Employers Perspective of Accounting Graduate IT Skills Required

  1. CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION – Employers Perspective of Accounting Graduate IT Skills Required
    1. Introduction

In the current business environment, managers and employers seek to improve their human resources in order to improve the performance levels of their organizations. As a result, employees and managers recruit employees with the required skills, experience and knowledge. Basically, employees play a very important role in determining organizational performance and their performance is determined by the quality of skills and knowledge they possess (Rosa and Hakim 2016). In accounting, employees are not exception as they are expected to possess the required information technology skills and knowledge to meet the desires and expectations of their managers and employers. Employers Perspective of Accounting Graduate IT Skills Required.

Most managers invest heavily on innovation and employee training on information technology to ensure that their employees have a wide range of skills and knowledge to address the prevailing challenges as well as introducing new innovations in their organizations. However, accounting employers and managers find that university programs do not adequately offer graduates with the required information technology skills to narrow the knowledge gap in education institutions (Shamsuddin, Ibrahim and Ghazali 2015; Mazuki, Rizal and Chong 2007; Marriott and Marriott 2003). Due to this knowledge gap, a large number of accounting graduates are employed in areas which are far from their expectations. Employers Perspective of Accounting Graduate IT Skills Required.

The employability of graduates in accounting positions and their performance levels depends on the fit of their acquired information technology skills as well as the skills required by their job positions. According to Jackling and Lange (2009) the mismatch between the acquired and demanded information technology skills in the accounting field contribute to negative perceptions of employers of accounting graduate skills resulting to demotivation and low employment rate in the field. Employers Perspective of Accounting Graduate IT Skills Required.

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From the perspective of employers, accounting graduate employees should have information technology skills but educators offer their students with generic skills more than technical skills. Therefore, the study findings answered the research questions and achieved the research objectives. Employers Perspective of Accounting Graduate IT Skills Required.

The study findings supported the focal theory that there are expectation and performance gaps in the accounting profession and hence fresh graduates are not well prepared to take up accounting positions in organizations. Accounting graduates in Australia are found to be not adequately prepared in informational technology skills despite that the roles of accountants have significantly changed as a result of technological advancements. Employers Perspective of Accounting Graduate IT Skills Required.

  • Recommendations

The findings in this study indicated that information technology skills have higher importance level as compared to generic skills in accounting profession. Therefore, the research findings in this study coupled with previous findings suggest the accounting curricula to be restructured to accommodate information technology. It is therefore recommended that education institutions offering accounting courses in Australia should offer information technology courses to impart students with the required skills which would increase their employability in the job market. Additionally, the future studies should employ mixed research methods whereby both qualitative and quantitative data is gathered and analysed. In this study only quantitative data was collected and analysed and hence some relevant qualitative data may have been left out which would influence the research findings and hence conclusions made. Employers Perspective of Accounting Graduate IT Skills Required. 


Abayadeera, Nadana. and Watty, Kim. 2014. ‘The expectation-performance gap in generic skills in accounting graduates: Evidence from Sri Lanka.’ Asian Review of Accounting 22(1), 56-72

Blanthorne, Cindy., Kovar, Stacy. and Fisher, Dann. 2007. ‘Accounting educators’ opinions about ethics in the curriculum: An extensive view.’ Issues in Accounting Education 22(3), 355-390.

Bui, Binh. and Porter, Brenda. 2010. ‘The expectation-performance gap in accounting education: An exploratory study.’ Accounting Education 19(1/2), 23-50

Chaker, Mohammed. and Abdullah, Tengku. 2012. ‘What accountancy skills are acquired at college.’ International Journal of Business and Social Science 2, 18.

Jackling, Beverley. and Lange, Paul. 2009. ‘Do accounting graduates’ skills meet the expectations of employers? A matter of convergence or divergence.’ Accounting Education 18(4/5), 369-385

Jackling, Beverley. and Watty, Kim. 2010. ‘Generic skills.’ Accounting Education 19(1/2), 1-3

Jones, Ann. 2010. ‘Generic attributes in accounting: the significance of the disciplinary context.’ Accounting Education 19(1), 5-21

Jones, Greg. and Abraham, Anne. 2009. ‘The value of incorporating emotional intelligence skills in the education of accounting students.’ Australasian Accounting Business and Finance Journal 3(2), 4

Kavanagh, Marie. and Drennan, Lyndal. 2008. ‘What skills and attributes does an accounting graduate need? Evidence from student perceptions and employer expectations.’ Accounting & Finance 48(2), 279-300

Klibi, Mohamed. and Oussii, Ahmed. 2013. ‘Skills and attributes needed for success in accounting career: Do employers’ expectations fit with students’ perceptions? Evidence from Tunisia.’ International Journal of Business and Management 8(8), 118-133

Lin, Jun., Xiong, Xiaoyan. and Liu, Min. 2005. ‘Knowledge base and skill development in accounting education: Evidence from China.’  Journal of Accounting Education 23(3), 149-169

Marcyk, Geoffrey., DeMatteo, David. and Festinger, David. 2005. Essentials of research design and methodology. New York: Wiley

Marriott, Pru. and Marriott, Neil. 2003. ‘Are we turning them on? A longitudinal study of undergraduate accounting students’ attitudes towards accounting as a profession.’ Accounting Education 12(2), 113-133

Mary, Low., Vida, Botes., David, Dela. and Jackie, Allen. 2016. ‘Accounting employers’ expectations: The ideal accounting graduates.’ E-Journal of Business Education and Scholarship Teaching 2(1), 3-10

Mazuki, Jusoh., Rizal, Mohd. and Chong, Siong-Chong. 2007. ‘Employers’ preference and assessment of the qualities of fresh business graduates: empirical evidence from Malaysia.’ International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development 4(3), 316-336

Mitchell, Mark. and Jolley, Janina. 2012. Research design explained. London: Cengage Learning

Riemer, Frances., Lapan, Stephen. and Quartaroli, MaryLynn. 2012. Qualitative research: An introduction to methods and designs. London: Wiley

Rosa, Rima. and Hakim, Chaar. 2016. ‘Are accounting graduates prepared for their careers? A comparison of employees’ and employers’ perceptions.’ Global Review of Accounting and Finance 7(2), 1-17

Shamsuddin, Amanuddin., Ibrahim, Mohamda. and Ghazali, Mohd. 2015. ‘Employers’ level of satisfaction towards accounting graduates.’ South East Asia Journal of Contemporary Business, Economics and Law 7(1), 22-32

Tanaka, Seedwell. and Sithole, Muyako. 2015. ‘Quality in accounting graduates: Employer expectations of the graduate skills in the bachelor of accounting degree.’ European Scientific Journal 11(22), 165-177


Questionnaire Sample

Section 1: Demographic Information

  1. What is your gender?                   Male              Female
  2. What is your age bracket?

Below 20 years

20-30 years

31-40 years

41-50 years

Over 51 years

  • What is your marital status?






  • What is the highest educational level you have attained?

Under Form 5



Bachelor Degree

Master Degree or Higher

  • How many years of accounting practitioner experience do you have?

Below 12 months

1-3 Years

4-6 Years

Over 7 Years

  • Do you have certified accounting education at any level (such as CPA, CA, CIMA, ICMAP etc)?



Section 2: Skills Required

Rate the following skills that you expect of students to acquire in accounting education for their career development.

Kindly tick appropriately (1= Strongly Disagree, 2= Disagree, 3= Neutral, 4= Agree, 5= Strongly Agree)

No. Skills that must be acquired in education by students for accounting career development 1 2 3 4 5
  Risk analysis             
  Critical thinking           
  Problem solving and decision making           
  Thinking and behaving ethically           
  Information technology          
  Information systems planning and strategy          
  Communications software          

Section C: Performance Gap

State the skills competence level that is expected from a student to possess for employment at the time of certification

Kindly tick appropriately (1= Strongly Disagree, 2= Disagree, 3= Neutral, 4= Agree, 5= Strongly Agree)

No. Skills competence level required to get employment at entry level 1 2 3 4 5
  Risk analysis             
  Critical thinking           
  Problem solving and decision making           
  Thinking and behaving ethically           
  Information technology          
  Information systems planning and strategy          
  Communications software