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Bruce Behn, a UT business professor, led a study that found seven ways to improve accounting education.

The results were detailed in the recently released report, “Charting a National Strategy for the Next Generation of Accountants.”

Behn, working with the Pathways Commission and fifty other accounting professionals and academics, studied for two years, finding ways to strengthen accounting in higher education.

The Pathways Commission is a joint effort between the American Accounting Association (AAA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

“Having practitioners and academics sit side-by-side solving problems is beneficial to the entire profession,” Behn said. “But we’ve only just begun.”

The accounting profession faces several educational challenges, ranging from a shortage of instructors to the quickly changing accounting curricula.

“Not to mention the globalization of businesses and financial markets, high-profile frauds that have impacted investors, increased complexities in businesses and increased regulation,” Behn said. “Accounting professionals must be prepared to inform the public, organizations, lenders, and the capital markets.”

Because of these challenges, the Pathways Commission worked on the report to sustain the accounting profession over the long term.

The report made seven recommendations to be implemented over the next three years:

  1. Build a learned profession by integrating accounting research, education, and practice among students, accounting practitioners and educators. Universities need to enhance the role of professionally qualified faculty members who may lack a doctoral degree in accounting but who bring valuable experience from the workplace into the classroom. The report stated that “cultural barriers” in universities could discourage working professionals from entering teaching.
  2. Meet future demands for faculty by universities having flexible pedagogies in existing programs and exploring alternative pathways to terminal degrees.
  3. Reform accounting education so that teaching is respected and rewarded as a critical component in achieving each institution’s mission.
  4. Develop robust curricula and learning resources that are engaging, create mechanisms for easily sharing them, and enhance faculty development opportunities.
  5. Improve ways to attract high-potential entrants into the profession. Students need to better understand what accounting is all about and its value beyond bookkeeping, debits, and credits, particularly at the introductory level; make accounting courses more interesting and relevant to students.
  6. Collect, analyze, and disseminate information about current and future opportunities for accounting professionals and faculty.
  7. Establish an implementation process to address these and future recommendations.

The full report can be found at www.pathwayscommission.org.

C O N T A C T :

Cindy Raines (865-974-4359, craines1@utk.edu)