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Media Release

August 4 2011

New book recommends getting real about accounting

New book urges accounting researchers and practitioners to collaborate.Academic researchers need to increase collaboration with practicing Accountants, if the Accountancy profession is to take advantage of the capacity of universities to solve the real world accounting problems of the future.

And in a move that embodies that spirit of collaboration, the University of South Australia’s Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability (CAGS) has collaborated with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia to produce a new publication that explores the gap between research and professional practice.

The publication, Bridging the Gap between Academic Accounting Research and Professional Practice, features views from a range of leading accountants and academics and explores what needs to change for the industry as a whole to benefit.

Co-editor, UniSA Professor Roger Burritt, Director of CAGS, believes accounting academics need to be rewarded for building a research base that is more closely aligned with real world problem solving and practice.

“We sometimes have the situation where university accounting academics are promoted largely on the basis of the academic quality of the journals and publications in which their work appears irrespective of relevance and impact,” Prof Burritt says.

“What we can lose sight of is the relevance of the research and that causes a real disconnect between the environment in which future accountants are taught and the real world where they will make their careers.”

Prof Burritt says it is vital that there is a constant dialogue between universities, accounting practitioners and government so that education, policy and practice are in step.

Other recommendations in the book include finding placements for academics into businesses, regulatory agencies and professional services firms to give them basic and refresher understandings of the real world of accounting.

In the kind of exchange program proposed in the book, some professionals would spend short periods of time in the university environment to undertake both research and teaching.

It was also recommended that academic research be published in accessible and easily digestible language directly for accounting practitioners and policy makers.

“The whole push from this publication is that the accounting profession will benefit enormously from and improved relationship with universities,” Prof Burritt says, “and it is a two-way street because academics and accounting researchers will increase their dynamism and relevance through their industry engagement.”

A PDF copy of the full book is available online.

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