تجزیه و تحلیل عوامل در اجزای دانش و مهارت آموزش حسابداری: مورد چینی
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Advances in Accounting, Volume 24, Issue 1, June 2008, Pages 110–118
Accounting education reform is being called upon by the profession and business communities in many countries under new business environment with high-tech production, economic globalization and intensified market competition. This study, by applying the factor analysis research method, has empirically-developed 6 latent constructs about the desirable knowledge and skill components that should be emphasized in accounting education in order to meet the challenges stemming from the changing business environment, i.e., business/management skills, business/management knowledge, core accounting knowledge, personal characteristics, general knowledge, and basic techniques. The structural order of, or the interrelationship among, these six dimensions of the knowledge and skill requirements in accounting education is also elaborated based on the analysis of factor loading results. The findings of this study should assist various groups of stakeholder (e.g., accounting practitioners, educators and students) to gain a better understanding of needed changes in accounting education and provide input for redesigning accounting curriculum to promote a smooth progress of accounting education reform in China and other countries.
Accounting education reform has been called upon continuously by accounting practitioners and business communities over the last two decades. In the western countries, several studies and reports have identified the problems of the traditional accounting education programs that overemphasize training students for professional qualification examinations even at the expense of broader knowledge base and professional skills in accounting education (Barsky et al., 2003, Cummings et al., 2001, Gibbin, 2002, Kimmel, 1995 and Sundem, 1992). Serious criticisms from the accounting profession and practitioners, along with rapid growth of high-tech production, economic globalization and intensified competition in the business world, have prompted accounting educators in the US and other countries to pursue accounting education reform in recent years (Burnett, 2003, Forristal, 2002, Howieson, 2003, Lux, 2000, Montano et al., 2001 and Taylor and Rudnick, 2005). A few studies sponsored by the professional and academic bodies in the US have outlined what must be changed or what should be the needed knowledge and skill components in accounting education under the new business environment, such as broadening the knowledge base and fostering professional skills in accounting education. In particular, a joint study project sponsored by 4 major accounting bodies and the ‘Big 5’ accounting firms in 2000 summarizes the perceptions of various stakeholders and draws a blueprint of new accounting education (Albrecht & Sack, 2000). A long list of knowledge subjects and skills has been identified as a reference for the desirable changes in accounting education (Ainsworth, 2001, Albrecht et al., 2000, Aly and Islam, 2003 and Francisco and Kelly, 2002). Consensus is emerging among accounting practitioners and academics in recent years on the need for expanding knowledge base and skill development in accounting education. Nonetheless there is a lack of consistent or structured views on what should be the required knowledge and skills for accounting students, although many advocates have put forward a large number of the knowledge and subject skills as the components for accounting education at the present time. Aiming at concept generalization and data reduction to capture the key components of needed skill and knowledge requirements for accounting education, this study applies the factor analysis research method to develop the latent constructs underlying those knowledge and skill items that have now been generally accepted by various stakeholders of accounting education in many countries. It is argued that the establishment of less number of cognitive constructs will promote consensus on the needed skills and knowledge base that must be fostered in accounting education in general. Through factor extraction from 37 knowledge and skill items (variables) derived from prior studies in the literature, we obtained 6 inherent constructs, i.e., business/management skills, business/management knowledge, core accounting knowledge, personal characteristics, general knowledge and basic techniques. We believe that these constructs can better reflect the structured components, as well as their priority or interrelationship, for new accounting education programs that can meet the challenges in the changing business environment in many countries. These cognitive constructs should benefit various groups of stakeholder to form a more structured view towards the changes that must be adopted in the present course of accounting education reform in China and other countries, and they can also assist accounting educators to more effectively redevelop accounting curriculum and pedagogy in order to promote a smooth growth of accounting education reform.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Through factor analysis of the data collected from a questionnaire survey (e.g., 37 knowledge and skill variables), this study has empirically generalized six latent constructs, as well as their interrelationship in accounting education that are perceived as necessary and significant knowledge and skill requirements by accounting practitioners, educators and students in China. These constructs reflect the important components of accounting education programs that could meet the challenges stemmed from the changing economic or business environment. They can help to more clearly summarize the needed knowledge and skill components of new accounting education programs. As an overhaul of the existing accounting education programs is imperative, emphases should, at present, be placed upon the training of accounting students of business/management skills, business/management knowledge, core accounting knowledge, personal characteristics, general knowledge and basic techniques. Results of the factor analysis empirically confirm the two study propositions set out in this study, i.e., under the new business environment with increasing economic globalization and high-tech production and operation, the traditional accounting education models that had overemphasized the delivery of specialized accounting knowledge must be revamped. In fact, new accounting education programs should be expanded substantially to include a broad set of skill and knowledge requirements. In particular, increasing the training of business/management skills should be a high priority in accounting education. Since accountants are now no longer limited to keep accounts and preparing financial statements, they should be more actively involved in the process of management decision-making. Hence accountants should possess multiple skills to deal with varied demands for information processing and analysis contextual to rapidly changed business environment, including good interpersonal relationship, leadership skill, entrepreneurship spirit, effective resource processing, negotiation and business promotion, project management, and analytical ability. Under today's business environment, accounting roles have been expanded dramatically and the requirements for multiple skills arise accordingly. It is thus necessary and imperative to emphasize the training of those business/management skills for accounting students. As a result, we can predict that developing and applying business/management skills will become a primary objective of accounting education. For the needed knowledge components, business/management knowledge should be emphasized in addition to the delivery of specialized accounting knowledge. It is interesting to note, in the view of the respondents, the business/management knowledge is even more important than the traditional core accounting knowledge in accounting education. A possible explanation is that under today's new business environment, accountants cannot simply handle recordkeeping and financial reporting. They must be able to provide data and analysis for various kinds of business or management decision-making. Professional accountants must be well equipped with broad knowledge on business/management subjects in order to provide value-added services and assistance for business management. Therefore, accounting students should not just study accounting knowledge and they must learn more business/management knowledge to understand the business environment in which accounting operates. Without sufficient business or management knowledge, accountants can't perform their jobs effectively and efficiently under today's faster-than-ever changing business environment. Various stakeholders have realized that accounting education cannot concentrate only on the delivery of accounting knowledge. In particular, the respondents in our survey agreed that it should now emphasize the importance of business/management knowledge in accounting education, even on top of the traditional accounting curriculum. Furthermore, general knowledge beyond business/management and accounting subjects (e.g., the knowledge about humanities and sciences) and a series of personal-based characteristics (personal skills) and basic techniques (e.g., foreign language and computer technology) should be emphasized in accounting education under new business environment, in order to prepare accounting graduates to more effectively grasp and apply relevant business/management and accounting skills and knowledge when they are entering workplace. It is argued that the knowledge base should be further expanded in accounting education. In addition to business/management and core accounting subjects, accounting students should build up a strong knowledge base on the fields of humanities and sciences. Particularly, with a rapid advance in technology and ‘information exploration’, integration of knowledge of various disciplines has become obvious or the inter-reaction of cross-discipline knowledge has played an increasingly significant role in learning and application process. Accounting education should move toward ‘general education’ or ‘comprehensive study’ approach to broaden accounting students' mindset and knowledge base and enable them to become life-long learners and continuingly upgrade their knowledge to meet the challenges stemming from the changing business environment. Although the findings of this study are derived from data collected from China, the study results should have positive theoretical and practical implications on current accounting education reform in other countries. In particular, this study applies relatively rigorous factor analysis research method to develop six latent constructs about the desirable knowledge and skill components of accounting education, thus achieving the purpose of concept summarization and data reduction in order to facilitate the comprehension of needed changes in accounting education. We have not only extracted the six constructs from a relatively large number of knowledge and skill items for new accounting programs as generally advocated or proposed by different accounting practitioners and scholars in the industrialized countries, but also identified the priority order or the interrelationships among the six components of accounting education. These empirically-developed cognitive constructs should be applicable to accounting education in general. Particularly under in today's changing business environment with growing economic integration and market globalization, the basic requirements for professional accountants should be applicable to various countries, so as the general knowledge and skill components for accounting education. Even though accounting education in different countries may serve some different needs, there are some basic requirements in common. The study results should not only benefit various groups of stakeholders in different countries to better understand the objectives and requirements of accounting education under the faster-changing business environment, but also assist accounting educators to more appropriately redesign new accounting curriculum and pedagogy and more effectively educate accounting students with the needed skills and knowledge subjects. As with most studies, there are certain limitations with this study. Especially the variables used in the factor analysis or factor extraction were restricted to those knowledge and skill items derived from relevant prior studies in the literature, Albrecht and Sack (2000) and Francisco and Kelly (2002) in particular. Although we assume the US experience of accounting education reform is relevant to emerging economies, they may have certain specific features or needs in accounting education in China. Thus comparative studies in the context of varied developments in technology and economic growth in the US and China could be carried out in the future. In addition, as discussed in the previous section, the results of our factor analysis or construct development may not fully reflect the knowledge and skill components that are needed for developing new accounting education programs. For instance, the general knowledge construct includes only three subjects on economics and technology topics, and the construct of basic techniques limits to foreign language and computer techniques, which may have not fully reflected the requirements of other general knowledge and basic skills for accounting students. Future, studies could be carried out to include a wider range of knowledge and skill items (variables) to develop more conclusive constructs to enrich the understanding, and to facilitate the adoption of, the required knowledge and skill components in accounting education in terms of the changes in business environment. In addition, factor analysis based on samples from other countries with varied levels of economic development and different cultural settings can be conducted to generate wider implications on accounting education reforms around the world.