The importance of selection in the accounting environment is of particular relevance as accounting is a service function which relies heavily on human resources, and its future depends on its ability to attract, train and retain the best and most capable people. A graduate entrant into a professional accountancy office constitutes a major investment involving substantial outlay to cover the costs of recruitment, training and replacement. The external training cost is easy to quantify; however the quantification of the opportunity cost is more difficult. Both these costs rise if the graduate fails to proceed through the examination system without resits or fails to qualify altogether, resulting in a human capital loss for the firm and a personal loss for the candidate. Analyses and discusses the results of a survey into the selection techniques of professional accountancy firms which are training students under the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland System. Centres on the need for and method of pre‐selection, together with selection techniques and their relative success. Concludes that adopting statistical procedures to process biodata for subsequent candidate performance will have ramifications for the firms, the trainees and the profession as a whole.
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