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Accounting Education and the Provision of Soft Skills: Implications of the Recent NZICA CA Academic Requirement Changes

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Document pages: 33 pages

Abstract: This research examined the role of accounting education in the provision of soft skills to accounting graduates, and how this may be affected by the recent changes in academic requirements initiated by NZICA. A qualitative research method utilizing in-depth interviews was conducted with accounting graduates, partners of the Big4 accounting firms, and two NZICA representatives. A literature review was conducted in order to review research regarding the purpose of tertiary accounting education, the issues in accounting education, and the provision of soft skills in accounting education. Included in this paper is a brief history of NZICA which focuses on its establishment and the changing academic requirements to become a qualified CA. The research found that overall, the majority of participants in this study were of the opinion that tertiary accounting education plays an important role in soft skills development for accounting graduates. The majority of participants also perceived that a three year degree should not diminish the quality of soft skills development at tertiary level since the fourth year did not provide additional soft skills development for them. The implications of the 2010 academic changes may not be witnessed for a few years; therefore, it would be ideal for NZICA to conduct a review of the academic changes commencing from 2013 to see whether the changes have improved the students education experience, practitioners pool of graduates and the profession s pool of members. Such a review will be important to gather feedback and determine whether further academic changes will need to be made to ensure a quality tertiary level accounting education.

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