ARE FUTURE ACCOUNTANTS ADEQUATELY PREPARED FOR THE CHALLENGES OF A NEW JOB MARKET? THEIR PERCEPTION AND THE CONTRIBUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION
CEOS.PP - ISCAP / P.PORTO (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The significant changes in the job market brought about by digital transformation are affecting all professions. Accountants are one of the occupations most affected by these changes, with a significant part of their working time having to be allocated to functions other than those they traditionally perform. Attentive to this phenomenon, higher education has sought to fill some of the gaps in traditional teaching methodologies over the past few years. In this sense, new teaching methodologies have been introduced, namely through experiential learning and learning-by-doing approaches, capable of providing technical and soft skills to students.
In this paper, we present the business simulation project I, a curricular unit that is part of the last year of the accounting and administration degree of Polytechnic of Porto – Porto Accounting and Business School (ISCAP-IPP). One of the primary purposes of creating the business simulation curricular units in February 2003 was to provide practical skills through a simulated business environment. In this sense, it was even authorized by the Portuguese Chartered Accountants Association the exemption of the internship for access to the profession to students who successfully attended the curricular units of business simulation. The business simulation environment provides students with a quasi-professional experience, free of the risk inherent to an actual situation. However, the activities and tasks that arise from an accountant's duties in a work context are simulated, and students have the opportunity to develop their technical and soft skills.
This paper aims to illustrate the advantages of a teaching method based on a "learning by doing" approach as a supplement to traditional teaching. Thus, we sought to determine whether future accountants, current finalists in an accounting and administration degree, feel that they are adequately prepared for their professional activity. In this context, questionnaires were applied to students enrolled in the curricular unit of the business simulation project I of the academic year 2020/21 to understand their perception of the adequacy of the skills acquired in the educational context to the labour market.
The results were consistent with previous studies, indicating that students appreciate this teaching methodology in that they find it more effective than traditional methods. Students may apply previously acquired knowledge while still learning new skills and competencies, such as teamwork, through this more realistic approach.
Keywords: Job market, Digital transformation, Accountant, Business simulation, Experiential learning, Higher education.