Desirable generic attributes for accounting graduates into the twenty-first century: the views of employers

Tempone, Irene and Kavanagh, Marie and Segal, Naomi and Hancock, Phil and Howieson, Bryan and Kent, Jenny (2012) Desirable generic attributes for accounting graduates into the twenty-first century: the views of employers. Accounting Research Journal , 25 (1). pp. 41-55. ISSN 1030-9616


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to determine the requirements of accounting graduates in relation to generic attributes. Employers have consistently maintained that graduates are deficient in this area. This Australia-wide, all-sector study addresses the issue by examining what employers mean when they make demands for universities and academics to deliver work-ready graduates.

Design/methodology/approach – Interviews (recorded, transcribed and analysed with NVivo) with employers, and accounting professional bodies were conducted to ascertain their views of their needs of accounting graduates into the future.

Findings – Employers held the generic attributes of communication, team work and self-management to be the most critical for graduates in the three areas of recruitment, training and ongoing employment. Demands on universities to deliver work-ready graduates are not homogeneous. Employers in different sectors construe the meaning of generic attributes in line with their specific needs.

Originality/value – The study was an original piece of work that gauged the opinions of professional accounting bodies and employers of accounting graduates across Australia and in all sectors of the accounting profession. The value of the study is to inform academics as to the ranked importance of generic attributes but also alert them to the different meanings that are assigned to these skills by employers in different sectors.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy (Emerald)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2012 05:11
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2014 05:58
Uncontrolled Keywords: accounting graduates; Australia; communication; generic attributes; self-management; students; team working
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability > 150199 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability not elsewhere classified
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150305 Human Resources Management
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130203 Economics, Business and Management Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1108/10309611211244519

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