Mind the Gap: bridging theory and practice in Accountancy Education and Training

Gough, A.Martin and Hoskin, Keith and Anderson, Fiona and Chatterjee, Papiya and Lucas, Ursula and Bates, Ken (2004) Mind the Gap: bridging theory and practice in Accountancy Education and Training. In: XXVI Annual Conference of the European Accounting Association , 2-4 April 2003, Seville. (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

This paper builds on ongoing work into the changing nature of accountancy work and training. We argue that there has been a transitive shift in both accountancy work and training because there has been an underlying shift in the nature of accounting knowledge. That knowledge has become increasingly ‘transdisciplinary’. In other words, there is still a technical ‘disciplinary core’ of accounting knowledge, which may vary slightly country by country in terms of how it is defined and labelled, but always involves an understanding of financial accounts and their relation to management, business and the law. But having this ‘core’ is no longer sufficient for undertaking successful accountancy work. This shift from a simple disciplinary model of accounting to a transdisciplinary one has significant implications for the professional identity of ‘the accountant’, and for accountancy education and training. The shift to a transdisciplinary expertise at the individual level re-makes the successful accountant as the specialist-plus, e.g. as the independent advisor faced with the difficulty of having just the right amount of empathy with the client. At the level of the firm, it poses new problems of how to construct effective transdisciplinary teams and how to manage the set of such teams, at the level of the office and the firm as a whole. In the case of the large transnational firms, this kind of problem poses a new level of complexity in terms both of coordination and regulation. This paper presents an initial analysis of observational research which is part of an ongoing action research project designed to profile the wisdom of practice of accountants in accountancy firms. It is used to inform the development of our previous theoretical work by further exploring the possibilities for integrative learning via changes in the infrastructure of the learning environment in its widest sense. We present expertise as lived experience and engagement at the everyday level with problems and tasks via practices and knowledge that have become ‘second-nature’. This facilitates our analysis of the ways in which the historical and conceptual separations of theory and practice can begin to be unravelled, understood as ‘integrated’, and re-worked. We argue that interventions based on re-worked understandings of the relations between expert, theory and practice must be central to any actions taken to change education and training systems aiming to improve, amongst other things, the ethicality of accountants in this post-Enron, transdisciplinary world.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Projects: [144] Between workplace and qualification: engineering integrative learning
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Faculties > University wide - Teaching/Research Groups > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Depositing User: Martin Gough
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2010 14:48
Last Modified: 21 May 2011 23:48
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/25315 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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