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The future of education in accounting

As technology advances over the course of the next generation, the world-wide economy will continue to expand and become even more interconnected. The accounting industry and the educational system behind it are somewhat late to the globalization train. With stark differences in accounting standards adopted by each country throughout the world, a significant challenge arises for a student who wishes to pursue a career in accounting on the international stage. Moreover, it is extremely difficult for schools to teach students who look to pursue an international career in accounting.

Most universities in the United States, in considering an internationally focused major field of study, only offer those in International Business or International Relations. This is due to the fact that business strategy and functions are relatively similar across the developed world and the fact that international relations is a broad field of study up to the interpretation of every conflict or situation. When it comes to international accounting, the specific standards set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board of the United States and the International Accounting Standards Board (and other standards boards for countries who do not subscribe to IFRS) are distinctly different prohibiting an easy career location transition for students who learn either US GAAP or IFRS (and its different forms of adoption). As I go into my second year as an accounting major at one of the top business schools in the United States, I have begun to realize if I ever dream of an international accounting career that I must make my own path.

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The importance of education in international accounting standards is not only important for those students who desire a career outside of their home country of study. As globalization today affects businesses of all sizes, companies will soon, if not already, demand candidates for their positions that have an understanding of international standards. This understanding would be an invaluable asset to a company who looks to expand into a different market outside of the borders containing their headquarters. Moreover, as technology makes it easier and easier to expand globally as a business, the demand for graduates who understand the intricacies of international accounting is increasing.

Thus, the future of education in accounting is dependent on a few things:

  1. The coherence of accounting standards between countries around the world beginning with US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and International Financial Reporting Standards regulated by FASB and IASB.
  2. Universities around the world focusing more on understanding international reporting standards and emphasizing the importance of knowing international reporting standards for both domestic and international careers.
  3. Students must have the desire to reach outside of their comfort zone and explore opportunities for international internships and summer jobs to supplement their education while Universities catch up to the learning curve.

Our world is drastically changing each and every day becoming more and more connected. The demand for accounting graduates with international accounting knowledge is here; however, the demand is not met with a sufficient supply.

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