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Preserving transferable skills in the accounting curriculum during the COVID-19 pandemic

Frederick Ng (Department of Accounting and Finance, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Julie Harrison (Graduate School of Management, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

Accounting Research Journal

ISSN: 1030-9616

Article publication date: 5 February 2021

Issue publication date: 23 August 2021




The purpose of this paper is to provide a first-hand, critical reflection on the rapid redesign of a New Zealand university accounting course in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors reflect on their experience of redesigning a course for online delivery, while preserving its focus on transferable skills.


This paper presents the authors’ commentary on and self-evaluation of the teaching of a final year accounting paper during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The authors provide lessons for developing transferable skills when pivoting to digital learning under extreme conditions. The authors found a multi-modal approach to course delivery that helped facilitate the development of transferable skills and self-reflection journals were particularly useful for motivating students in an online teaching environment. The authors also identified the efficacy of designing and evaluating online course delivery using a “transferable skills first” template to identify gaps in learning activities and assessments.


The pressures of rapidly pivoting to digital learning threatened the authors’ ability to maintain a focus on transferable skills. The authors provide a design method for maintaining and developing transferable skills in a digital environment using a “transferable-skills first” teaching philosophy.



Ng, F. and Harrison, J. (2021), "Preserving transferable skills in the accounting curriculum during the COVID-19 pandemic", Accounting Research Journal, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 290-303.



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