This paper explores the development of generic skills in accounting and the role iteration between theory and practice plays in that development. Three cohorts of students at a small School of Business in Australia undertaking the study of financial statement analysis were interviewed about the process of completing an assignment on that topic. Phenomenographic interviews and analysis of transcripts were undertaken with an outcome space generated which plotted variation in approach to iteration between theory and practice, ranging from, at the simplest level a limited data/course focus approach to, at the most complex level, a company future/company identity focus approach. Variation between the cohorts of post-graduate local and overseas students and undergraduate students was also found. Generic skills of problem-solving, analysis and communication were matched against these approaches using the Bowden and Masters relational model of observable practice and underlying capacity.