The accounting profession has consistently called for educators to assist in developing accounting students' skills beyond technical knowledge. As a result, our institution has emphasized professional skills such as oral and written communication, teamwork, research, and time management alongside technical content. Yet, our students have had difficulty making the transition from school to work, that is, from backpack to briefcase. Specifically, they lacked a sense of professional identity and an awareness of the accounting profession's roles in business and society. To address this issue, we created a professional development program to transform students from uninformed freshmen to graduates who understand what it means to be an accounting professional. The chapter describes activities that encourage the development of a sense of professional purpose. Limited assessment of the innovation suggests increased student enthusiasm for the major as well as improved perceptions of professional success. The chapter also suggests means by which other accounting programs might reevaluate and revise their own activities to assist students as they transition to accounting professionals.
Chevis, G., Davis, C.E. and Kathy Hurtt, R. (2011), "Backpack to Briefcase: The Transformation from Student to Accounting Professional", Catanach, A.H. and Feldmann, D. (Ed.) Advances in Accounting Education: Teaching and Curriculum Innovations (Advances in Accounting Education, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 33-52. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1085-4622(2011)0000012004
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