ABSTRACT

Professional organizations, accrediting bodies, and accounting educators have defined the competencies that accounting students need for entry-level success in public accounting. However, definitions of the competencies required by all accounting students for long-term career requirements are lacking, as is an understanding of how to develop these competencies within the accounting curriculum. In 2010 the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and the Management Accounting Section (MAS) of the American Accounting Association (AAA) formed a Task Force to address these issues and make curriculum recommendations for all accounting majors. This paper is a report of that Task Force. It is responsive to the recent call to “connect the accounting body of knowledge to a map of competencies” and to create “curricular models for the future” (Pathways Commission 2012, 37, 75), and it includes a literature review that spans the scope and focus of accounting education, the value proposition for accounting (i.e., specification as to how accountants today, working in a variety of settings, add organizational value), and the importance of competency integration. This review leads to four recommendations. First, accounting education should be oriented toward long-term career demands. Second, the focus of accounting education should include organizational settings beyond the current focus on public accounting/auditing. Third, educational objectives should reflect how accountants add organizational value. Fourth, these objectives should be developed as integrated competencies. These recommendations lead to the competency-based educational Framework presented in this paper. This Framework is intended to apply to a variety of career paths including, but not limited to, public accounting. The paper concludes with a call to accountants in all areas to participate in further development of the Framework.

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