Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Jones, G and Abrahams, A, Education Implications of the Changing Role of Accountants: Perceptions of Practitioners, Academics and Students, in The Quantitative Analysis of Teaching and Learning in Business, Economics and Commerce, Forum Proceedings, The University of Melbourne, 9 February 2007, 89-105.


This paper investigates the premise that the role of accountants has changed in recent times, and considers the implications for future accounting education. A review of the current literature was undertaken to determine the contemporary understanding of accounting roles and the possible impacts of this on the skills needed by accounting graduates to be successful in the workplace. The literature review also considered personal characteristics that are expected to be beneficial to the accountants of the future. A pilot survey was undertaken to ascertain the different perceptions of three participant groups in relation to the changing role of accountants and the efficacy of university education in preparing students for graduate employment. These groups consisted of accounting academics and students within the University of Wollongong, and practitioners from the surrounding area. Results were analysed using parametric statistics to develop an overall picture of the sample, and non-parametric statistics to discern differences in perceptions between the target groups. The preliminary findings indicate that there is a difference in these perceptions, with practitioners being the group that most strongly believe that accounting education providers need to adapt their programs to meet the expanding requirements of the profession. However, academics are more concerned with the need to provide the essential skills for a well-rounded education, and a foundation for the development of lifelong learning.