Can competency skills for accounting students be internationally harmonised? An Indonesia application

Mula, Joseph M. (2007) Can competency skills for accounting students be internationally harmonised? An Indonesia application. In: Accounting Education Group (SIG5) Symposium, 2007 AFAANZ Conference, 30 June 2007, Gold Coast, Australia.

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Many attempts have been made to arrive at a set of competencies for inclusion in accounting programs in many countries. The concern about evaluating of what was being taught to accounting students in order to prepare them for the profession stretches back to the 1950s (Palmer et al. 2004). However more contemporary studies were kick-started by the ‘Big White Paper’ in 1989 which resurrected the debate in the United States and has led to many studies in Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe. In 1998, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC 1998) defined competency as “the ability to perform the tasks and roles expected of a professional accountant, both newly qualified and experienced, to the standard expected by employers and the general public”. IFAC now requires that all member associations comply with the competency standards (and should have complied by January 2005).

Given that all member association need to comply, the question needs to be asked - Can a set of competency skills developed mainly in the USA be applicable to other countries particularly developing countries who have not the same history of accounting education and professional conduct? This paper describes how the application of the international competency framework was applied to an Indonesian university under an Asian Development Bank program to improve the standard of accounting education in that country. It highlights the difference in cultural approaches to accounting education as the country is in its infancy in establishing accounting as a recognised profession separate from government directive. A number of obstacles needed to be overcome because of the way accounting academics are employed and undertake their roles as teachers.

The project involved analysis of all accounting courses in the undergraduate program against the benchmark of the competency framework using gap analysis. This analysis identified what skills were not covered in each course and the entire program. Using surveys, focus groups and meetings all stakeholders were consulted as to the needs of the accounting profession by business, government and other organisations. This was matched with the views of existing students, graduates and their employers providing a rich set of data from which to evaluate whether the international competencies were appropriate for Indonesia.

As a result of the findings, the accounting program was redesigned to incorporate an adapted set of competencies which would comply with IFAC requirements but be sensitive to the current contextual position of the accounting profession in Indonesia. The redesign was sympathetic to the university’s resource constraints and proposed a strategy of incremental changes that could be effected within three to four years. This project shows that if the competency standards can be contextualised they can apply to a very different environment to that from which they evolved.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions (unpublished).
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2009 02:19
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:09
Uncontrolled Keywords: accounting students; accounting; students; standardization; Indonesia
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation

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