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Quality of accounting graduates prompts review of curriculum

Industry-led feedback has prompted one Australian university to revamp its accounting course offering, after identifying the key skills and experience that current accounting students and recent graduates are lacking.

News Mitchell Turner 04 August 2016
— 1 minute read

Feedback from professional accounting bodies, big four firms and commercial organisations has revealed to Macquarie University that there is a significant nation-wide increase in accounting graduates who possess “irrelevant skills” and inadequate hands-on experience, regardless of their educational institution.

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Dr Rahat Munir, head of the department of accounting and corporate governance at Macquarie University, told AccountantsDaily that this strong and overwhelming feedback prompted the institution to launch a renewal project to revamp the accounting course in line with the rapidly changing industry.

“We have very close ties with a number of industry partners and we have taken on board considerable feedback from our accounting advisory board as to what the industry is expecting from tomorrow’s graduates,” said Dr Munir.

“I myself sit on a number of recruitment panels in the industry. I’ve seen over a period of time that companies have started looking for ‘all-rounder’ students, those who are ready to hit the ground running.”

Dr Munir identified the six main areas in which Macquarie accounting graduates must be developed; themes that will be integrated into the new course by 2017 as a result of the review:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Sustainability
  • Ethics
  • Critical thinking

“There might be a list of 140 different types of skills, but these are the six most common that keep coming up again and again.”

According to Dr Munir, the revamped 2017 degree will continue to place Macquarie University “ahead of the game”.

“Macquarie University produces the finest accounting graduates in the country. Our graduates consistently outperform those from other institutions. For instance, in the latest CPA exams, 13 per cent of Macquarie University students received high distinctions, more than double the national average of 6 per cent. In addition, the failure rate was only 13 per cent, significantly lower than the national average of 30 per cent.” 

Quality of accounting graduates prompts review of curriculum
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