au iconAU



Accounting graduates ill-equipped for workforce

Accounting graduates are under-prepared for the workforce, prompting calls for strong academic reforms, a leading academic says.

Accounting graduates ill-equipped for workforce
smsfadviser logo

Dr Luckmika Perera, director of teaching for the department of accounting at Deakin Business School, said educational institutions needed to reinvent learning programs to cater to broader skills sets.

“We are setting the standards lower and lower on an ongoing basis at a point in time where students come out, they don’t have the necessary soft skills, and sometimes the necessary technical skills, to do their professional level programs and thereafter, to go and practise as an accountant in an industry,” Dr Perera said.

“My asset test is very simple: Am I confident enough to place my super with a student who’s passed out from a particular university to a professional body?”

Dr Perera said as many graduates were lacking necessary soft and technical skills, the role of educational institutions was “to bring that back in”.

Institutions needed to assess the gaps between high-school programs, degrees, graduate programs and the workforce in order to understand which areas needed improving.

“Instead of looking at compartmentalised units, we look at the bigger picture and say, ‘Okay where do our students start, and where should our students be when they finish their degree program?’ And then fix the program in a way that we meet those requirements and bring the standards back up,” Dr Perera said.

Dr Perera said implementing new requirements such as increasing course entry scores, having greater pre-requisites for courses and more ‘real-life experience-based’ systems in place, could help better prepare students for work.

“Most of the institutions are trying and that’s a positive, but are they all meeting the requirements? I’m not sure,” Dr Perera said.

“It’s a matter of trial and error, so you can try different processes, some different policies, and see if they work.”


Subscribe to Public Accountant

Receive the latest news, opinion and features directly to your inbox