Low, M., Botes, V., De La Rue, D., & Allen, J. (2016). Accounting employers’ expectations - the ideal accounting graduates. e-Journal of Business Education and Scholarship of Teaching, 10(1), 36–57.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11434
This research examined what accounting employers are seeking in their ‘ideal’ accounting graduate and sought to provide clarification on the ‘expectation gap’ between what accounting employers require in their graduates, and the skills these graduates are exhibiting. Adopting a qualitative research method, this research paper draws on semi-structured interviews conducted face-to-face with participants from key accounting employers. This research found that, in terms of technical skills, employers require at least a sound understanding of the fundamental technical accounting skills. However, beyond this, little more is expected technically of graduates as the requisite technical skills are learned ‘on the job’. Findings also suggest that the touted ‘expectation gap’ is not as pervasive as prior literature has suggested. Over half of employers also believed universities are preparing students adequately for the workplace, although this seemed to be moderated by an opinion among employers that this is “as well as an academic institution can do.” Based on the findings, some key recommendations were made. These include a greater inclusion of non-technical skills in accounting education through the incorporation of practical case study problems into accounting curricula, involving group discussion and the production of written reports and business presentations for their ‘client’ as well as the continued encouragement of internship opportunities within university degrees.
Australian Business Education Research Association
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