Bridging the Gap between Accounting Students and the Profession: A Case Study

  •  Susan Lightweis    


This study addresses the gap between accounting educators and the profession. Research indicates accounting graduates are underprepared for this challenging career. The issue stems from accounting educators who only lecture and accounting students who memorize the information provided in these lectures. Accounting students need opportunities to build their professional skills through learning activities that mimic real-world situations. This qualitative study analyzes the perspectives of advanced accounting students before and after computer-assisted instruction to determine if they believe their critical thinking, communication and problem solving skills have improved. I conducted an analysis using an auditing simulation, semi-structured interviews before and after computer use, and reflective journals provided by advanced accounting students attending Central North Carolina universities. The auditing simulation introduced in the study created the opportunity for students to practice their knowledge of accounting and enhance their professional skills. The findings suggested students made a connection between concepts learned in course work and situations found in the accounting profession. The simulation built confidence in students and motivated them to learn more about enhancing skills necessary for the accounting profession. The evidence recommends accounting educators to use simulations as a supplemental learning tool in preparing accounting students for the profession. This study allows colleges, universities, and state accounting associations and societies to explore and conduct future research in using learning tools to enhance professional skills to bridge the gap between accounting students and the profession.

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