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July 31, 2012

AAA, AICPA helps shape future accounting education

The US Pathways Commission on Accounting Higher Education has outlined its vision for the future structure of higher education for the accounting profession in a report.

The Pathways Commission, launched by the American Accounting Association (AAA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), has been gathering feedback from different stakeholders during the last two years.

The report, Charting a National Strategy for the Next Generation of Accountants, explores avenues to enhance the accounting education experience in the broadest sense.

The Pathways Commission said it worked on the assumption that the preparation of accountants should rest on a comprehensive vision of its role in the wider society. As accounting and business evolve, the commission said, the required knowledge and skills will also change.

“For instance, the amount and complexity of information accountants are charged with interpreting, processing, reviewing, and reporting is continuously increasing,” the commission remarked.

On top of that, many accountants work in different roles across several fields, from private to non-for-profit sectors. That involves challenges to both curriculum development and effective learning environments.

The Pathways Commission made seven recommendations:

  •    Build a learned profession for the future by purposeful integration of accounting research, education, and practice for students, accounting practitioners, and educators;
  •    Develop mechanisms to meet future demand for faculty by unlocking doctoral education via flexible pedagogies in existing programs and by exploring alternative pathways to terminal degrees that align with institutional missions and accounting education and research goals;
  •    Reform accounting education so teaching is respected and rewarded as a critical component in achieving each institution’s mission;
  •    Develop curriculum models, engaging learning resources, and mechanisms for easily sharing them as well as enhancing faculty development opportunities in support of sustaining a robust curriculum;
  •    Improve the ability to attract high-potential, diverse entrants into the profession;
  •    Create mechanisms for collecting, analysing, and disseminating information about the current and future markets for accounting professionals and accounting faculty; and,
  •    Convert thought to action by establishing an implementation process to address these and future recommendations by creating structures and mechanisms to transition accounting change efforts from episodic events to a more continuous, sustainable process.

The commission said to ensure successful implementation of its recommendations continued joint efforts will be necessary.

The Pathways Commission concluded it is the integration of knowledge, skills, and ethical action that form competency and fulfil the accounting profession’s responsibility to society.


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