The progress in the last three decades in global business and technology has significantly changed the methods used by accountants for conducting their task. The accountants are compelled to work in this ever changing and complex environment and are constantly confronting challenges to apply their skills in newer arenas. Accounting education becomes crucial for developing the professional attributes of the accountants and improving their job skills (Palea2017). This profession demands adjustment qualities of the accountants for fulfilling the customer demands successfully in a responsive manner. Advances in software technology has provided accountants enormous time for allocating their resources in interpreting financial details and engage themselves in various strategic planning. The management accountants have started playing the role of business analysts and partners and internal consultants which has helped the companies to utilize their accountants for boosting the standard of their company. The accountants have transformed their work culture from traditional style to the latest value added style which ensures product and customer profitability and strategic planning in the long term (Heinzelmann2016). The job demands excellent interpersonal skills, efficiency of working in team, analytical skills and having technical knowledge of accounting.
With extensive research the AAA(American Accounting Association) has stated; there exist a considerable void between what these accountants perform and what the educators teach. Accounting education should undergo changes for meeting the requirements of this evolving profession so that accountants can maintain and possess greater competence level for meeting the demands of the diverse and expanding profession (Cambois, Solé-Auró and Robine2016). Accounting education has been structured to be competence based in the current scenario; competence in the European context is explained on the basis of autonomy and responsibility while the UK defined competency as- the ability to act according to the expected employment standards. The differences in the definitions are crucial since they influence the ideas related to competence based grading along with the methods of assessment. Developing the core skills like the ability of cooperating, solving problems and communicating are considered vital for the accountants; this concept of generic skills has two contrasting impression- UK defines skill as an intensely individual approach without the influence of performance and development while EU describes the term as the amalgamation of the formal factors of the workplace and the educational institute where the efficiencies are acquired.
Accounting education in UK was earlier done under experienced professionals with the accountants working as apprenticeships; later on the professionals were advised to develop the analytical skills of the accounting students. The students are taught the need for critical thinking for dealing with tools related to capital, politics, labor, commerce and laws and thus training their minds for constructive and analytic thinking. The IFAC (International federation of accountants) the main standard setter and the EU rules differ significantly: the IFAC international education standards demand competency skills of auditors and accountants whereas in EU the auditors are selected on the basis of criteria’s mentioned in the national law (Bruscaet al. 2015). The auditor’s qualifications are included in the eighth directive of the EU (EU, 1984) excluding the requirements of accountants; the requirement criteria mentioned in the eighth directive is the main object of differentiation as regards recognizing the qualification of the auditors in EU countries and UK.
Following the need for reform, accounting education has been developed to encourage skill efficiency. These include developing the curriculum for enhancing education primarily based on competence; analyzing the future movements; grading the skills as regards stakeholder priorities; exploring the obstacles related to development of skills; analyzing and exploring skills concerned with communication, ethics and critical thinking. Due to the existence of enormous rules and regulations the accounting teachers face difficulties in teaching both practical application rules and conceptual learning. With limited teaching hours large differences has been created between the depth and width of knowledge related to these courses. The institutes trying to sustain their position have shifted from lecture and textbook based teaching to learning based on interactions.
Brusca, I., Caperchione, E., Cohen, S. and Rossi, F.M., 2015. Comparing accounting systems in Europe. In Public Sector Accounting and Auditing in Europe (pp. 235-251). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Cambois, E., Solé-Auró, A. and Robine, J.M., 2016. Economic hardship and educational differentials in disability in 26 European countries. Journal of aging and health, 28(7), pp.1214-1238.
Heinzelmann, R., 2016. Comparing professions in UK and German-speaking management accounting. Accounting in Europe, 13(1), pp.103-120.
Palea, V., 2017. Whither accounting research? A European view. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 42, pp.59-73.