P. Silva, R. Bertuzi

This paper presents the results from a survey that was conducted, during the academic year 2014/2015, among students of the Accounting and Administration undergraduate degree at ISCAP – IPP (School of Accounting and Administration of Polytechnic Institute of Porto) in order to understand their perception value of Business Simulation (BS) courses.

BS courses are part of the undergraduate degree of Accounting and Administration at ISCAP – IPP since the beginning of 2003. The aim of these courses is to provide a business environment in which students can apply all the theoretical knowledge acquired during their previous courses. For students that wanted to be certified accountants, BS courses are an alternative to internship in a company. During the two semesters students perform different and sometimes complex activities and tasks. From setting up a company until the presentation of the financial annual report, lots of commercial administrative and management activities are performed. All the activities take into account practical implications of previous theoretical knowledge in areas such as tax, commercial and labour law, financial accounting, management accounting and ethics, just to mention a few.

The survey used had the primary objective to measure the students’ perception about general and specific skills and also about the competencies considered important for accountants and managers in the real life. According to the AICPA - American Institute of Certified Accountants [1] there are some skills that an accountant should be acquired during the graduation such as: decision making, identification of alternatives, the choice and implementation of solutions for the creation of value. A secondary objective was to obtain the opinion of students about this type of classes, different from traditional ones with less exposition and more action-oriented.

The results showed that students value very much this type of classes. Students recognize that during BS courses their competencies were improved. These results corroborate the Adler and Milne’s [2] research in which the authors found that students agree with the use of action-oriented learning tasks in order to provide them the needed attitudes, skills, and knowledge.

Other surveys that have been conducted by the authors, over the last few years, validate the results obtained in this research, since they were very similar. The majority of the students like and value BS courses recognizing they improved skills needed for future jobs. In a more specific way, students realized the improvement of teamwork skills, which are very important for accountants and managers today. The last relevant aspect was the value students attributed to the action-oriented learning. In their opinion this methodology is more efficient than the traditional one.

[1] “AICPA - Core Competency Framework & Educational Competency Assessment.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 10-Jul-2014].
[2] R. W. Adler and M. J. Milne, “Accounting Education : An Improving the quality of accounting students ’ learning through action-oriented learning tasks,” Account. Educ., vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 191–215, 1997.