RMIT associate professor Dr Eva Tsahuridu told Accountants Daily that the university is currently developing an extension of its RMIT Creds, a digital micro-credential program designed to help enrolled students learn skills outside their course structure, to be made available to the wider accounting profession in a bid to respond to soft skill training demand.
The micro-credential gives participants a digital badge that acts as a verified and secure certification of achievement that can be shared with peers, employers, clients and education providers, and will cover topics such as emotional intelligence, constructive conversations, and overcoming bias and assumptions.
“We see the interplay between technical and non-technical skills as making up the overall skill capability required for an accounting professional,” said Dr Tsahuridu.
“Professional accountants add value in terms of their ability to exercise professional judgments, communicate effectively to various audiences, provide strategic advice, enable innovation whilst acting with integrity.
“We consider technical competence as the baseline that is not in itself adequate without interpersonal, analytical and moral competencies.”
The expansion of RMIT Creds to the broader accounting profession will see its first iteration when it launches a micro-credential for the newly revised and restructured International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) by the end of the year.
RMIT’s comments comes as the accounting profession calls for tertiary providers to revisit their syllabus to including more training with technology-related skillsets and emotional intelligence to keep up with the modern accounting landscape.
Additionally, Prime Partners director George Morice earlier told Accountants Daily that there was a gap in the education market to prepare accountants with the skills to deal with clients.
“We’re dealing with really stressful parts of people’s lives and having someone with empathy and the ability to connect with the person and make them feel comfortable is worth its weight in gold,” said Mr Morice.
“Having someone who can be there for that person and empathise with them through the process is a huge part of it and nowhere in that training program do you get given anything around how to deal with the emotional side of this high-stress industry we work in.”
Graduates, employers and educators alike believe it is on-the-job training, incorporating significant soft skills training, that best prepares accountants for the workforce.