Communication Skills for Accountants: Lessons from GGU’s Director of Accounting Programs

cropped-ggu-outside3.jpgRic Jazaie has given presentations throughout his career to senior leadership at the CIA, FBI, in judicial proceedings, and at his own Forensic Accounting practice. “You are always presenting as an accountant to large and small groups and communicating with people one-on-one. The era of the guy in the green visor and the lamp is over,” he says.

Accountants and auditors communicate daily with their clients and constituents. Jazaie says: “Communication skills, analytical skills, and critical thinking are the most important skills accountants can possess and develop—in that order. Clients look to us for answers to help clients achieve their goals.”

Jazaie has used his communication skills to influence successful prosecutions of terrorist financiers as an FBI agent/analyst, loan servicing companies at the FBI, and even small Bay Area nonprofits as the head of a consulting firm. Students get a direct pipeline to these techniques in Jazaie’s Communication and Analysis of Financial Information for Accountants course.

“One of my students in the communications class came back from an interview at a Big4 accounting firm,” he says. “He told me that he asked the interviewers what they seek in a candidate. They said critical-thinking skills and communication. He could put a tangible work product from the communication class on the table and discuss those principles. They were very impressed. He was beyond himself with excitement.”

We asked Jazaie to list his 10 most important communication skills…

  • Storytelling: “You want to get your audience excited and tell them a story. The presentation should be as interesting as a hearing about an interesting first date from a friend. Tell the story through your analysis of financial information.”
  • Eye Contact: “For example, when you answer a question in court, you turn and look directly at the jurors in the eyes. They love that.”
  • Be Credible: “If you are asked a question, it’s OK to say, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I took a different approach.’ Never, ever, lie about the facts. Our credibility in this profession is of utmost importance.”
  • Understand their point of view: “It is also important to be an active listener and hear the other points of views in a discussion with the people you are presenting to.”
  • Pace Yourself: “Your audience, especially a jury, needs time to process the information so you don’t need to talk quickly.”
  • Clear visuals: “Accountants for the prosecution on a grand jury were able to make a two-slide presentation that connected essential numbers (slide one) to the law (slide two). They proved that the prosecution had a strong case.”
  • Communicate the solution: “Clients that hire auditors/accountants want to know what controls should be in place to prevent fraud. You need to have a simple answer.”
  • Be friendly: “Your audience, whether clients or jurors, want to see a friendly and generally happy accountant. Your audience will not respond well to you when they see an angry and argumentative person in front of  them.”
  • Confidence: “It is important to be confident when you present. Confidence does not mean arrogance. In fact, to the contrary, a confident accountant is one who has done his or her homework and is prepared to respond to questions.”
  • Feedback: “Being able to appropriately give and receive feedback is an important communication skill.”

Before job interviews or professional presentations, students must get past Jazaie as an audience. When they present their analyses and recommendations to the class, he deducts points for loss of eye contact and wants to see them apply what they learned from his experience. He says: “They need to make mistakes at GGU because at the Big4 they expect you to be a pro by the time you get there.”

“[My Student]…could put a tangible work product from the communication class on the table and discuss those principles [at an interview]. They were very impressed. He was beyond himself with excitement.”

Jazaie continuously looks for ways to provide his students with constructive feedback during and after presentations: “Giving feedback involves giving praise as well – something as simple as saying ‘good job’ or ‘thanks for such a great presentation’ to a student can greatly increase motivation.” Jazaie’s students have impressed him with their ability to apply what he teaches: “They continue to amaze me with their creativity and analysis of difficult financial information and their ability to present their points of views.”

One-On-One

Communicating one-on-one is crucial to audits and investigations. By taking the attitude of a helper, a series of conversations can make a difference. “The process of Forensic Accounting is to keep turning rocks until you run out of rocks. Then you look for patterns in the soil. Then you find another rock. Somewhere in there you find your next lead. That’s where the excitement is. Forensic accounting is like solving a large jigsaw puzzle. That is, you have clues everywhere, but you have to think logically and methodically and try to fit the pieces perfectly to build the bigger picture.”

Ric Jazaie has a master’s degree in Accounting from Golden Gate University (’15) with a concentration in Forensic Accounting.


Request information about GGU’s accounting programs >>

 

Golden Gate University Ranked #1 in US for Adult Learners for Second Consecutive Year

For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks Golden Gate University America’s #1 School for Adult Learners in its annual College Guide and Rankings.

How GGU Was Chosen

To compile the rankings, Washington Monthly reviewed data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) survey, the department’s new College Scorecard database and the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges.

The metrics that determined GGU’s rating include:

  • ease of transfer/enrollment
  • flexibility of programs
  • services available for adult learners
  • percent of adult students (age 25+)
  • mean earnings of adult students ten years after entering college
  • loan repayment of adult students five years after entering repayment
  • tuition and fees for in-district students

Read the article in Washington Monthly >>

Starting a Forensic Accounting Career at Golden Gate University

By Joey Byers
Bachelor of Science in Business, Accounting Concentration (’17)

I decided that I wanted to be an accountant a year before my exit out of military service. My aspirations were either to become a CPA and open a firm or to become a forensic accountant for a government agency that pursues fraud investigations. I have always wanted to get into some type of investigative field. This began in my youth when I thought being a crime scene investigator or detective would be fun. As an adult, my interest shifted to forensic accounting which is essentially a field of “number detectives.” After watching a few episodes of the TV show American Greed, my interest solidified.

I’m currently completing an undergraduate business degree at GGU with a concentration in Accounting. I shopped around for accounting master’s programs in the Bay Area, but other schools didn’t have as many specialized classes in accounting like GGU offers. The curriculum was the same reason I chose GGU for an undergraduate degree in the first place. GGU not only offers a competitive Master of Science in Accounting (MSA), but also offers a concentration in forensics which happens to be in line with one of my career goals.

The Path2CPA Program

I am taking advantage of the Path2CPA program to finish the MSA program in just one year after finishing my undergraduate business degree. Students like me can get a head start in an accounting career and save time and money in the process. If you were to apply in earnest to the master’s degree program without having an accounting-focused undergraduate degree, the amount of time to complete the program effectively doubles. Fortunately, GGU lets you reduce the time-frame to one year. It’s worth noting that you’re able to take upper-level courses in the undergraduate program.

At my current job, I wear several hats. I own the Accounts Receivable process; reconcile numerous General Ledger accounts at month, quarter, and year end; review and approve expense reports after the departmental managers; and work a lot with compliance issues relating to sales, use, or local taxes. I also have cross-functional roles working closely with the legal and sales operations departments. Now that I am approaching the next phase of my accounting career, it has become apparent that becoming a CPA is a must.

I am taking advantage of the Path2CPA program to finish the Master of Science in Accounting program in just one year after finishing my undergraduate business degree. Students like me can get a head start in an accounting career and save time and money in the process.
—Joey Byers, BSB (’17)

My Advice for Future CPAs

In addition to my educational path, I would like to share some things that I think will help other people who want to start an accounting career.

Being adaptable. Expense reporting systems, accounting systems, month-end close applications, etc., are always changing, so you have to keep up. Also, you might be tasked with managing implementation projects, comparing different systems and then training colleagues on them, doing a month-end close, researching compliance, and gathering audit evidence all on the same day. You should be adaptable and learn to accept the change and the growing pains that might result from it.

Having Technological Intelligence. Knowing Microsoft Word and Excel inside and out will help you immensely. Knowing complex and generic formulas are a must. In some instances, you could be manipulating a General Ledger or other data dump with tens of thousands of line items. If you don’t know your way around Excel, it will eat up hours which doesn’t look good to employers in a time crunch.

Knowing It’s Never Too Late. My message for people who may want to start a career in accounting is that it is never too late. But after you start, don’t stop and understand that sacrifices might have to be made. As an adult coming out of the military, I couldn’t wait for long to begin my career; and a degree is mandatory in the accounting profession. If you can get an entry-level accounting position, accept it. Certain accounting topics in school might become easier for you if you’re getting real-world experience.

If you’re planning on getting your CPA, doing a 1-year Path2CPA stint to get a master’s degree at GGU is the way to go. While getting the degree, I will sit for the CPA exam. The MSA Forensic Accounting concentration is focused on real-world applications and case studies. It is a specialized field, and the program is designed with the Certified Fraud Forensics (CFF) exam in mind. Once I have completed all the requirements for the CPA and go on to test for the CFF designation, my career trajectory is relatively limitless.


LEARN MORE ABOUT STUDYING ACCOUNTING AT GOLDEN GATE UNIVERSITY >>

A Master’s Degree in Accounting in One Year? GGU Offers New Path2CPA Program

GGU-outsideGolden Gate University now gives its undergraduate students the ability to earn a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) in as little as one year after completing a bachelor’s degree with an accounting concentration. The new Path2CPA program lets students apply a number of their undergraduate courses to an MSA – making the “step up” to a graduate degree both quicker and less expensive.  The bachelor’s-to-MSA route also removes the hurdles of taking the GRE and completing an application for grad school.

GGU’s accounting programs are recognized as some of the best in the nation. Students get an edge in a crowded job market by choosing a specialized accounting concentrations. Most of GGU’s accounting courses are taught by instructors who are also practicing professionals — many working at “Big Four” firms in San Francisco’s Financial District.

For many students, the MSA will satisfy the 150-hour education requirement to become a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Other students can take electives that deepen their knowledge and help them get to the next step.

Four In-Depth Specializations

GGU provides concentrations that allow graduates to enter the job market with relevant, in-demand skills. These areas of focus offer students the uncommon opportunity to choose the most rewarding path for them.

Financial Accounting & Reporting: Theory and principles that frame a wide range of problems and issues encountered in the accounting profession.

Forensic Accounting: Courses in fraud auditing, financial statement investigations, complex discovery and data management, the role of the expert and expert report, bankruptcy and insolvency, economic damages, valuation, and lost profits.

Internal Auditing: Assisting students to become Certified Internal Auditors (CIA) as defined by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).

Management Accounting: Positions students to achieve the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and/or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designations.

If students are not sure which specialty is right for them, staff advisors and faculty mentors can help them find the specialization works best for their career goals.

I am taking advantage of the opportunity to finish the MSA in just one year after getting my undergraduate business degree at GGU. Students like me can get a head start in an accounting career and save time and money in the process.
—Joey Byers (Bachelor of Science in Business, ’17)

Why GGU is the Best Option

In a competitive job market, a degree from an accredited university with a national reputation is an advantage. GGU has been part of the accounting community in the San Francisco’s Financial District for decades. The relationships among local students, faculty, and alumni have formed a natural pipeline from classroom to the executive suite. Local firms also look to GGU for new talent to fill positions in a growing field with increasing need for specialized skills.

Path2CPA Highlights
Earn an MSA in as little as a year
Apply undergrad credit to your grad degree
Skip the GRE and grad school application
Get real-world skills from in-depth concentrations


Are you a Golden Gate University graduate?
Alumni receive a 30% discount for the Path2CPA Program.


REQUEST INFORMATION ABOUT ACCOUNTING AT GGU >>

Leadership Experts to Speak at Braden Lecture Series at GGU


Golden Gate University is welcoming a prestigious group of thought leaders to the 2017 Braden Leadership Speaker Series. The lectures will take place at the San Francisco campus from August through December and are free to the GGU community and the public. This year’s speakers will discuss leadership in the context of timely issues such as women in the workplace, mindfulness, and managing change.

Lunch and Learn

Join us for any of these free talks from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided.


AUGUST 29

✔ REGISTER ONLINE

BECOME THE CCO OF YOUR OWN MIND TO OPTIMIZE FOCUS, PRODUCTIVITY, AND ENGAGEMENT IN CAREER AND LIFE

LORI GRANGER, LMFT

HEAD OF WELLNESS RESOURCES, GGU

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Lori Granger has taught a mindfulness curriculum for over ten years. She began her mindfulness journey through Zen meditation while working as a market-research based broadcasting consultant. She currently serves the GGU community as the head of Wellness Resources.


SEPTEMBER 12, 2017

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TRANSFORMING FINANCE–LEADING AN ORGANIZATION THROUGH CHANGE

DON RATH

VP OF CORPORATE TAX, SYNOPSYS

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Don Rath is VP of Corporate Tax at Synopsys where he leads finance transformation and finance leadership development. Previously he served as Senior Vice President, Global Tax and Corporate Risk Assurance (CRA) with Symantec Corporation, responsible for worldwide tax compliance, planning, and tax controversy as well as the company’s internal audit and advisory function.


SEPTEMBER 26, 2017

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THE BIG FLIP

IZZY CHAN

HEAD, STRATEGY & RESEARCH, IZZY CHAN CONSULTS

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Izzy Chan’s award-winning documentary feature on breadwinner moms and at-home dads, The Big Flip—Stories from the Modern Home Front (2016), premiered at the Austin Film Festival and Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.


OCTOBER 10, 2017

✔ REGISTER ONLINE

Q&A WITH JACOB JABER, CEO, PHILZ COFFEE

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Philz Coffee’s unique blends, community-oriented stores and one-cup-at-a-time approach have drawn a cult following nationwide. Founded by Phil (Jacob’s Dad) with Jacob by his side, the first store opened in the Mission district of San Francisco in 2002.


OCTOBER 24, 2017

SPEAKER TBA


NOVEMBER 7, 2017

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LANGUAGE AS A WINDOW INTO CORPORATE CULTURE

SAMEER SRIVASTAVA

PROFESSOR AND HAROLD FURST CHAIR IN MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY AND VALUES, UC BERKELEY’S HAAS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

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Sameer B. Srivastava is AssistantProfessor and Harold Furst Chair in Management Philosophy and Values at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and is also affiliated with UC Berkeley Sociology.


NOVEMBER 21, 2017

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BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER

JIM WALLACE

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BPM

As CEO of BPM, Wallace focuses his attention on leading strategic initiatives that raise the Firm’s national prominence through the expansion into new markets, concentration on specialty services and business combinations in key markets.


NOVEMBER 28, 207

✔ REGISTER ONLINE

PRINCIPLES OF LEADERSHIP

OKORIE RAMSEY

VP, FINANCE COMPLIANCE OFFICER & SOX, KAISER FOUNDATION HEALTH PLAN, INC. AND KAISER FOUNDATION HOSPITALS

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In addition to his leadership role at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Ramsey serves on the Board of Trustees at the California CPA Education Foundation.


DECEMBER 5, 2017

✔ REGISTER ONLINE

TOPIC TBA

BRUCE BRADEN

CEO AND FOUNDER, F2 OILFIELD SERVICES, AND NEOK ENERGY, LP

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Bruce Braden is the CEO and Founder of F2 Oilfield Services in North Texas and NEOK Energy, LP in Oklahoma. In addition to operating energy service companies, Bruce also uses his entrepreneurial and leaderships skills in the real estate market where he devotes a majority of his time and energy.

His investments include The Stanford Storytelling Project, the Braden Diabetes Center at Marin General Hospital, and GGU’s School of Taxation. Braden is an active member of the Golden Gate University Board of Trustees and was a GGU Taxation instructor from 1978 to 1981. In recognition of his significant contributions to the university’s educational capabilities and services, GGU awarded Braden with the Amicus Award in 2012.

A Stanford University undergraduate alumnus and veteran of the United States Army, Bruce holds an MBA with a concentration in Taxation from Golden Gate University (’74).


For more information on the event please write tax@ggu.edu.

Should I Get a Master’s Degree in Taxation?

By Eric Lee, Lecturer and Director of Academic Quality & Training, Golden Gate University


I posed this exact question to my mentor, a tax partner at KPMG, one of the Big Four public accounting firms, in the 1990s. At the time, I had completed one year as a tax staff. My mentor answered my question by simply stating, “Yes, assuming you want a career in taxation.”

Thus, it quickly became a matter of “when”, not “if”, I should get my master’s degree in tax. Why was timing so important? Taking graduate-level tax classes is challenging. I wanted to take classes when I did not have other substantial commitments outside of my full-time job as a tax staff. In fact, I planned to avoid Spring semester courses because that was during the busy season when tax preparers often work 55-hour weeks.

Education for the Real World

Shortly after that conversation with my mentor and having just passed the CPA exam, I decided the time was right to begin taking classes toward the Master of Science in Taxation degree at Golden Gate University. Fast forward 25 years, I have enjoyed a very successful and rewarding career in taxation as a member of senior management at a very large public accounting firm.

I started my education at GGU in the evenings, walking the short distance from KPMG’s office to campus. I quickly realized that the classroom experience was like none I had ever had. The courses were led by faculty with substantial academic and real-world experience, bringing in concrete real-world issues and challenges. My fellow students had diverse real-world experiences, including working in small and large public accounting firms, corporate tax departments, and governmental agencies. The diverse student backgrounds helped trigger engaging classroom discussions as we explored the technical material.

I started my education at GGU in the evenings, walking the short distance from KPMG’s office to campus. I quickly realized that the classroom experience was like none I had ever had.

The reality is that the Internal Revenue Code is both voluminous and complex. The two thick volumes of the Code are longer than the seven Harry Potter books, combined! Further, the Code is supported by six volumes of Regulations, IRS Revenue Ruling and Procedures, and endless amounts of tax case law. It is impossible for any one person to learn it all. The magic of a Master’s Degree in Taxation from GGU is that it teaches you how to research, read, and apply the myriad of tax law to a taxpayer’s set of facts. So, even if you have never seen a set of factual circumstances before, you will know how to identify the potential tax issues and find the solution.

Another major benefit of getting a Master of Science in Taxation at GGU is the material learned is very relevant in the real world. Many times, I applied what I learned during class the next day on the job in a client situation. After three years of experience in public accounting, you begin having client contact. Talking directly to clients who are paying a substantial sum of money for your tax guidance can initially be intimidating. However, the knowledge gained during classes gave me the confidence to ask appropriate questions to understand the client’s facts. Also, by understanding not only the tax law — but also the underlying theory and purpose of the tax law — gave me the ability to explain tax issues and tax law to the client in layman’s terms.

Getting a master’s in taxation degree, especially while working, is not easy. But, neither is the tax law. Despite missing a few Monday Night Football games over the years, I never regretted my decision to get my master’s in Taxation degree.


About Eric Lee, CPA

Eric Lee is an accomplished professor with 20 years of university classroom experience, a CPA, 20 years of public accounting experience, and author of 5 published books. He holds a master’s degree in taxation (’97) from Golden Gate University.


REQUEST INFORMATION ABOUT THE MASTER OF SCIENCE IN TAXATION DEGREE >>

San Francisco is the Place to Be for Graduates Looking for a Job

A casual search of LinkedIn uncovers thousands of high-paying tech and business jobs in San Francisco. Shortages in the healthcare management and business analytics fields, combined with rapid growth in the tech sector, have driven abundant work opportunities.

Despite this promising outlook, recent graduates of any field face competition from their peers and those with greater experience. Choosing the right city to start a career can give graduates an edge in finding a great job.

It comes as no surprise that San Francisco has been named the best city in the US for recent graduates to find a job by the highly respected American Institute of Economic Research (AIER). The study looked at a number of factors, including unemployment rate, labor force participation, and how many people worked in emerging industries.

Located in San Francisco’s Financial District, Golden Gate University is situated as an ideal launch pad for graduates looking to advance a business career or break into a new one. GGU’s faculty often make a short walk – some literally across the street – to teach courses. Many currently work for international companies with a worldwide impact such as Google. Direct exposure to working professionals creates valuable networking and mentoring opportunities for students. Golden Gate University’s roots in the Bay Area business community go back more than 120 years, a history that has created a natural pipeline from the classroom to the executive suite.


“San Francisco is a great place to look to for work. There are a lot of magnificent local companies like Uber, Google, Facebook, Salesforce, Apple, Microsoft, Charles & Schwab—and the list goes on. I believe this city has opportunities for everyone, whether a graduate is looking for a career in Marketing, Human Resources, IT, Finance or Accounting. As the technology hub of the world, the number of startups growing every day.”

—Jatin Jaiswal (MBA candidate, ’18)
President Student Government Association


The Best City, Period

AIER also named San Francisco as the best city in the world for higher education when considering both quality of life and practical considerations. The survey found that the factors prospective students value most – the percentage of an educated population and diversity – are hallmarks of what locals call The City. AIER researchers also considered factors such as employment rate (a low 3.1% in San Francisco); arts and entertainment; the presence of science, technology, medical, and engineering workers; biking and walking options; and public transportation. As far as getting around, the new transit station a block from campus and its 4.5-acre rooftop park only adds to the appeal of GGU’s downtown location.

If you are interested in learning about San Francisco’s reputation and position in the business world, we invite you to watch this video with Dr. Gordon Swartz, Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business.


Request information about GGU degrees and certificates >>

Video: Data Security Primer for Accountants

Certified Public Accountants handle, store, and transmit huge volumes of confidential client information. The news is filled with stories about cyber hackers, but something as simple as a misdirected email can create enormous damage.

As CPAs, we have legal and professional obligations to protect our clients’ information. In this video, Prof. Ric Jazaie provides a brief overview of our obligations, and the basic steps accountants should take to protect confidential client information.

Prof. Jazaie and Dean Fred Sroka then go on to discuss how data protection reviews, consulting and audits can be a great value-added service for CPA firms. This video is ideal for accountants who want to take advantage of one of the many blossoming niches within the accounting profession—and learn to avoid data security trouble of their own.

If you have any questions about adding these services or researching data security issues feel free to reach out to Ric Jazaie at RJazaie@ggu.edu.


About Ric Jazaie

Professor Ric Jazaie has over 17 years of progressive auditing and investigating leadership experience. He is an experienced internal auditor and a fraud investigator with extensive experience in computer forensics and in law enforcement. His areas of expertise include fiscal audits, internal performance and operational audits, forensic accounting and litigation support, as well as, information technology audits and investigations of federal, state, local government organizations, as well as, medium sized privately held companies. Jazaie holds a Master of Accountancy in Forensic Accounting from Golden Gate University.

What Makes for Quality Online Education?

online-library
by Doug Geier, GGU’s Director of eLearning and Instructional Design

Online education is enormously popular, with the number of online students in the US growing to over 6 million in 2015. This is true at Golden Gate University, where many students get their degrees or certificates 100% or partially online. Online classes provide a way for many students to fit education into their daily lives, an opportunity that they may not have otherwise.

If you become a GGU student, you will soon realize that you are at a school that takes online education seriously – 94% of students who took 80% or more of their courses online favorably rated the overall quality of their education at GGU (2016-17 GGU Graduating Student Survey).

More than an Internet Connection

At GGU, we think online learning is more than a medium or a convenient way to learn. Quality online learning is built with many elements – not just an instructor and an Internet connection. Here are the features of GGU’s quality eLearning experience:

  • Faculty experience in an online environment
  • Opportunities for interaction among students and instructors
  • Stimulating and engaging eLearning
  • Integrated online learning platform for interaction, multimedia, and assignment submission
  • Dedicated eLearning department to ensure proper student and faculty proficiency
  • 24/7 support team for technical issues students may have
  • Curriculum that connects learning to the real world

Creating the GGU Online Experience: The eLearning Department

I have a passion for online learning because it provides an opportunity for all students to participate in course activities, contribute to the discussion, and engage with one another. (No one has a “back-row” seat in online learning.) It’s also a great supplement to classroom learning and provides a great deal of flexibility for the adult learner.

One of the building blocks of the GGU online experience is the eLearning Department, which I lead. The eLearning instructional designers have experience and training in both technology and education—and how the two come together for effective teaching and learning. Through GGU’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, the instructional design team supports faculty in the effective use of technology for education.


Golden Gate University has been recognized for excellence in online education for its MBA, Counseling Psychology, and graduate-level Accounting programs.
Learn more about GGU’s accolades >>


Even though we have been offering online education for over 20 years, we are always seeking to improve the student experience. We stay on top of the latest trends and effective practices by monitoring educational blogs, publications, and sites related to technology, online learning, and higher education. Educause Learning Initiative, EdSurge HigherEd, the Online Learning Consortium, and WCET are all wonderful sources of information and inspiration. We also exchange ideas with others in the online education community through attendance at conferences and meetups. Most importantly, we listen to feedback from students and faculty and strive to continually improve the quality of online education at GGU.

My Experience as an Online Student

I hear positive feedback from our online students, but I also share this perspective as a fellow online student at GGU. I’ll be completing my MBA degree this year, most of which I have taken online. If the courses had not been challenging and provided the opportunity to interact with fellow students and the instructor, I wouldn’t have remained engaged and interested. As a working professional, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this if not for effective online courses.


About Doug Geier

Doug Geier is the Director of eLearning and Instructional Design at Golden Gate University where he oversees LMS support, instructional design, help desk and proctored testing services. He was a 2012 participant in the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning and continues to be an active member of the OLC community–serving as a volunteer, presenter, and conference track chair. Doug is also a member of the Substantive Change Committee with the WASC Senior College and University Commission and a part-time MBA student at GGU. In previous roles, Doug has held positions in educational software publishing and online learning as a producer, content developer, and instructional designer.


Video: Advice from GGU Alumni on Careers in Tax

GGU’s Master of Science in Taxation program is ranked as the top tax program in the U.S. according to a 2017 report by TaxTalent.com. Our alumni go on to great careers at:

• “Big Four” accounting firms – Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG;
• Other public accounting firms (global, regional, and local) – BDO, Andersen Tax, Moss Adams, Marcum, and Eisner Amper;
• Private industry – Oracle and almost every publically traded technology company; and
• Government – IRS, Franchise Tax Board, and Board of Equalization.

This video features four GGU tax alumni who work at PwC, EY, Cisco Systems and Apercen Partners. They discuss how they chose their career path, give advice to prospective tax students, explain the many job skills that are required, and debunk stereotypes. They also explain how academics must be combined with real-world knowledge for professionals to succeed.

What Graduates Say

“I am a very proud of getting my degree at Golden Gate University…I used my school materials on the job to answer questions I had before meetings.”
Suzy Maalouf, Project Manager at Cisco Systems

“I had the flexibility to do online courses because I travel for work…Now I get to work with great tech companies in San Francisco like Uber, Zendesk, and Reddit”
Christopher Abad, Senior Tax Manager at Ernst & Young“I finished in 9 months and I met the firms and could network with companies and firms at GGU Lunch and Learn Sessions. When I had interviews, they recognized me and I recognized them.”
Daniel Sanchez, Tax Associate, PricewaterhouseCoopers

“At GGU I learned how to do public speaking that is useful for talking to clients. Being able to come up with an idea and present to the client was huge.”
Wylan Lau, Tax Senior, Ernst & Young

“I was already working in the field for a number of years and was looking to ‘up my game.”
Charlotte Hoppe, Tax Manager, Apercen Partners


More about the Master of Science in Taxation program >>