Do accredited undergraduate accounting programmes in Australia meet the needs and expectations of the accounting profession?

Leopold Bayerlein (UNE Business School, University of New England, Armidale, Australia)
Mel Timpson (University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Publication date: 13 March 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the overall alignment of undergraduate accounting degree programmes from all Certified Practicing Accountants Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand accredited higher education providers in Australia with the profession’s minimum educational expectations (MEEs).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a series of quantitative and qualitative analyses to determine whether or not the content and focus of these programmes prepares students for contemporary accounting practice.

Findings

The results of these analyses demonstrate that most accredited undergraduate accounting degrees in Australia are largely unaligned with the profession’s expectations, with 18 (out of 57) degree programmes showing no overlap between their learning outcomes and the profession’s MEEs. In addition, only two (out of 57) programmes are shown to address all of the profession’s minimum expectations. A subsequent analysis of the focus and structure of the evaluated degree-level learning outcomes revealed additional inconsistencies between the interpretation of individual MEEs by the profession and the higher education sector.

Originality/value

This paper demonstrates that accredited undergraduate degrees are predominantly unable to prepare students for entry into the accounting profession, and that the prior efforts to align accounting curricula with the profession’s needs and expectation have thus far been largely unsuccessful. The findings of this paper are relevant for higher education providers and the accounting profession because they reflect the current level of alignment between the content and focus of undergraduate accounting education and the profession’s expectations. In addition, the findings of this paper highlight that the current accreditation process of the professional accounting bodies in Australia does not generate the desired alignment between academia and accounting practice.

Keywords

Citation

Leopold Bayerlein and Mel Timpson (2017) "Do accredited undergraduate accounting programmes in Australia meet the needs and expectations of the accounting profession?", Education + Training, Vol. 59 No. 3, pp. 305-322

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DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-04-2016-0074

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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