New-Age Accountants at Macquarie University
23 February 2016
A ‘new’ accounting bachelor program to be offered by the Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance at Macquarie University recognises that, more than ever before, a successful accounting graduate requires a diversity of thoughts and experiences gained during their Bachelor studies.
Disruption in the accounting profession and business more generally, as a consequence of technology and globalisation, means that accountants need a high level of interpersonal, communication, critical thinking and problem solving skills to gain employment and to provide value added professional services.
Accordingly an accounting graduate must have an opportunity to develop and apply these types of skills during the completion of their bachelor program.
As competition and productivity demands escalate employers require graduates that can add value to the business from day one. Flow on initiatives and changes are planned in all business programs at Macquarie, as technological change means that communication, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration will provide the value added component of personal services.
Whilst the skill set identified by employers as required in accounting graduates include expert technical skills, technological proficiency, critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills, the required mix of each skill is changing with an increased importance placed on the soft skills.
Typically accounting programs merely touch on soft skills in technical units however to be effective and ensure that graduates are work ready, the Macquarie accounting program will embed the required skills across all units in the program and incorporate real business problems and experiential learning.
Specifically the accounting program will embed activities that facilitate a questioning mind, emotional intelligence, creativity, entrepreneurial attributes, an innovative mind-set, collaboration, global awareness and ethics.
It is proposed, that in the Macquarie accounting program, technical units will be consolidated and rationalised to incorporate interdisciplinary material, reflecting the diversity of thoughts and experiences required by accountants today and in the future.
New methods of delivery and assessments will be embedded including interactive case studies and business simulations where students learn and apply technical content to real life scenarios using creativity and innovation.
Technology will be integrated in units and, key to the success of the accounting bachelor program, is the planned investment by Macquarie in quality and tailored staff development programs for accounting academics and partnerships with the business community.
One of the first initiatives includes significant changes made to the first year accounting units to be offered in 2016. Both first year units have been revised to focus on student engagement in the discipline, an understanding of the role of accounting in business, communication, teamwork, critical thinking, technology in accounting and governance.
This is quite different to the previous focus on technical accounting entries that occurred in the past. The units also include interdisciplinary material to encourage a more contextual understanding of accounting’s role in business.