Do Accounting Graduates' Skills meet the Expectations of Employers? A Matter of Convergence or Divergence
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This study investigates the emphasis placed on technical and generic skills developed during undergraduate accounting courses from both the graduate and employer perspective. It is motivated by two issues. First, calls by the accounting profession and international education committees regarding the professional adequacy of graduates. Second, by the challenge facing educators and professional bodies to ensure accounting courses equip graduates with the necessary skills to add value to business. Data obtained from 174 graduates from an Australian university is compared with the perceived needs of a sample of employers. Major findings suggest that, while both groups acknowledged the importance of technical accounting skills, employers require a broad range of generic skills that graduates indicated were not being adequately taught in their accounting degree programme. Against this backdrop of skills convergence, the greatest areas of skills divergence from the employers’ perspective were those of team skills, leadership potential, verbal communication and the interpersonal skills of graduates.
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