1 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (SPAIN)
2 Universidad Complutense de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 2619-2628
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Traditionally there has been a general perception that the accounting professional is dull, grey and boring closer to a bean-counter than a prestigious and active professional, but after several worldwide financial scandals, like the collapse of ENRON and WorldCom in USA or Parmalat in Europe, there has also been a growing lack of confidence on the auditor´s credibility. Consequently the aim of this paper is to analyse university students’ perceptions about the public image and stereotypes of accountants and/or auditors and their variation after an extra-curricular activity at the university. The activity, sponsored by a well- known and prestigious professional organism of auditors in Spain, aims to help students making a hard decision such as choosing a career and consists on a group of selected students individually shadowing for a whole workday an audit team to experience a day as an auditor. Students are greeted by the thirteen major firms such as: CROWE HORWATH, Deloitte, Baker Tilly, BDO or KPMG, among others.

This study collects and analyses data from a questionnaire survey with 58 students. Participants completed a preliminary pen-and-paper survey (pre-survey) the previous day to doing the activity. An also pen-and-paper post-survey was conducted with the same participants after the completion of the activity in order to compare the students’ final impressions and evolution of their perception of accountants and/or auditors stereotypes. Both surveys were divided in three different sections: demographic data, general perceptions toward the activity, following Geiger and Ogilby (2000), and 30 questions with regard to the perceptions of an average auditor compared to an average individual, prepared by Coate et al. (2003) and used in Zdolsek (2013).

This paper evidences not only the validity of activities designed to show professional experiences in order to encourage undergraduates their employability in auditing and accounting firms from the beginning of their studies, but it also proves that real life contact for students is one of the best ways to deconstruct their negative stereotype of the accounting profession.
Auditing, accounting career, training real business cases, accounting stereotypes, multivariate statistics.