Synchronizing What We Teach With What Accountants Do: The Role of IMA in Closing the Gap
DePaul University - College of Commerce
Sandra B. Richtermeyer
Xavier University - Department of Accountancy
University of North Texas
University of Denver - School of Accountancy
In 1984 the American Accounting Association appointed a prestigious committee to consider the future of accounting education. The committee's report (the Bedford Report) noted that while all professions change over time, the institutions that educate professionals frequently fail to evolve as rapidly as professional practice. The report concluded that the accounting profession is expanding, but the state of accounting education (in 1986) was inadequate to meet the needs of the expanding profession. One problem was the growing gap between what accountants do and what accounting educators teach.
Following up on the Bedford Report, the Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC) issued several position statements in 1993. Statement Number 4 recommended that faculty members should acquire and maintain a high level of knowledge about both practice issues and the nonacademic accountant's workplace and that they should communicate their knowledge about conditions of practice to their students.
Thus, about twenty years ago, the academic community recognized a problem and issued recommendations to address the problem.
The problem identified in the Bedford Report in 1986 was recognized by the practicing profession a few years later.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) began hearing complaints from financial executives in companies of all size. The executives told IMA that entry level accountants were ill prepared for work.
In 1994, IMA, to serve the interests of its members, made the decision to address the problem by conducting research that they could share with the academic community. IMA sponsored six research studies on management accounting practice, the latest, completed in 2006. Over the past 12 years, the results of this research was shared with the academic community in articles, postings on the IMA web site, and nearly 100 presentations at academic meetings.
The purpose of this panel session is to stimulate discussion about the gap between what we teach and what accountants do on the job. Has the gap narrowed over the past 20 years? Has the AECC recommendation that faculty members should acquire and maintain a high level of knowledge about both practice issues and the nonacademic accountant's workplace and that they should communicate their knowledge about conditions of practice to their students been fulfilled? Why did IMA fund research on the profession over the past 12 years? To what extent have universities changed their accounting curricula or modified course content to better prepare students for work in a corporate setting?
Number of Pages in PDF File: 3
JEL Classification: M40, M46, A20working papers series
Date posted: August 4, 2006
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