Providing Better Trained Graduates for Accounting Employers


  • Carol M. Bruton
  • Michael P. Bradley


"There exists an “expectation gap” between the employers of accounting graduates and the suppliers of accounting graduates. Academics tend to focus on teaching theory rather than practice, because practice is difficult to teach. Practice is difficult to simulate in the classroom and creates too much ambiguity that academics do not like to confront. This results in students less prepared to initially apply their skills in practice because they have never experienced the application of those skills. The school of accountancy is particularly susceptible to this weakness because the coursework tends to focus on journal entries and theory without any indication of the skills required of an accountant in practice or how the information will be applied. This results in a misconception about what an accountant does. Based on the curriculum, accountants are perceived to be “number crunchers” that memorize journal entries. Once all of the journal entries are memorized there is nothing else to it. When, in actuality an accountant is a businessperson interacting with people and making decisions similar to other occupations. This paper discusses how accounting programs may provide better trained graduates for potential employers by bringing the “real world’ of accounting into the classroom through a cooperative effort between the accounting professionals and the teaching professionals. We demonstrate the effect of this cooperation on the content and pedagogical methods of two key accounting courses, Accounting Information Systems and Auditing. "