High school teachers’ perceptions of accounting: an international study
A decline in enrollments in accounting programs in the United States of America has been well documented over the last decade. Some researchers have suggested that this decline is in part due to the misinformation or lack of information about the nature of accounting and the duties performed by accountants. Other studies have found that a significant number of students make their career choice decisions while at high school and that teachers are influential in this decision making process. Hardin, O’Bryan and Quirin (2000) carried out a study to identify the perceptions of US high school teachers of the accounting profession compared to engineering, law and medicine based on 24 attributes of a profession. We have replicated this study in both Australia and New Zealand to ascertain whether the US results could be generalised. Our findings indicate that the results from the NZ and Australian studies are similar to the results from the US study. This is of particular concern given the efforts of the professional accounting bodies in Australia and NZ to improve the image of accountants since the original US study was undertaken. This implies there are significant issues for educators and the profession. These include, repositioning the image of the profession, and a possible mismatch between the requisite skills perceived by the teachers and those sought by the profession.