The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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Choosing accountancy (2)

Ivan Grixti Monday, 6 February 2023, 08:45 Last update: about 2 years ago

In September 2021, I had contributed to this daily newspaper with a similar heading. Needless to say, the quest is still on – that of inducing youngsters undergoing secondary education to possibly choose accounting with the consequential prospect of pursuing accountancy at tertiary level and, thereby, contribute to an always-thriving profession. For the second year running, the Malta Institute of Accountancy in conjunction with the Ministry of Education launched an awareness campaign targeted at students undergoing secondary education.

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The desired positive effect of such a campaign will be felt in the long term. For the time being, however, the number of students taking up accountancy at the University of Malta is, unfortunately, on the decrease. Ironically, enough there is also a lack of teachers well equipped to teach accounting within our secondary education institutions. However, that is possibly another problem, which merits its own thought process.

Gone are the days when the department to which I relate can rest on its laurels. Unless drastic action is taken in the near future, it seems that this trend will continue. I am sure that what I am about to suggest will create shock waves but unless change occurs, we might end up becoming redundant. That will surely not benefit our alma mater and the nation’s economic well-being even more. 

Initially, the current entry requirement of having a grade ‘C’ or better in accounting at Advanced Level should be scrapped. With such a requirement, the University is side-lining potentially good talent from other disciplines who would be willing to become members of our profession, given half a chance. The trigger for making such a suggestion is twofold.

Primarily, this year I came across a student who had the necessary qualifications to pursue medicine but instead joined the B.Com minor stream, as the student is simply interested in dealing with investments. Obviously, given that the student lacked possession of the entry requirement joining the B.Com major stream was not an option. Yet, thinking of what a science-oriented student endowed with an analytical mind could bring to the workplace is one lost marvel taking up accountancy!

Secondly, ever since I have been entrusted with B.Com minor students, I have stood up to the challenge in evening out an audience of students who at one extreme have no exposure of the subject matter and at the other extreme come along with Accounting at a ‘A’ level. Therefore, with the same line of thinking we can surely mould an accountant in five years!

Following on that there has to be a revamp of the course content. Admittedly, this necessitates a lot of brain storming but needs to be conducted. Why? For the simple reason that students emanating from our course are being drilled solely into fulfilling the requirements of money-measured capital. Not that this is not important but with the current drive on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting we are not being substantially avant-garde as to what skills today’s and tomorrow’s accountants should possess.

With the current pluralism in education coupled with the demographic statistics as they are, the accountancy profession of which I form part is in stiff competition. Bearing that in mind, it is also noteworthy to point out that no entry requirements are necessary for anyone thinking of pursuing the professional qualification, which is internationally recognised.

Therefore, unless both the department and faculty to which I relate are actively engaged in a process of continuous improvement their relevance might be lost amongst the younger generation. That would, undoubtedly, be a great pity as we approach the 50th anniversary of the faculty’s existence.

 

 

Dr.Ivan Grixti is a senior lecturer in Financial Accounting at the University of Malta

 

 

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