In recent decades, accounting education has been criticised for failing to provide graduates with necessary skills applied in the workforce. Such skills are demonstrated not only specialist knowledge, but also generic and professional skills for employment. As the increasing number of accounting graduates leads to an intensely competitive environment, broader range of generic and professional skills are required by employers. Since I have begun to study accounting for several years, I realised those skills had been developed to focus on solving varieties of practical challenges rather than only accounting problems. Yorke (2006, cited in Crawford, 2011, p.117) stated graduates equipped with such integrative competence are more likely to be employed and to be qualified for their occupations, which is beneficial to themselves, the workforce and community. This reflective statement will explore the generic and professional skills in the area of financial accounting, and will identify the learning outcomes which assisted me in achieving these important skills from previous studies. Generic and Professional Skills
The context of international business markets have resulted in the changing role of accountants who are striving to create effective value for their employers. Jackling and Lange (2009, p.371) mentioned ‘New global business models and the digital age have shifted expectations of the work of accountants’. Thus, universities have attempted to link generic and professional skills into undergraduate accounting courses in order to develop educational excellence and deliver graduates with intellectual capacity for job success and social contribution. These skills desired by employers could be generally summarized as problem-solving skill, communication skill, analytical skill, IT application skill, and teamwork skill. First, problem-solving skill is a fundamental element of accounting which is built by improving statistical capacity and applying statistical concepts. It is about using logic and creativity to assess various situations and come up with intelligent solutions. Stoner and Milner (2010) identified such skill could be regarded as an aspect of learning-to-learn skills which are concerned with graduates’ ability for learning management, involving views on the nature of disciplines, positive attitudes towards learning responsibility, and savvy to complexities. Second, communication skill is vital to understanding interaction between the providers and recipients of information. Gathering, processing and expressing information are the importance of accounting. Zaid and Abraham (1994) examined communication could be difficult between accountants and non-accountants because those who are unfamiliar with accounting knowledge might be likely to perceive unintended meanings. Consequently, accountants need to interpret the language of data and numbers into understandable information to serve the decision makers. Communication skill could consist of oral speaking, writing, listening, and interpersonal intelligence. Third, analytical skill is useful for visualising and articulating complicated or uncomplicated problems to make accurate decisions based on available sources. Ballantine and Larres (2009) stated analytical skill is not subject specific, but is alternatively known as soft skill. Employers are seeking accounting graduates with critical thinking who are able to quickly and comprehensively recognise and evaluate the most essential and relevant information for financial statements and reports. Employees who are adept at overcoming obstacles of an organisation by analysing strengths and weaknesses would also simplify the complex chains of command. Fourth, IT application skill is increasingly significant within the portfolio of generic and professional skills, and is largely demanded by employers. Stoner (2009) defined IT application skill contains the use of computer, spreadsheet and...
References:  Ballantine, J. and Larres, P. M. (2009). Accounting undergraduates’ perceptions of cooperative learning as a model for enhancing their interpersonal and communication skills to interface successfully with professional accountancy education and training. Accounting Education: An International Journal 18 (4-5), pp.387-402.
 Ballantine, J. and Larres P. M. (2007). Final year accounting undergraduates’ attitudes to group assessment and the role of learning logs. Accounting Education: An International Journal 16 (2), pp.163-183.
 Crawford, L., Helliar, C. and Monk, E. A. (2011). Generic skills in audit education. Accounting Education: An International Journal 20 (2), pp.115-131.
 International Federal of Accountants. (2008). International education standard 3: professional skills and general education. Available at: http://www.ifac.org (Accessed: 17 October 2013)
 Jackling, B. and Lange, P. D. (2009). Do accounting graduates’ skills meet the expectations of employers? a matter of convergence or divergence. Accounting Education: An International Journal 18 (4-5), pp.369-385.
 Stoner, G. (2009). Accounting students’ IT application skills over a 10-year period. Accounting Education: An International Journal 18 (1), pp.7-31.
 Stoner, G. and Milner, M. (2010). Embedding generic employability skills in an accounting degree: development and impediments. Accounting Education: An International Journal 19 (1-2), pp.123-138.
 Zaid, O. A. and Abraham, A. (1994). Communication skills in accounting education: perceptions of academics, employers and graduate accountants. Accounting Education: An International Journal 3 (3), pp.205-221
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