Accounting: perceptions of influential high school teachers in the USA and NZ

Wells, Paul K
Fieger, P.
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AUT Faculty of Business

A decline in enrolments in Accounting programs in the United States of America has been well documented over the last decade. Some researchers have explained 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. This study replicates a US study by surveying NZ high school teachers to compare their perceptions of the accounting profession to, engineering, law and medicine based on 24 attributes of a profession. The results from this study are contrasted to those from the US study. Our findings indicate that similar to the US, NZ high school teachers have a low opinion of accounting as a career option for university-bound high school students. This implies there are significant issues for educators and the profession including a possible mismatch between the requisite skills perceived by teachers and those sought by the profession.

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