In recent decades, accounting education has been criticized for failing to provide graduates with necessary skills applied in the workforce. Such skills are demonstrated not only specialist knowledge, but also generic and professional skills for employment. As the increasing number of accounting graduates leads to an intensely competitive environment, broader range of generic and professional skills are required by employers.
Since I have begun to study accounting for several years, I realized those skills had been developed to focus on solving varieties of practical challenges rather than only accounting problems.
Yorker (2006, cited in Crawford, 2011 , p. 117) stated graduates equipped with such integrative competence are more likely to be employed and to be qualified for their occupations, which is beneficial to themselves, the workforce and community.
This reflective statement will explore the generic and professional skills in the area of financial accounting, and will identify the learning outcomes which assisted me in achieving these important skills from previous studies. Generic and Professional Skills The context of international business markets have resulted in the changing ole of accountants who are striving to create effective value for their employers.
Cackling and Lange (2009, p. 371 ) mentioned ‘New global business models and the digital age have shifted expectations of the work of accountants’.
Thus, universities have attempted to link generic and professional skills into undergraduate accounting courses in order to develop educational excellence and deliver graduates with intellectual capacity for job success and social contribution. These skills desired by employers could be generally summarized as problem-solving skill, communication skill, analytical kill, IT application skill, and teamwork skill. First, problem-solving skill is a fundamental element of accounting which is built by improving statistical capacity and applying statistical concepts.
It is about using logic and creativity to assess various situations and come up with intelligent solutions. Stoner and Miller (2010) identified such skill could be regarded as an aspect of learning-to-learn skills which are concerned with graduates’ ability for learning management, involving views on the nature of disciplines, positive attitudes towards learning responsibility, and savvy to complexities. Second, immunization skill is vital to understanding interaction between the providers and recipients of information. Gathering, processing and expressing information are the importance of accounting.
Said and Abraham (1994) examined communication could be difficult between accountants and non-accountants because those who are unfamiliar with accounting knowledge might be likely to perceive unintended meanings. Consequently, accountants need to interpret the language of data and numbers into understandable information to serve the decision makers. Communication skill could consist of oral speaking writing, listening, and interpersonal intelligence. Third, analytical skill is useful for visualizing and articulating complicated or uncomplicated problems to make accurate decisions based on available sources.
Ballasting and Laurels (2009) stated analytical skill is not subject specific, but is alternatively known as soft skill. Employers are seeking accounting graduates with critical thinking who are able to quickly and comprehensively recognize and evaluate the most essential and relevant information for financial statements and reports. Employees who are adept at overcoming obstacles of an organization by analyzing strengths and nakedness would also simplify the complex chains of command. Fourth, IT application skill is increasingly significant within the portfolio of generic and professional skills, and is largely demanded by employers.
Stoner (2009) defined IT application skill contains the use of computer, spreadsheet and word processing software, the use of internet and e-mail, as well as the use of statistical and database management applications. Accordingly, IT application skill enables action to ensure appropriate IT tools taken to deal with accounting problems in the digital age. Fifth, teamwork skill helps a reflections accountant to cooperate with others for the common interests of the organization by receiving and transmitting information, formulating reasonable judgments.
International Federal of Accountants (2008) declared it is the ability to work in teams during a consultative process, interact with culturally and intellectually distinct members, discuss diverse opinions through effective communication, and negotiate agreements and solutions in professional situations. Ballasting and Laurels (2007) found teamwork skill is inherently more complicated than individualistic behavior because individuals have to participate in teams, learn from each other, and take responsibility to achieve a common goal.
Learning Outcomes For the sake of deeply describing these generic and professional skills, three Of them are selected to further explain how the learning outcomes helped me to acquire these skills communication skill, analytical skill, and teamwork skill. In the course of Accounting and Finance, modules related to financial accounting include Accounting in Society, Introduction to Accounting Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Financial Accounting Theory.
The doodle currently I’m taking is Financial Accounting Theory which considers the actual role of accounting in organizations and society and contrasts with its theoretical role. During this module, there are a few exercises in each seminar, and students are asked to read articles every week. For instance, the homework after week 3 is to read several articles to find out the reasons why FAST and SAAB decided to revisit conceptual framework, the issues they need to consider when revisiting it, and the distinction between stewardship and decision-usefulness.
We need to search and analyses useful information independently, and discuss our findings in the next seminar, which has definitely trained my analytical skill. Another example is the exercise in week 4 seminar, reading an article and finding out the purpose of conceptual framework. Besides, almost all the seminar discussions are worked in pairs or in groups, which is more efficient when exchanging different views than self- reading and self-thinking, this has obviously improved my communication skill.
Through the seminars, learning outcomes such as evaluating information from multiple sources with appropriate acknowledgement and preferring, demonstrating the use of accepted technique language of accounting and accounting practice internationally, understanding the function and operation of accounting in a range of contexts are achieved. As a credit entry student transferred in final year, I did not take the rest of those modules. Instead, I have taken other similar modules in my previous studies Financial Accounting and Financial Analysis.
Financial Accounting discusses the nature of accounting practice, and introduces accounting techniques for collecting, classifying, recording and presenting financial information for organizations. The coursework was to compare the business evaluation between Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, Inc. , using the ratio analysis and the DuPont system of analysis, based on their annual financial statements. It Was complex to calculate and choose the data for analysis, and give an objective comparison and assessment according to the results, which quite developed my analytical skill.
Learning outcomes such as applying accepted techniques to record business transactions and prepare financial statements, analyzing financial accounting information for decision-making, demonstrating an ability to think critically and consider issues from a variety f perspectives were achieved. Financial Analysis introduces contemporary financial reporting and accounting with particular reference to the application of FIRS to lots of accounting issues and the interpretation of financial data.
In this module, students were assumed to be financial consultants to evaluate two potentially mutually exclusive capital investments for an organization, using capital budgeting techniques and to determine either is worth investing. Moreover, we need to make a presentation about introducing the two investment projects we chose, explaining the calculation ND evaluation process and recommending our views. The structure and expression of presentation should be clear and logical, so my communication skill was advanced. Another coursework was to provide a financial analysis report for a public company, coordinating within a group.
As a group leader, need to listen to each member’s idea, gather available suggestions from the discussion, distribute workload among members, and collect achievements altogether to complete the report. Therefore, this group work gave me a helpful experience in promoting my teamwork skill. While finishing this doodle, learning outcomes such as evaluating an organization’s operating performance, financial position and cash flows, performing horizontal and vertical analysis Of financial statements, identifying the role and relevance Of financial information to users within or outside a corporate were achieved.
Conclusion Throughout these modules, I personally believe they have contributed to analytical skill, communication skill and teamwork skill which are crucial to a potential candidate. Additionally in final year, I found British education system tends to encourage students to think and research independently rather than eating answers directly from lecturers during my previous studies in China. Hence, feel I need to develop problem-solving skill by self-learning, such as using library resources to look for solutions or reviewing seminar materials when facing complexities.
Despite the uncertainty whether a graduate with these generic and professional skills will be successful in a particular work position, the practice of case studies, seminar discussions, group work and presentations is suitably designed for improving graduates’ integrative competence in future employment. List of References  Ballasting, J. And Laurels, P. M. (2009). Accounting undergraduates’ perceptions of cooperative learning as a model for enhancing their interpersonal and communication skills to interface successfully with professional accountancy education and training.
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