McCombie, K. M., Accounting Education in the Institution known as the University: Alibis of Social Relevance, School of Accounting & Finance, University of Wollongong, Working Paper 13, 2007.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the changes, if any, that have taken place in terms of the social relevance of accounting education in Australian Universities. In order to comment on the notion of social relevance, this paper examines the notion of alibis as put forward by Simon (2001). The past is reviewed in terms of the roles that accounting education has played in the Australian community. It is concluded that university education, and specifically accounting education, in an Australian context has never entirely been what Simon (2001) would label as ‘traditional scholarly’ (his first alibi). A second alibi, ‘economic utilitarian’, is found to be dominant for accounting education, in line with most university education today. A final section of the paper briefly reviews the way forward for accounting education which would fall under the alibi of ‘modernist liberal’. The paper is largely historical and adds to the debate on change in accounting education, by exploring the social relevance of accounting education.