Speaking to AccountantsDaily, distinguished professor at Macquarie University James Guthrie commented on the challenges undergraduates are facing as a result of education standards.
“I think we have a problem with accounting education in this country. We have too many students going in and not focusing on important things that employers want,” he said.
Professor Guthrie noted that what employers are now looking for are ‘soft skills’, such as communication, creativity and teamwork.
Further, he believes, these skills can be achieved through strong leadership by those responsible for setting the coursework within these degrees.
“I think there needs to be leadership amongst deans and heads of school in terms of what’s happening and then making sure the programs are relevant to their graduate needs.
“I think many of the courses are still stuck in a technical view of accounting education. That is, we teach accounting standards,” said Professor Guthrie, noting that there is a small divide developing between international education standards and what graduates and their future employers are looking for.
Professor Guthrie noted that the new education standards introduced last year by the IFAC were of very high quality; however, whether they are being applied in an Australian context is an important question.
“This is very important and at the present time. We would think that the professional bodies, all of the professional bodies operating within Australia, which include CPA, IPA, CA, all of them are applying those standards to their own education programs,” he said.