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Skills Necessary for Accountants - Accounting Education Change Commission

Autor:   •  February 19, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,167 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,023 Views

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INTRODUCTION

According to the Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC), Position Statement No. One (1990), to be successful in their careers, accounting graduates need skills and abilities that go beyond accounting technical knowledge. They include communication skills, analytical skills, and interpersonal skills. Accounting graduates are expected to be able to receive and send information, identify and solve unstructured problems in unfamiliar settings, and exercise judgment. To be a good communicator they have to become effective readers, writers, speakers, and listeners. Other desirable skills include the ability to work in groups and serve as a leader when appropriate.

Several years later, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) published a research report entitled “What Corporate America Wants in Entry-Level Accountants (1994). In this report, the IMA also argued that many accounting recruiters have become dissatisfied with the level of preparation of the accounting graduates. Some believe that accounting graduates need more college education due to the recent changes in the business environment. The main theme of the IMA study was that corporate executives believe that entry-level accountants are out of sync with the modern times. The research concluded that, among the skills entry-level accountants must have are the practical experience, a broad understanding of the real world events, social and communication skills. From these and similar studies it was then concluded that it is critically important for the accounting programs to incorporate, in their curriculum, instructions designed to improve students’ non-technical skills.

Based on the recommendations of the abovementioned groups, undergraduate and graduate accounting programs across the country began a wide range of curriculum development activities aimed to improving students’ job preparations by placing more emphasis on teaching non-technical skills. However, the question that now remains is do the new graduates consider the skills recommended by the AECC and IMA very important for their success in the profession? Are these skills as important as the technical accounting knowledge? Which of the skills, if any, are more important than others? It is the purpose of this study to investigate these questions.

THE STUDY

The data required for this study were collected through a mail survey. A questionnaire was developed containing a list of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), outlined in the AECC and IMA

studies. The participants were asked to indicate the importance of each KSA for success in their career by using a rating from “1” through “5” (“1” being the most important and “5” being the least important).

To ensure validity and reliability of the study, the questionnaire was pre-tested by using a small group of accounting professionals. The

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