Macquarie University has met with more than 50 industry influencers in a series of focus groups and roundtables to analyse the outlook of accounting and how the future expectations of employers can best be met.
The focus groups and roundtables were part of a year-long review of the bachelor of commerce – professional accounting curriculum to ensure the accounting degree incorporates the future skills graduates will need to be successful.
Macquarie University associate professor Rahat Munir said the accounting profession is undergoing a fundamental transformation and accountants are increasingly expected to possess tacit knowledge to inform business decisions.
“We need to ‘unlearn’ current teaching and learning practices and do things differently,” said Mr Munir.
Mr Munir said accounting and finance industry commentators have been vocal about the quality of Australian accounting graduates with reports of ‘irrelevant skills’ and inadequate hands-on experience.
“The roundtables and focus groups, comprising representatives from industry bodies, the professional accounting industry as well as academics, addressed the following aspects: skills graduates need and how we can develop these; the education business model; [and] identifying how the existing degree should be revised,” said Mr Munir.
“The review uncovered six core areas in which accounting graduates were lacking: teamwork, ethics, sustainability, problem-solving, critical thinking and communications. These will be integrated into Macquarie University’s bachelor of commerce – professional accounting degree for 2017.”
The degree, Mr Munir said, will offer a progressive blend of attributes in addition to expert technical skills.
“For instance, soft skills and human relationships will be a key aspect of the educational shift, with a greater emphasis placed on social, environmental and intangible reporting,” said Mr Munir.