Who’s going to make next-Gen ‘job ready’?

April 28, 2020 - This topic about getting our next generation of accountants ‘job ready’ always generates some great debate.

There’s never a shortage of comments from within the accounting industry, the professional bodies and the universities with a view of who’s responsibility it is to nurture and educate providing the training fundamentals, so graduates can add value

If you ask the Uni’s, Govt, CA or CPA or industry, they just point fingers at each other.

  • Industry blames the Uni’s, they want graduates to come out experienced, and ready to be productive. They lament the huge cost of the training burden that comes with taking on a graduate only to see another firm poach their staff after they have invested so much. There is no incentive to train so they offer little in the way of opportunities to get work experience sighting also the lack of fair training wage.
  • Uni leaders concede that there is only ‘so much’ lecturers can fit into classes and that their programs and curriculum are geared around needing to meet the professional body entry requirements, or nobody will enrol in their Uni. They have a view that to gain experience students would need to undertake internships etc.
  • The professional bodies point right back and say the uni’s have scope to change the curriculum as they please and are just being a little too comfortable. They say that industry should be providing work experience not the professional bodies.

It seems it’s nobody’s fault but, everyone’s problem.

But if each of the players contributed their bit, ( ie looked at what they could do – glass half full stuff) and someone pieces it all together, I think you’d find we are much closer to making it happen than everyone thinks.

How about as an idea, creating a Transaction processing Hub in Australian uni’s? Give our undergraduate kids an opportunity to ‘learn by doing’. An opportunity to get their ‘hands dirty’, learning to reconcile, learning to problem solve and follow transactions as they flow through the ledger down to the source documents.

This work in the past always provided the foundation for learning the skills to do higher end work. It seems now we would prefer outsourcing and sending the work offshore to train graduates in other countries.

It would require a joint effort; CPA CA would need to help lobby the Govt so it was allowed to exist under a Govt training initiative, + make it a pre-req for admission into body (also forcing Uni’s to participate).

Govt would have to come up with a training entity and manage it financially.

Industry would need to support it. We could use it in much the same way as current offshoring – pay the Govt training entity, the equivalent rate, then mentor and manage their ‘hub’ people.

Junior – (1st years) could start doing data entry. 2nd years could ‘handover’ to 1st years, then move up the information tree and do checks + reconciliation work. 3rd years could be the ‘go between person’, between industry and the ‘hub’. They would learn communication skills, get a skills foundation and even soft people management skills.

Uni’s would have to integrate performance in the ‘processing hub’ with exam results and assessment tasks. (Like student nurses and teachers prac)

Who’s going to make next-Gen ‘job ready’?