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Teaching accountants



On a recent research project I read an article from 1914 which was written by an “old” accountant of the time. On testing accounting students knowledge through examinations (s)he notes “we see interesting problems set out in symmetry and order”. This made me think about what has changed today.

Indeed we still use examinations in university and in professional bodies. They are a good tool to test knowledge, and increasingly examinations draw on methods such as case scenarios which are less structured in an effort to imitate real life scenarios. However, no matter what we do as teachers, we cannot replicate the real world. This is of course where professional development and on the job training come in. I do hope we at least provide the basic knowledge to help students hit the ground running when they start their careers. We can only improve the value of this basic knowledge by trying to get students to use their knowledge in an unstructured way. In an examination scenario, this means we need to use fresh ideas and new ways to ask standard material – this can be tricky sometimes, but it helps both students and us teachers to apply ourselves in a more real world fashion.

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About martinjquinn

I am an accounting academic, accountant and author based near Dublin, Ireland.

One response to “Teaching accountants”

  1. Adrian says :

    Hi Martin

    Thank you for your thought.

    I personally experienced it like this: In the beginning of my studies, the basics got examined in a structured way (multiple choice, straight forward calculations). Later, we had more and more unstructured exams like case studies. What I liked most in terms of learning for work life were essay or report assignments.This allowed for individual research. In terms of written exam, I loved the CIMA final paper (case study).

    Best wishes
    Adrian

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