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Media Release

February 7 2012

Forum highlights sustainability for tomorrow’s accountants

Preparing accounting professionals for the challenges of tomorrowHow to educate tomorrow’s accountants to deal with the incoming carbon tax and future sustainability initiatives will be one of the hot topics discussed when the Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability, University of South Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia host a forum on the future pathways to the profession for accountants tomorrow.

Accounting professionals from practitioners, academics and industry stakeholders will be at the University of South Australia to work through the ways the profession can adapt to the educational requirements of tomorrow’s professionals.

Chair of the forum and UniSA Professor Roger Burritt says the forum will confront many of the issues facing the sector.

“One of our key messages at this and our previous forums is that we have to work together with the accounting community to ensure we keep the profession relevant and robust,” Prof Burritt says.

“We have established a strong relationship with the accounting community and through their association they have great interest not only in how higher education is educating future accountants, but also how we can work together to develop pathways to accounting and provide support for continuing education in the field.

“The forum is timely as the accounting profession needs to continue to change and adapt to globalisation, the changing nature of accounting and audit practices and participate in contemporary social and environmental issues as well as broaden the thinking of accountants behind such issues.”

Professor Burritt says more can be done to entice potential professionals to accounting.;

“In terms of making a difference, it is important we establish a clear and compelling story about the various pathways to the accounting profession and start getting that story out, especially at high school and in universities as well as to students who have already graduated.

“That story is about the role of accountants in shaping great outcomes for businesses, for the environment and for wider society – this is a career that counts in more ways than one,” he says.

With new taxes, demands for assurance and an evolving global financial market Prof Burritt says accounting offers future professionals the prospect of working in many areas within the discipline and accountants do not necessarily have to come with a Bachelor of Accounting degree.

Career pathways are evolving both from the supply side and demand side says Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, Head of Academic Relations, Professor James Guthrie.

“On the supply side, we envisage students coming into accounting not only from secondary education, but also from TAFE, vocational education and training providers, private higher education providers, corporate universities, public and private universities, the accounting profession and not only organisations in Australia, but internationally and globally as well,” he says.

“And the demand for accountants continues to grow. Professional firms local and global, corporations, not-for-profit organisations and the government sector all employ accounting professionals and will continue to be looking for accounting graduates who have the right skills and experience.

“The Forum will have its say and publication of views is expected in July 2012. The relevance of transdisciplinary disciplines such as engineering and meteorology has never been stronger for the accountancy profession. But will practitioners and their leaders recognise this in time?”

The forum commences at 9 am Tuesday February 7 at the City West campus Hawke Building, both Professor Roger Burritt and Professor James Guthrie will be available for media comment on the day.



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