Accountancy Skills Discussion Paper
In 1989, the managing partners of each of (what was then) the Big 8 accounting firms issued a manuscript titled Perspectives on Education: Capabilities for Success in the Accounting Profession. This quickly became known as the “Big 8 White Paper.” The white paper was intended to respond to a recent paper issued by the AICPA with respect to the educational requirements of the accounting profession. The leadership of the largest firms (and many smaller firms) felt that the AICPA’s paper overemphasized technical accounting content and felt that technical knowledge was (1) no longer enough and (2) perhaps, in certain circumstances, not even the primary driver of success in the accounting profession. As a result, they issued the white paper to focus attention on some of the other important skills required in a successful accounting career.
Since 1989, firms of all sizes have leveled the same continuing complaints about students graduating from accounting programs – they tend to lack one or more of the skills mentioned in the white paper. This is as true at SDSU as at any other school. The Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy has built into its curriculum a 3-unit course (ACCTG 390W) that is designed to both (a) identify a student’s weaknesses in certain skills and (2) provide opportunities for the student to improve. However, one class will not be enough for most students to achieve the levels of these skills that are valued by our recruiting firms. As a result, students should (or perhaps must) find ways to engage in, practice, and improve these skills outside the classroom.
In addition to this course, please provide an explanation as to how you personally intend to improve your communication, intellectual and interpersonal skills between now and the time you graduate from our program. The white paper provides details of what the skills represent for accountants.
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