International Accounting Education: An Australian Perspective
For the past two decades, accounting educators and professional bodies have made calls for internationalizing the accounting curriculum (AAA 1986; AECC 1990; AACSB 1994; IFAC 2002). The International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) has established international accounting standards for worldwide application. In Australia, the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) is working towards the full implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for financial years commencing on or after 1 January 2005 (e-GAAP 2003). Accordingly, most Australian reporting entities will be reporting in accordance with the converged standards for 30 June 2006 with comparative information required for 30 June 2005 (e-GAAP 2003). The European Union (EU) has also passed a ruling that all EU public listed companies should prepare their accounts in line with International Accounting Standards by 2005 (EU 2002). The increasing importance of all these internationalizing activities is raising the demand for accountants with international knowledge and skills, and thus raising the demand for internationalizing accounting education globally.
The primary purpose of this paper is to examine the extent of internationalizing the accounting curriculum at Australian universities, at both the postgraduate and undergraduate levels, by obtaining opinions of educators regarding international accounting education. Specifically, the study focuses on the following; the approaches utilized in internationalizing the accounting curriculum; the state of separate international accounting courses; the perceived relative importance of international accounting topics to be integrated in the financial accounting curriculum; the reasons preventing the internationalizing of the accounting curriculum; and the expected future demand for international accounting education.
The findings will benefit universities currently involved in internationalizing their accounting curriculum, as well as those planning to internationalize their curriculums. This study will assist professional associations and other agencies involved in curriculum planning and setting accreditation guidelines. Publishers and authors, when internationalizing accounting textbooks, will benefit by reviewing the topics considered important.
Keywords: International Accounting Education, Curriculum, International Accounting Standards, Integration
Associate Lecturer, The University of Sydney
Professor Roger Juchau
Professor, University of Western Sydney