Resources for teaching data analytics in accounting

Discover a wealth of free resources online.
By Jian Zhang, Ph.D.

Demands from both the business community and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) have made it more urgent for academics to incorporate data analytics in the accounting curriculum. To help educators teach this subject, software companies and accounting firms have produced a wide range of resources for use in the classroom. Here are some popular ones that also provide academic licenses:

From software providers:

ACL Academic Network

To access these resources, faculty must join the ACL Academic Network, which is free, and be verified as faculty members. It can take three to four weeks to obtain access.

Software and materials. Educators can obtain free access to ACL GRC (a cloud-based platform for audit management), ACL Analytics (a PC client-based data extraction and analysis software tool), and ACL Launchpad (a single access point for ACL GRC, ACL Analytics, ScriptHub, and ACL Academy). ACL also provides user guides, reference manuals, online self-paced learning, and sample data.

Alteryx for Good

Software. Both instructors and students can request a free Alteryx Designer license.

Teaching materials. Resources that could be used in the classroom include case studies, third-party research, an on-demand webinar, videos, and white papers.

Expert advice. Alteryx also connects educators with subject matter experts who volunteer their time through Co-Lab.


Software. Students and teachers can register to get Microsoft Office 365 Education for free, which includes Excel (as well as Word, PowerPoint, and Microsoft Teams). Microsoft also provides a “Welcome to Excel” template for novice users, other templates, and a help center.

IDEA Academic Program

To access these materials, faculty or students must join the free IDEA Academic Program.

Software. Faculty and students can access IDEA Data Analysis software, which enables students to learn about concepts such as Benford’s Law, fuzzy duplicates, gap detection, and summarization.

Teaching materials. IDEA provides a workbook and data files that contain case studies dealing with accounts receivable, accounts payable, fraud investigation, and inventory audits. It also offers tutorials and an online resource center that contains case studies with assignments, tests, sample data, and other materials. Faculty can also upload their own customized resources to its online portal.


Software. Power BI Desktop is the free version of Microsoft’s Power BI: business intelligence software that allows users to analyze data and create data visualizations and interactive reports.

Tableau Academic Programs

Software. Free software for both instructors and students. Instructors can request individual and course software through the Tableau for Teaching program, and students can request Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep through the Tableau for Students program.

Training videos (registration required). Topics include preparing, analyzing, and sharing data. Along with the videos, the company provides transcripts, datasets, and solution workbooks.

White papers (registration required). Topics include business dashboards, business intelligence, data visualization, industry analysts, and working with data.

Curriculum materials. Course titles include Data Visualization, Tableau Desktop Training, Social Media Analytics With Tableau, and Intro to Data Journalism With Tableau. The curricula are quite thorough. For example, the data visualization course includes a syllabus, 10 different modules with data files, readings, lecture PowerPoints, assignments, and grading rubrics. (To access these materials, faculty must request membership in the Tableau for Teaching program.)

Teradata University Network (TUN)

To access these resources, faculty must join TUN, which is free, and be verified as faculty members.

Software. Free software including Teradata, SAS Visual Analytics, Planners Lab, Tableau, and ERDPlus.

Teaching materials. TUN’s teaching materials include University of Arkansas resources datasets, PowerPoint presentations, articles, book chapters, case studies, podcasts, research reports, tutorials, webinars, white papers, course syllabuses, and projects and assignments with teaching notes. For example, TUN offers 13 Business Scenario Investigations (BSI) cases that allow students to use evidence-based decision-making in various business functional areas in multiple industries. The cases include instructions, videos, datasets, and teaching notes. 


Software. UiPath provides a free community edition of its software for educators.

Teaching materials. UiPath provides video tutorials, guides and other resources, and a Community Forum.

From firms:

Editor’s note: The resources below are specific to teaching data analytics. Visit this article for a broader look at the educator resources firms offer.

PWC University Relations

To access these materials, faculty must have a valid university email address.

Case study: Pixystems Toy Company Inc. Students examine the business processes and controls of a fictitious toy company using Excel and Tableau. Materials provided include the case study, a faculty guide, an introductory presentation on data analytics, data sets, worksheets and sample results.

Case study: Inventory Analysis. Students use SQLite and Tableau (or can use similar software) to work with large data sets. Materials include instructor guide, data files, and other instructional resources.

Data Management and Analysis Course. A sample 12-session graduate level course including materials such as a syllabus, lectures, classroom exercises and assignments, case studies, and a final project. It covers topics such as Excel, SQL, Tableau, programming using R, application of analytics in auditing, big data and SBRL.

Ernst & Young Academic Resource Center

Faculty must email director Catherine Banks for access.

The analytics mindset module. This module introduces the analytics mindset and a competency framework. The module prepares students to raise the right questions; extract, transform, and load (ETL) data; analyze data; and interpret and communicate the results.   

Data analytics cases. Eleven cases are available, including cases suitable for accounting information systems and data analytics and business statistics courses. The analytics tools used in these cases include Excel, Access, Tableau or Power BI, and statistics (R, SAS, SPSS). A user guide, dataset, video, and solutions are provided for each case.

KPMG University Connection

Faculty must register to access these materials. 

Case study: Urgent Medical Device Inc. A data analytics case designed for financial statement audit classes. Materials provided include the case study, datasets, a leader guide, and teaching notes. The case uses IDEA and Tableau.

Excel videos. Students can view a series of technical videos on some of the most important Excel functions, including a guide to 24 of the most commonly used functions.

Deloitte Foundation Educator Resources

Faculty must register to access these materials.

First Course in Foundations of Data Analytics. Deloitte and the University of Illinois have developed eight modules, each containing videos, lessons, and reading assignments, that can be incorporated into existing courses or used together as a full 60-hour course.

Case studies and datasets. Materials from the Deloitte Foundation/FSA (Federation of Schools of Accountancy) annual consortium, including case studies and datasets.

Jian Zhang, Ph.D., is an associate professor of accounting at San José State University. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact senior editor Courtney Vien at Courtney.Vien@aicpa-cima.com.

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