An evaluation of an integrated case study and business simulation to develop professional skills In South African accountancy students
Van der Merwe, Nico
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One of the most debated topics in extant accounting education literature is that of professional skills. It appears that many universities are failing to sufficiently equip their graduates with the generic professional skills required for the workplace. The case study method and business simulations are two complementary teaching and learning tools that have proven successful in promoting the development and assessment of professional skills in accounting; however, very few existing cases or simulations appear to be integrated across the discipline areas within accountancy. This study aims to contribute to the field in three ways: 1) in aiding to fill the apparent gap in the literature on the usage of inter-disciplinary integrated case studies or simulations, 2) by producing a (hypothetical) case study and business simulation that can be used or adapted by accounting educators to develop and assess professional skills, and 3) by providing some evidence of students’ experiences (using a questionnaire adapted from a previous study) of such an assignment that can inform the development of future assignments. The findings show that the most obvious benefits of the assignment relate to the perceived level of learning that takes place and the exposure to real-life accountancy practice, as well as the perceived contribution to the development of various professional skills. A significant percentage of students did, however, experience high levels of stress and reported serious time constraints in completing the assignment.