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- Who should teach what? Perceptions of the roles of universities and practice in the education of professional accountants
- Howieson, Bryan; Hancock, Phil; Tempone, Irene; Kavanagh, Marie; Segal, Naomi; Kent, Jenny
- Universities have traditionally been criticised for not producing ‘work ready’ accountants and the role and responsibilities of universities in educating professional accountants continues to be debated. This paper reviews the literature in accounting and other professions regarding the respective roles of universities and employers in the development of both technical and non-technical skills of accounting practitioners. The literature review suggests that critics of university based education fail to recognise (a) the changes that have occurred in the roles and responsibilities of accounting practitioners and (b) the opportunity costs necessarily associated with providing generalist accounting degrees. The literature also suggests that universities and employers have comparative advantages for the development of different types of professional skills and knowledge. The paper reports the insights provided from a series of interviews with accounting practitioners and students about their perceptions of the respective responsibilities and roles of universities and employers. In general, although some interviewees recognised that universities cannot be ‘all things to all people’, there was a tendency to expect universities to have the major responsibility for the development in accounting graduates of both technical and non-technical knowledge and skills. Such perceptions tended to understate the responsibilities and comparative advantage of employers and result in unrealistic expectations about the outcomes of a university education. Employers need to be made more aware of the resource and other limitations associated with university programs and more attention should be provided to developing meaningful opportunities for learning and reflection within work place contexts.
- Publication type
- Conference paper
- Paper presented at the 2010 Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ) Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand, 04-06 July 2010
- Publication year
- Accounting; Higher education; Practice
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2010 the authors. Published version of this paper reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher.
- Full text
- Peer reviewed