The Importance of Critical Thinking Skills in Accounting Education

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AC550 - Critical Perspectives in Accounting Individual Critical Research Paper

Lecturer: Mary Canning

2012
Gillian Bane
58043884
4/20/2012
AC550 - Critical Perspectives in Accounting Individual Critical Research Paper

Lecturer: Mary Canning

2012
Gillian Bane
58043884
4/20/2012

Contents

Critical Research Paper……………………………………………………………………………2

- Chosen Topic……………………………….……………………………………………….2
- Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………3 - Critical Thinking- Definitions and Importance………………………………4 - Accounting Education- Its Current State and Criticisms……………….5 - Incorporating Critical Thinking Skills into Accounting Syllabi- Examples and Challenges………………………………………………….7 - The Future of Accounting Education – A Critical Discussion……….11 - Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………….12

Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………………………..13

Declaration……………………………………………………………………………………………16

Topic 4

In 1991, Power accused accounting syllabi as being swamped by regulatory pronouncements at the expense of critical and reflective skills. In 2011, this accusation is even more relevant as we face the issuance of further lengthy accounting standards and regulations dealing with complex accounting issues. Critically discuss this accusation in light of your understanding of accounting education.

Introduction
In 1991, when Power made such accusations about current accounting syllabi, he was reiterating concerns articulated by Zeff (1979, cited in Power 1991). Zeff maintained for many years that accounting syllabi had been swamped by regulatory pronouncements at the expense of critical and reflective skills. Yet as over three decades have passed, one would assume that such a significant issue would undoubtedly have been addressed, and corresponding reform would have materialised. Yet in 2012, this is far from the case. The financial scandals that have dominated the 21st century and the complex accounting standards/regulation that have emanated from such events, have only reignited these concerns. Thus the issue has never been so topical or imperative to the accounting profession.

The development of critical and reflective skills is considered to be essential for future accountants and this is evident in calls to reform accounting education to incorporate such skills. Literature encompassing this area can be categorised broadly into the pre and post Enron environment. One argument that emerges from the latter category is that if the parties involved in such corporate collapses/scandals had thought more critically, then perhaps these events could have been detected earlier, or even avoided (Hurt 2007). One must question whether the corresponding growth of complex accounting standards and regulation to deal with such problems is the most appropriate way forward. Should the spotlight not be shone on accounting education? Yet despite these calls for reform, which stretch back to the 1970’s, the present accounting education still fails to adequately incorporate these skills. Which leads us to question what the best methods to incorporate such thinking are, and why have they not been implemented?

In setting out this critical research paper, one must first define what critical and reflective skills are, and establish their importance. Following this, the current state of education will be examined, in particular the criticisms it faces. The most effective way to implement these skills will then be addressed and along with any related problems that arise. The paper will finish with a critical discussion of the future of this topic before concluding on a final note.

Critical Thinking- Definitions and Importance
Critical thinking is a rational response to questions that cannot be answered definitively and for which all the relevant information may not be available. It is an investigation whose purpose is to explore a situation,...
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