This unit is structured as a participation subject as part of the PACE program and as Capstone unit. It integrates the materials that are covered in first and second year accounting and business law units, applying this material to an environment where accounting graduates become a professional in an environment that is contemporary, global and technologically driven.
The objectives of the unit are to consolidate and investigate the factors and contextual issues that influence the competitive business environment for an accountant. It addresses the role of an accounting professional in the application of governance structures, accountability regimes, professional development, skill enhancements, and a continuous awareness of self-positioning and self-renewal in terms of professional and personal competency. The unit is not only reflective and integrative, but also future-focused, offering opportunities for ‘real world’ preparatory experience in the accounting profession. The class is conducted through workshops and discussions where students learn to develop personal and professional skills in sustaining a professional profile in business and the profession.
The unit provides opportunities for students to engage with the community through panels from professional accounting bodies, community groups, NGO’s, MQ alumni, public sector and commercial organisations, and others. The unit requires students to interact with the industry partners in order to complete a major research project under the supervision of a faculty member. The project includes topics that are valued by industry partners and are mutually beneficial to both Macquarie University students and industry partners. While the project attempts to bridge the gap between students and the accounting profession, it also provides an opportunity for students to clarify and refine their understanding of the accounting profession through discussion with industry partners and peers. Group work engages students in the challenges of interpersonal communication, task allocation, coordination and control. Cohesive and systematic presentations from a range of industry partners also provide students an opportunity to think critically about the accounting profession. Through these presentations students will gain an insight into organisations and be able to contextualise their graduate capabilities into the main project. By reflecting on industry partners’ presentations students will be able to identify what they have learned about the accounting profession and how they have learned. This will result in a greater sense of ownership which, in return, will help students to develop valuable career and leadership skills, improve their job prospects and make a difference to business and the community for which they work. Further, students are exposed to case studies which present realistic, complex, and contextually rich situations and involve dilemmas, conflicts, and/or problems accountants face in the profession, which will allow students to understand emergent issues for the accounting professionals.
The unit comprises 13 x 3 hour seminars that include lectures, presentations by industry partners, students’ presentations, discussions and a feedback session. The components of the unit are structured as follows:
Introduction/Orientation: One 3 hour seminar to provide students with strong orientation to the University expectations and academic requirements for this PACE unit and addresses pragmatic concerns (group formation, communication and other logistical requirements). The first seminar includes a session on “Skills Audit”. This session uses QUT’s Self Understanding Module along with other skills audit activities that are available. This is embedded in the iLearn for ACCG315 and also includes a workbook that students need to print and fill in as part of the audit. The objective of this session is to make students rate themselves on a variety of key employability skills and also find evidence to support their ratings. (Skills include: Creativity and Innovation, Relationship Building, Problem Solving, Technology, Communication, Teamwork, Planning & Organising, Research). In order to give this skills audit context within the framework of the course structure, each industry partner will discuss 3 to 5 skills they feel are essential for the accountants to possess. Further, the first seminar also includes a session on “Personality Profiling/Career Matching” tools. Students are required to do a short online personality assessment: http://www.preludecharacteranalysis.com/explore/yourself and are given a personality type. With each personality type they are then given more details about the character traits of this personality type, career options they may be more suited to, their likely behaviour in the workplace.
The experience: Students are required to complete a session long “Accounting Profession” project. The project expects that students identify information needs, acquire the necessary information by consulting the information provided by industry participants, interpret the information and use it as the basis for recommendations. In order to complete this project students are required to attend five 3 hour seminars presented by industry partners including: professional accounting bodies; Big4 accounting firms; Commercial, financial and manufacturing firms; NFP; public sector and SMEs. The presentations from industry partners will help students become familiar (from multiple perspectives and viewpoints) with regulatory, cultural, technological and business environment issues that affect accounting and the accounting profession.
Assessment tasks: Knowledge and understanding are assessed by a mixture of assignments and presentations. The assessments include weekly individual reflective journals, essay and a group project report with an oral presentation. Oral presentations will take place in four 4 hour seminars judged by a panel comprising industry partners and academics.
Final Wrap-up/Debrief: One 3 hour seminar to review conclusions from the projects and evaluate findings. Industry partners will provide feedback on the students’ findings. This seminar will also provide an opportunity for students to network with industry partners and discuss around a specific and current accounting themes, which will further their understanding of the actual work context of their studies and enhance their skills. This seminar will also give an opportunity to network with students who can help tackle challenging projects. Through this seminar industry partners will also gain recognition for involvement in education, collaborate with academics, develop new networks with other organisations and gain access to potential future graduates.
EXPECTATIONS AND WORKLOAD
Students are expected to spend 150 hours working on this unit.
There is no prescribed text for this unit. Students will be provided the following supplementary reading (Web links of these readings will be uploaded on the unit web):
· A Changing Profession? - Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
· Developments in the global accountancy sector - Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
· The diverse roles of professional accountants in business - International Federation of Accountants
Other journals and publications of interest include the following:
Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Accounting, Organisation and Society
Journal of Management Accounting Research
Management Accounting Research
Higher Education Research and Development
Journal of Accounting Education
Accounting Education: An International Journal
Journal of Business Research
Harvard Business Review
Journal of Change Management
Journal of Organisational Change
Academy of Management Journal
Managerial Auditing Journal
Australian Financial Review
Business Review Weekly
Financial Management Magazine (Published by CIMA UK)
INTHEBLACK (Published by CPA Australia)
Charter Magazine (Published by ICAA Australia)
TECHNOLOGY USED AND REQUIRED
The principal technology used in this unit comprises web based access to resource materials (see above) and the learning management system called ‘iLearn’.
Regular access to iLearn is strongly encouraged so that you have access to:
o Resources developed for each class
o Additional recommended reading and research resources
o Additional information regarding assessment items that may be required
o Any new information that may arise in relation to contingencies – including in relation to any changes in dates, timetables or class details
o iLearn communication and discussion tools as an effective means to enhance learning for all students and staff.
UNIT WEB PAGE
The unit’s logon iLearn address is: http://ilearn.mq.edu.au
To log on, students must first obtain a log on password from IT services or the library then click through to ACCG315. Students are required to check this site each week for lectures/industry partners slides (available for downloading and printing). In addition, other notes will be posted on the site from time to time. It is incumbent upon each student to regularly check iLearn (i.e. at least once a week).
PREPARATION FOR SEMINARS
It is essential that you prepare for each seminar by reading all materials and references carefully. This will include working through the relevant presentation notes of the industry partner carefully, noting any issues which you might like to discuss in-class and, of course, contributing to in-class discussions and overall ‘group learning’.
You may download additional relevant class materials required each week from iLearn – login at https://ilearn.mq.edu.au/login/MQ/. Additional class materials will be placed on iLearn prior to class time. It is your responsibility to ensure that you access and have copies of relevant material prior to classes. You should allow time for thorough reading of all materials before each class.