notable for focusing on traditional accounting concepts and besides it is fully based on GAAP US accounting standards instead of international ones.
The master programme graduates’ professional spheres are as follows:
01 Education and Science (occupational education and supplementary vocational education);
08 Finance and economics (economics, finance, marketing and analytics).
Types of professional activities in which the graduates may be involved after completing the master’s programme:
- organizing and management;
- scientific research.
Characteristics of professional activities and competencies of programme students
The online programme implies training of specialists able to solve the following professional problems on the basis of the programme major subjects and indicated professional activities:
а) in analytics: analysis and evaluation of performance of companies from various industries and of different forms of incorporation on the basis of assessment of change in the business value; building the system of control over the state and efficiency of financial resources utilization; analysis and evaluation of risks (including new and emerging risks), assessment of influence of outer and internal environmental changes on the company’s ability to create value for stakeholders; measuring and development of indicators for nonfinancial capital; preparation and analysis of nonfinancial statements; control of accuracy of bookkeeping, finding errors in accounting valuations and data; making one’s own professional judgment on the company financial standing and its nonfinancial resources;
b) in organizing and management: development and implementation of advanced practices of management accounting and control, corporate financial and integrated planning methods, implementation and application of the best practices of management accounting for management and boards of directors, performing organizing and management functions when rendering strategic support to business and taking strategic decisions taking into consideration risks, when organizing feedback in corporate management systems; providing communication of the results of the conducted analysis;
c) in consulting: consulting on implementation of the best practices in accounting and reporting, interpretation of difficult accounting standards, building of an effective system of financial responsibility centers, building and improvement of the risk management system; carrying out financial investigations and detecting fraud; attestation of financial and nonfinancial reports;
d) in scientific research: study of cost factors taking into consideration industrial specifics and corporate nonfinancial resources’ specifics, creation of the intellectual capital value, factors of intellectual capital’s utilization efficiency, role of environmental factors, business social orientation factors and corporate governance factors (ESG), best practices of nonfinancial reporting, predictive power of nonfinancial data for evaluation of trends and company performance, the factors defining the quality of disclosure of financial information, other topics related to the programme major subjects.
The programme is aimed at the prospective students interested in an international career and planning to be professional accountants, auditors, consultants and analysts who are experts in corporate, tax and other issues for businesses of various sizes. The programme is taught in English providing full compliance with international standards and an opportunity to obtain an international accreditation of its courses in future. This programme is of special relevance in the times of the 4th industrial revolution and digitalization because the analysts who have completed the programme should have all current digital skills of information search, use of electronic databases and registers.
After completing the degree programme a graduate of HSE University acquires all-embracing, general professional and professional competencies.
General professional and professional competencies
(anticipated results of completing the degree programme)
Ability to carry out applied and/or fundamental research in financial relations using advanced methods of financial analysis including instrumental ones
Ability to generalize and exercise judgement in interpreting results of scientific research as well as ability to fulfill research projects in finance and related fields on one’s own
Ability to take economically and financially feasible organizational and management decisions while performing professional activity
Ability to carry out independent research in accordance with the developed programme, put forward novel suggestions related to the research area and methods, substantiate one’s contribution to development of the chosen line of research
Ability to present the results of the performed research to academia as a report (presentation) or an article
Ability to substantiate efficiency of the investment policy carried out by a company and a financial institution
Ability to make analytical justification of management decisions in companies, financial institutions and to develop their financial policy
Ability to elaborate recommendations as regards investment of one’s personal finances
Ability to implement financial policy of companies and financial institutions
Professional competencies are specific for graduates of this degree programme. Professional competencies are defined on the basis of occupational standards which describe the graduates’ professional activities and on the basis of analysis of labour market requirements, summing up of foreign experience, consultations with leading employers, employers' associations in the sector where the graduates are in demand.
The combination of all-embracing, general professional and professional competencies a graduate acquires enables him/her to conduct professional activities in more than one professional area or sphere or to perform professional tasks of more than one type established by an educational standard. The possible employment of the present master’s programme graduates and the scope of application of knowledge and skills acquired under the master’s programme comprise the following activity areas:
1) analytical (ability to create suitable systems and methodologies of business analytics for certain companies taking into consideration their specific character and best practices, prepare substantiation for corporate strategic and operational solutions, evaluate efficiency of the company performance);
2) accounting and reporting (ability to make up corporate financial statements in accordance with international standards, interpret difficult and new standards, prepare financial statements for companies of a complex organizational structure and ownership structure, make up-to-date strategic management statements);
3) consulting (ability to adapt and implement the best practices of business analytics, management statements, risk statements, system of corporate risk-based planning, advanced systems of corporate integrated planning, generation of reporting for boards of directors, evaluation of performance of corporate structural units, build corporate management systems);
4) auditorial (ability to analyze financial indicators of companies of various ownership structures, exercise judgement in interpreting their financial and economic standing, detect financial fraud - inter alia - in complex organizational structures, ability to conduct an independent audit of financial and nonfinancial statements in accordance with international standards and the best global practices, ability to exercise judgement in interpreting of the offered types of audit and develop and substantiate the suggestions of their improvement taking into consideration the criteria of efficiency, risk and probable consequences for a company and its stakeholders, ability to check control means and procedures for significance in accordance with international standards);
5) research in order to perform applied activities (ability to analyze the existing research results and approaches in the chosen sphere or subject area, detect research lacunas, search for, collect and process data, build research models, test and validate them, interpret the results in subject areas of the programme).
Unit 1. Subjects
The basic subjects of this field comprise macroeconomics, econometrics and financial theory. Taking into consideration the programme profile and its global offering through the Coursera platform the macroeconomics and econometrics programmes are focused on the concepts, models and methods most in demand for understanding the financial markets mechanisms, trends and study of data aggregate concerning corporate financial decisions, the role of disclosure of financial and nonfinancial information for investors, boards of directors, assessment of corporate performance by various stakeholders’ categories. By agreement with the platform, students study each course in this unit for 8 weeks. Besides the courses worth of 6 credits (56 class hours) comprising macroeconomics and econometrics are studied as follows: 3 online lectures (video divided into parts of 12 min) per week and 1 live webinar for the existing group of students of 2 academic hours per week. The financial theory course of 3 credits (48 class hours) provides 2 online video lectures per week and 1 webinar for a group of students. This unit is taught by professors of the theoretical economics department, applied economics department of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and the School of Finance of the Faculty of Economic Sciences.
The second part – professional compulsory subjects – consists of 8 subjects including 5 subjects of 6 credits and 3 subjects of 3 credits. Each subject in this unit is studied after the same pattern as the above ones for 8 weeks. This part comprises the subjects which create the key methodological framework for development of the necessary way of thinking and acquiring applied skills of the programme profile. Such subjects as financial markets and instruments (3), corporate finance (6), international financial reporting standards (level 1 and 2) (6) provide the system for creating a correct model of financial business analytics which implies not just description of all company operations applying financial accounting standards but also use of the risk-return criterion and use of business value as the goal-setting function. Valuation and value based management provides the system for analysis of the company value, application models and a set of tools analyzing corporate strategies, substantiation of strategic orientation and programmes on the basis of the business value criteria, operating activity analysis and monitoring tools in accordance with this criterion. Strategic management forms approaches to strategic thinking, strategic vision, creates the framework for analysis of types of market strategy, corporate strategy risks. Strategic managerial accounting is necessary to systematize the existing system of cost accounting, budgeting methods and choice of a reasonable set for certain types of corporate strategic decisions taking into consideration industry profiles. Public non-financial reporting is of crucial significance for development of skills and analysis system of multiple forms of corporate nonfinancial capital, systems of their state indicators as well as for study of new trends in corporate reporting aimed at development of the system of analysis of the role of nonfinancial capital in forming financial results.
These subjects are taught by professors of the School of Finance of the Faculty of Economic Sciences except for strategic management which is taught by professors of the Business and Management Faculty. Some topics of video lectures for these subjects will be prepared by experts from joint departments of the School of Finance (KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, EY) as well as VEB.RF who specialize in these professional spheres and have an internationally recognized expertise.
The third part is elective and at present it comprises 11 subjects of 3 credits each. These subjects are also recorded as video lectures and are taught for 6 academic hours per week for 8 weeks. Each week there are 2 video lectures and one (2 hours) live webinar for a certain group of students. In order to complete this unit a student should choose and pass exams in 5 subjects, thus obtaining 15 credits. The subjects of this part are taught by mixed teams consisting of:
- professors of the School of Finance of the Faculty of Economic Sciences with participation of business experts specializing in certain topics (performance management, risk management, auditing and assurance, advanced auditing and assurance, sustainable finance, financial modelling);
- with an active participation of business experts: forensic accounting (with participation of Deloitte experts), taxation and tax planning (LUKOIL expert), corporate governance and compliance (PricewaterhouseCoopers experts),
- HSE University professors from other faculties: the foundations of modern corporations, business ethics.
Unit 2. Projects and Research
The programme is made in accordance with the principle of a project-based educational model. It offers a methodological research workshop Research Methods in Finance and Accounting worth of 6 credits which is compulsory. The second component of the project-based model is topic-dedicated research and project-oriented workshops. A student should take part in 3 workshops and do at least 3 projects. See some examples of the topics below:
- Measuring value creation from different stakeholder’s perspective
- Value reporting. How to create impact statements?
- Fair value measurement and accounting
- Intellectual capital measurement: best practices in different industries
- Assessing the quality of disclosure in non-financial reports/ integrated reports
- Environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and credit rating
- Communicating financial and non-financial data to investors
- Best practices in non-financial reporting/ integrated reporting/ ESG reporting.
The third component of the project-based model is Virtual Labs taught by recognized foreign experts cooperating with the School of Finance over the last few years:
- John Dumay, professor, Editor-in - chief “Journal of intellectual capital” (SCOPUS 1), McQuaire university (Australia)
- Laura Girella, International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC), London
- Stefano Zambon, World Intellectual Capital Initiative (WICI) chairman, Co-Chair for WICI Italy, FERRARA UNIVERSITY, ITALY
- Vrushali Gaud, PwC India, Director on non-financial information, former International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC) member
- Natalie Tatyana Churyk, Professor, Editor-in – chief “Journal of Accounting Education” (SCOPUS Q2), Northern Illinois University, USA
- Joseph McCahery, professor in Law and Finance, Tilburg University, Netherlands
- Anna Howard- AICPA Senior Manager of Academic Initiatives
- Djordjija Petkoski, Zicklin Center of Business Ethics, Wharton University.
During their first year students write a term paper on a topic covered by project-oriented workshops conducted in this period.
State Final Examination: defense of the final qualifying paper (master's thesis)
The research and project-based work of the second year implies writing and defense of a master’s thesis. After defense of the master’s thesis a student is conferred the Master of Science Degree in the field of 38.04.08 Finance and Credit. The master's students develop skills in analytics and research using actual practical materials, inter alia, by applying intensively the project-based educational model. The topic of the thesis is chosen from the themes of research and project-oriented workshops.
In order to enable the master's students to do research they are taught dealing with data. The School of Finance has an access to the key international databases of financial information. The pandemic encouraged the University to provide a remote access and distance learning by means of search for and collection of data in international databases. Besides, text analysis will be used to write master’s theses on some topics.
This master’s degree programme is aimed at training specialists with unique analytical and management competencies which allow to manage economic, legal and social projects and procedures to a high professional standard in the sphere of business development in small and medium enterprises (regional business models).
Scientific research within this programme provides to the master's students an opportunity to undertake further study taking Doctoral Programmes in HSE University in the fields of 08.00.10 (12) Finance, Money Circulation and Credit (Accounting, Statistics)
This degree programme of HSE University is adapted for students with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities. Special assistive technology and teaching aids are used for collective and individual learning of students with SEN and disabilities. The specific adaptive features of the programme are listed in each subject's full syllabus and are available to students through the online Learning Management System.
All documents of the degree programme are stored electronically on this website. Curricula, calendar plans, and syllabi are developed and approved electronically in corporate information systems. Their current versions are automatically published on the website of the degree programme. Up-to-date teaching and learning guides, assessment tools, and other relevant documents are stored on the website of the degree programme in accordance with the local regulatory acts of HSE University.
I hereby confirm that the degree programme documents posted on this website are fully up-to-date.
Vice Rector Sergey Yu. Roshchin