Accounting education : investigating the gap between school, university and practice
Van Romburgh, Henriette
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Various studies have highlighted the problems faced in accounting education. Some of these problems refer to the stagnating accounting curriculum, limited resources available to students from designated black empowerment groups, and the underdevelopment of skills required by practice. This study focuses specifically on the problems faced in secondary and tertiary accounting education in South Africa (SA) and the effects of these problems on practice. The first article of this study emphasises the various causes for the declining pass rate in firstyear chartered accountancy (CA) students. For this purpose, the researcher gathered information on the perceptions of first-year CA students and of lecturers involved in departments of accounting at SA universities. One of the possible causes identified is the apparent gap between school and university accounting education, especially in respect of curriculum, teaching quality and textbooks. The study revealed that students from designated black empowerment groups are facing the most problems in SA accounting education. The second article addressed the skills shortages in first-year CA trainees that practitioners have to deal with. According to the results, the majority of the participants felt that universities do not sufficiently equip students with the skills necessary to be successful in practice. The skills shortages identified included the inability of first-year trainees to determine the extent of testing needed in audits and to think independently. It also seemed as if first-year trainees lack professional communication skills and cannot sufficiently apply theory learnt at university in practice. These are only some skills with which universities are expected to equip students in order to be successful in practice. The researcher drew conclusions and made recommendations based on the information obtained from the above-mentioned two studies.