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Fears that accounting graduates are underprepared have prompted calls for greater collaboration between professionals to better prepare students entering the workforce, says a leading academic.
The quality of undergraduate and postgraduate accounting degree programs has been “one of the major concerns” of academics, practitioners and professional bodies, director of the department of accounting at Deakin Business School, Luckmika Perera, says.
Dr Perera says the ongoing issue highlights the importance of increased discussion between accounting professionals and academics.
“One of the things that we can do or what we are doing is having a greater discussion with industry and professional bodies to see what they actually want,” he said.
“It’s actually not just the academics, it’s a combination of academics, the employers and the professional bodies combined to work together to build what we call a ‘model graduate’. It’s a matter of working together.”
Dr Perera said employer wants occasionally differed from the expectations of academics and teachers, leaving academics in a “compromising” position.
“Sometimes, the employers say we just want the soft skills and so forth, and the technical knowledge, but there has to be some analytical and research ability built in,” Dr Perera said.
“So you take on what the professional says, you take on what the employer says, but you also keep in mind that solid academic is not just about having the technical or the soft skills, it’s also having the analytical and the research skills as well.”
Dr Perera said a more collaborative approach between professionals in the education and accounting sectors would help students “getting ready for the jobs of tomorrow”.
“You need to give [students] the technical skills, the research skills, the soft skills in order to meet the requirements of the future, not just the immediate future but what holds in the future [in] five years, 10 years’ time.”