What is wrong with our professional syllabuses?

ACCA members are often asked to comment on improvements to syllabus as an when there are changes made. Laurence Hoppen (of Strategic Business Trainers) has made comments on three occasions in the past 11 years (e,g. a letter dated 14th April 2005).

It seems one of the often quoted comments in the media is that employers are complaining that people are not being educated to step immediately into a job, in other words the theory and practice does not marry very well.

This applies in accountancy, where for example an audit qualification does not come with personal skills development.  When dealing with an audit client, or client’s staff, one needs to be assertive, tactful, and diplomatic. This behaviour does not necessarily come naturally to some people. Likewise, negotiation skills sometimes requires training. Other skills, which are taught in ACCA  paper F1, such as staff management and motivation techniques, need some practical applications before letting newcomers loose to manage staff in an organisation.

There are several qualified accountants who have never had any experience or training in learning an accounts package (such as Sage). Why do professional bodies not address these issues in their syllabus?

For students learning papers F2 and F3 together, a dilemma can arise, when before a student has mastered double entry in F3, he/she may be required to address process costing in F2 which requires knowledge of double entry.

School leavers, college leavers, university leavers who start work are immediately confronted with receiving payslips that they do not understand. AAT is one of the few body’s who provide payroll training. Why is this not made an essential part of learning for everybody?

Many people are leaving school, and even university without sufficient numeracy skills to even calculate V.A.T. They are not properly taught percentages. Why is this not made an essential part of learning for everybody? I notice bank tellers needing to use a calculator to add two simple figures together. What has happened to our knowledge of mental arithmetic?







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