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‘Acing the test’ not enough for young accountants


Following the release of a report that revealed the skills accountants will be using the most in 2030, the Foundation of Young Australians has called on the education system to act now in ensuring our future accountants are well-equipped.  

By Lara Bullock2 minute read

Lat week, the Foundation of Young Australians (FYA) released its New Work Smarts report, based on analysis of over 20 billion hours of work completed by 12 million Australian workers across 400 occupations.


The report revealed that automation is driving a reduction of time spent on technical work and an increase in time spent on “higher order” tasks in the accounting profession.

FYA ‎general manager of research, evaluation and partnerships, Annette Cairnduff, told Accountants Daily that the education system needs to be reviewed if we want to sufficiently prepare our future accountants for the nature of the work they will be completing.

“If you think about the way that we prepare young people at the moment for the future of work, it tends to be focused on ‘acing the test’, and the test has usually been about remembering things, recalling them and then regurgitating them. That's been the important part and that's what it has been to be smart,” Ms Cairnduff said.

“Now we know that to be work smart in the future, it’s going to be much more about how you collaborate, co-ordinate, engage, problem solve, critically think, and so what's really important there is that schools and universities start thinking about the way in which we can explicitly teach these things and we can explicitly assess the development of young people in these areas.”

Ms Cairnduff said it is no longer acceptable to presume that accountants will acquire these skills along the way, and that the education system needs to break them down, teach them and assess them.

“What we need to do is start breaking down the skills of collaboration, of problem solving, of critical thinking, and work out how we're going to explicitly develop these and not actually just expect them to be learnt along the way, or accept that there are one group of people that have them naturally and the other group of people don't,” she said.

“So we would like to see those things really broken down into developmental and explicit assessment and teaching and learning.”

‘Acing the test’ not enough for young accountants
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