University of Gdansk (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 5473-5481
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1429
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Nowadays, highly qualified staff is one of the decisive competitive-advantage factors for the market players. Employee knowledge and skills make it possible to effectively use the company’s resources, enhance its innovativeness and perform effective management. For these reasons, employers seek people with such competencies that ensure the realization of the company’s goals both in a short-term and a long-term perspective. Hence, the knowledge of accounting, finance and management as well as the skills in preparing and analyzing financial reports, all supported by practical abilities to operate IT systems, accounting and integrated software inclusively, being the key competencies gained in the course of education. This implicitly results from the growing role of accounting and finance specialists, who, in the constantly changing environment, are perceived as directly involved in the processes of management.

The article analyses the first part of the outcomes of a survey research titled ‘The competencies required form the candidates for accounting specialists, in the opinion of the ‘Finance and Accounting’ students’. The results come from the students realizing expanded university programmes in finance and accounting at the Faculty of Management at the University of Gdansk in Poland.

The survey was aimed at answering the following questions:
1) what are, in the opinion of the students of ‘Finance and Accounting’, the professional competencies required by the employers recruiting specialists in accounting;
2) whether graduating from ‘Finance and Accounting’ provides the alumni with an opportunity to gain the competencies allowing for better professional development,
3) whether professional experience, along with professional competencies, is a vital aspect for the employers recruiting accounting specialists.

The scientific observation was carried out by the means of a questionnaire, which was addressed to the full-time and the part-time undergraduate students of the ‘Accounting’ and the ‘Statutory Auditor’ specializations at the Faculty of Management at the University of Gdansk. We achieved a response rate of 81.9%, i.e. 139 correctly filled out questionnaires.

The questionnaire was composed of 23 questions and tackled the following:
a) the personal issues concerning the interviewed person,
b) the issues concerning the professional, organizational and communicational skills and competencies as well as the personal qualities required by the employers in the accountancy specialist profession.

Statistical measures of location and dispersion were calculated in order to assess the usefulness of the professional skills and the competencies pointed out by the respondents.

We found out that, in the opinion of the students, being an accounting specialist requires such professional skills and competencies as knowledge of accounting (indicated by 99.3%, 138 of the interviewed), finance (81.9%) and taxes (97.1%). Additionally, 91.3% of the questioned students claimed that graduating with a finance and accounting major would let them obtain better jobs.

The research outcomes provide valuable information on the professional competencies a student choosing university studies with an expanded accounting program wants to gain. Such knowledge will allow the university to adjust the future educational offer to the expectations of those who envisage working as accounting specialists.
Students, professional accountants, professional competencies, skills, technical knowledge, University of Gdansk, Poland.