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Accounting Education and the Prerequisite Skills of Accounting Graduates: Are Accounting Firms’ Moving the Boundaries?

Australian Accounting Review

Published online on


The current requisite skills of accounting graduates guide the graduate attributes delivered by university learning outcomes. A recent trend by Australian accounting firms to outsource accounting services may impact on accounting graduates if entry‐level tasks normally completed by graduates are sent to offshore processing centres. This study examines the impact of the outsourcing of accounting services by Australian accounting firms and classifies the current requisite skills for accounting graduates identified by accounting firms. Following a review of the current academic literature, a positivist approach using empirical data is taken in this paper. The responses elicited from a survey questionnaire mailed to a random sample of Australian accounting firms provide information for the data analysis. One of the most widely outsourced services identified is the preparation of income tax returns, which has been identified as a key area where graduate accountants normally learn the basic skills required to phase them into the profession. Accounting firms that considered the outsourcing of accounting services would change the 12 ranked prerequisite skills for graduates presented in this paper in order of importance.