Lee, Chrisann and Bisman, Jayne (2006) Curricula in introductory accounting: An
international student focus. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on
Contemporary Business, Leura, New South Wales.
Accessed from: http://eprints.qut.edu.au
Current author contact details: email@example.com
Curricula in introductory accounting: An international student focus
Chrisann Lee & Jayne E. Bisman
Charles Sturt University
A paper for presentation at the 3rd International Conference on Contemporary Business
Leura, New South Wales, September 2006
Ms Chrisann Lee*
School of Accounting C2-1
Charles Sturt University
Bathurst NSW 2795
Ph. 61 2 63384427
Fax 61 2 63384405
Dr Jayne Bisman
School of Accounting C2-1
Charles Sturt University
Bathurst NSW 2795
Ph. 61 2 63384101
Fax 61 2 63384405
* Corresponding author
Curricula in introductory accounting: An international student focus
Recent changes to management and funding regimes in Australian universities have
emphasised the need for global competitiveness and the development of commercial
orientations, coupled with the pressure of relative declines in public funding to the sector.
In consequence, many universities have increasingly relied on fee-paying, international
students. This internationalisation raises various issues, including those about teaching and
learning quality. We investigate the match between the needs of international students and
the curriculum, including content, delivery and assessment, on a micro level with reference
to introductory accounting (IA) subjects in Australian universities. The results suggest a
number of prevailing issues that need to be considered by accounting educators in terms of
improving educational experiences and outcomes for international students.
Keywords: accounting education, introductory accounting, curriculum mapping,
JEL Classification: I21
Universities have faced an increasingly diverse and rapidly changing panorama over recent
years. Emphasis has been placed upon the development of entrepreneurial outlooks and
activities in universities (Slaughter & Lesley, 1997), and in Australia the higher education
sector has undergone significant reform aimed at transforming universities into commercial
enterprises less dependent on public funding (Poole, 2001; Murray & Dollery, 2005). Many
universities have addressed the challenges of government funding shortfalls and global
competition by seeking income from international students.
By 1999 revenue from fee-paying overseas students studying at Australian universities
amounted to $805 million, equating to approximately 10 percent of sector revenue (DEST,
2002, p.53). Expanding the international student base has seen enrolments of these students
increase from approximately 30,000 in 1991 to just over 95,000 in 2000 (DEST, 2002, p.
56). Asian residents make up the clear majority (generally more than 70%) of international
students enrolled in Australian universities (AVCC, 2005) and constitute about 95% of
international student enrolments in business courses (see Wright et al., 2004). Our focus on
the introductory accounting (IA) subject1 as the primary unit of analysis is thus of particular
significance, considering that approximately 50% of international students in Australia
study business-related degree programs and most include accounting in their choice of
subjects (DETYA, 2001, p. 145).
The presence of international students on campus is one of many factors contributing to the
changing landscape of the university sector (Biggs, 2003). Some commentators argue that
there are significant costs associated with internationalisation of the student enrolment
profile (see Devos, 2003; Murray & Dollery, 2005) and that the quality of teaching and
student learning outcomes may suffer in this deregulated, commercial environment.
However, Coates (2004) maintains that while the discourse tends to portray
internationalisation as a source of revenue and a driver of declining academic standards, it
often lacks empirical grounding and support. In considering the internationalisation of
accounting courses offered by Australian universities, Hewitt (2002, p.24) concluded that
“future research should seek to develop ways in which educators may develop programs
addressing learning differences stemming from differences in cultural background”.
In this paper we report on a study concerning how well aspects of the content, delivery and
assessment of the IA subject in Australian universities match the needs of, and are relevant
to, the expanding international student cohort. Our study was based on a review of IA
subject outlines (n =12) and textbooks (n =9), and analysis of data gathered though the
administration of a cross-sectional survey of Australian universities (n =21). While this
research is derived from a larger study of the curriculum of IA, our purpose in the current
paper is to explore issues for, and prompt reflection by, accounting educators concerning
what and how they teach, given the internationalisation of the student body.
This paper is divided into five sections. Section 2 provides a discussion of the literature on
change in accounting education and the characteristics and needs of international students.
The multiple research methods applied in conducting the study are outlined in the third
section and the research results and findings are reported in section 4. The final section of
the paper presents a number of conclusions, together with implications for accounting
2. The changing face of accounting education
Over the last two decades there has been considerable change in commerce and business,
and in the evolving nature and expanding role of the accounting profession (AAA, 1986;
Arthur Andersen & Co., et al., 1989; AECC, 1990; Williams, 1993; Nelson et al., 1998;
Albrecht & Sack, 2000). More specifically, within the context of the research described in
this paper, the profiles and characteristics of students entering introductory accounting (IA)
subjects are also rapidly changing (Rankin et al., 2003), although the process of accounting
education has been perceived as essentially inert (AAA, 1986; Albrecht & Sack, 2000).
It has been widely argued that accounting education has failed to equip students with the
requisite set of generic competencies required by the profession (AICPA, 1998; Mohamed
& Lashine, 2003), and that models of teaching are too conventional, based largely on
knowledge transmission (Williams, 1993; Saunders & Christopher, 2003) and heavy
reliance on an homogeneous set of textbooks (Williams, 1993; Sullivan & Benke, 1997).
Introductory subjects in accounting have also been the target of considerable criticism
concerning narrow content, technical focus, and poor quality of the student learning
experience. The traditional accounting curriculum has been viewed as “rule-based and
demanding rote memorisation; with students being trained rather than educated” (Carr &
Mathews, 2004, p.93), and as a result of perceived deficiencies, a number of organisations
and academics have called for change (see AAA, 1986; Arthur Andersen & Co., 1989;
AECC, 1990, 1992; Mathews, 1990; Albrecht & Sack, 2000).
Various sources reflect a particular concern about deficiencies in the generic skills and core
competencies of accounting graduates (Arthur Andersen & Co., 1989; Cho, 1999;
Mohamed & Lashine, 2003). Traditional curricula that centre on technical skills and place
emphasis on memorisation of transaction recording procedures may discourage students
from developing competencies such as critical thinking (Saudagaran, 1996; Springer &
Borthick, 2004), and so a strong imperative exists for introducing innovations to enhance
students’ thinking, abstraction and communication skills, consistent with the goal of
lifelong learning (Howieson, 2003).
Despite attempts to address shortcomings, accounting education continues to be dominated
by a procedurally-based view of the discipline (Nelson, 1995; Sharma, 1998). Such
emphasis on technical aspects of the discipline can lead to passive teaching techniques
which focus on the transference of a body of knowledge (Bonner, 1999; Boyce et al., 2001;
Saunders & Christopher, 2003) at the expense of the development of generic skills.
Transmissive models of teaching are characterised by one-way communication (Williams,
1993), by textbook-based lecture methods (May et al., 1995), and regurgitation of rote-
learned content in final examinations (Adler & Milne, 1997c).
In contrast, an active learning model encourages students to actively engage, participate and
interact in the learning process (Adler & Milne, 1997a; Keddie & Trotter, 1998; Still &
Clayton, 2004). To make this change requires innovation in teaching and assessment, and
the development of a pedagogy that encourages student-centred learning, which is both
active and experiential, and promotes knowledge transformation and learner-reflection
(Bisman, 2005). Such new teaching approaches are also believed to help develop students’
generic skills (Adler & Milne, 1997b; Boyce et al., 2001; Kern, 2002).
In terms of the IA subject in particular, the AECC suggested a curriculum restructure to
offer a broad introduction to the discipline, taught from the user’s perspective rather than
the preparer’s perspective. In other words, the focus should be on the uses and usefulness of
accounting information to assist economic decision-making, rather than on the technical
aspects of recording transactions and producing financial statements. Various
commentators support and argue for this ‘user’ approach (Pincus 1997a, 1997b; Bernardi &
Bean, 1999; Diller-Haas 2004).
The call for change in accounting education can be brought into sharper focus when
considering developments in the Australian higher education sector, particularly in
connection to the expanding profile of international students, although the research
evidence concerning the performance of international students studying with Australian
universities is somewhat equivocal. Mackintosh and Olsen (2005) report that while
Australian students passed 89.4% of subjects attempted in 2003, international students
passed slightly less, at 88.8%. Further, they report that Australian students outperformed
international students in the business disciplines. Other research evidence, specifically
concerning the accounting discipline in Australian universities, indicates that the
international student cohort generally outperforms the domestic cohort (see Rankin et al.
2003; Hartnett et al. 2004), or that nationality and first language has “no differential impact
on introductory level performance” (Drennan & Rohde, 2002, p.27; also see Jackling &
Anderson, 1998). Nevertheless, it has been suggested that delivery and instructional style in
accounting needs to be recast to better cater for the specific needs of international students
(see Rankin et al., 2003; Hartnett et al., 2004).
Tang and Biggs (1996) contended that the curricula and assessment in Asian schools could
encourage memorisation and surface learning approaches. Stereotypes of the learner are
common, contextualising the international student, particularly those from Asia, as rote
learners who are more adept at applying calculative mentalities than broadly based generic
competencies, such as communications, problem-solving and analytical skills. However,
such stereotypes have been challenged (see Biggs, 1999; Barron & Arcodia, 2002; Cooper,
Within the context of this growing body of evidence on the need for change in introductory
accounting studies, and the imperatives for teaching an increasingly diverse and
internationalised student cohort, we sought to examine the curricula, teaching and learning
strategies, and assessment practices applied in the IA subject in a cross-section of
Australian universities. Our goal was to evaluate how well these features match the needs
of international students and to pose some reflective questions (and tentative solutions) for
accounting educators concerning what and how they teach.
To summarise the evidence concerning international students studying within the business
and accounting disciplines, and to guide analysis and interpretation of our results, a
relatively simple framework was applied, adapted from the research of Fisher et al. (2005).
Fisher et al. (2005) identified and studied key factors related to the ‘gap’ – the challenge of
teaching in a multicultural and internationalised business classroom, and a range of
strategies targeted at narrowing this ‘gap’. Their factors marry with our key themes of
subject content (including technical and conceptual content and generic skills), delivery
(including teaching and learning strategies), and assessment practices:
• Lack of general background concerning Australia and Australian business
• Lack of ability or willingness to communicate orally in English
• Reluctance to ask question in class, and preference for one-to-one contact outside
• Lack of ability to communicate in written English
• Unwillingness to take part in small group activities
• Poor communication with other ethnic groups
• Different learning styles
• Difficulty in making judgments
• Small class sizes
• Student-centred learning activities in interactive lectures and tutorials
• Explicit use and student cognisance of learning outcomes to focus learning
• Use of electronic learning tools
3. Research method
We employed multiple methods in collecting and analysing data structured around the key
themes of the investigation. The relatively small size of the population of institutions
recognised by the Department of Education, Science and Training (see DEST, 2002), and
that offer an accounting degree (n = 38), allowed for sampling of the entire population. The
primary unit of analysis was an IA subject of an individual university, although for the
purposes of statistical significance testing two clusters of universities
(regional/metropolitan2), represented the extent of international students in the cohort,
being LPI (low proportion of international students) and HPI (high proportion of
international students), as explained in the results section.
In the first round of data collection the IA subject outlines of 12 universities were obtained
for analysis from relevant subject coordinators. The second round of document review
involved analysis of the most commonly prescribed textbooks in IA subjects, based on
information compiled from subject outlines and textbook adoption reports sourced from
publishers. In the final stage of the study, a survey instrument was developed, pre-tested
and piloted, strongly focused on the key research themes and informed by the prior steps in
the research design. The survey included 30 questions eliciting responses covering a range
of information on subject content, delivery and assessment. The survey was administered to
IA subject coordinators3 in each Australian university in late 2005, producing 21 usable
responses (response rate 55.3%) across the spectrum of universities, as shown in Table 1.
[insert Table 1 here]
While a plurality of methods was employed to gather corroboratory data through
triangulation, the standard limitations are relevant in respect to the one-shot, cross-sectional
survey questionnaire, including issues concerning the representativeness of the sample.
Although non-response bias was non-significant, based on statistical analysis following the
Oppenheim (1966) method, an element of bias may be in the sample since there were no
respondents from Western Australia.
4. Results and findings
Based on responses to the survey questionnaire, the total number of students in the IA
subject ranged from 180 to 1,800, with a mean of 650. In five (24%) of the 21 institutions
surveyed, onshore international students studying internally accounted for 41-60% of the
total IA subject cohort. All five of these institutions were metropolitan universities. In ten
(47%) universities (seven metropolitan and three regional universities) international
students represented 21-40% of IA students, while in the remaining six (29%) universities,
which all happened to be regional, international students comprised only 0-20% of IA
students. These results demonstrate that international students account for a weighty
percentage of total IA enrolments, particularly in metropolitan institutions. These apparent
distinctions between metropolitan and regional institutions acted as proxies in categorising
universities according to high proportion of international students (HPI) or low proportion
of international students (LPI).
Within this general overview of the compositions of universities and the IA cohort,
including the data presented in Table 1, the results and findings according to the key themes
of our investigation of IA curriculum are presented in the following sub-sections.
For international (and other) students, subject content dictates not only what students learn,
but also impacts on how well they can apply their preferred learning style in understanding
that content. In our investigation of the content of IA subjects, the focus was on whether a
user’s or preparer’s approach was adopted, explicitly recognising that content under the
former approach is more conceptual, while content under the latter is more technical. One
implication being that the generally preferred learning styles of international students,
which emphasise repetition and rote learning, may be better suited to the preparer
perspective. Conversely, the agenda for change in accounting education is more closely
aligned with the preparer’s approach. Neither approach is suggested as superior from the
perspective of the international student; one may better match learning styles, while the
other may better promote enculturation (including understanding of Australian business)
and improve generic skills.
On average, 12 topics are covered in the IA subject as revealed through the analysis of
subject outlines. Table 2 provides a summary of the most common topics, showing a
considerable emphasis on technical topics.
[insert Table 2 here]
There was a wide range of differences in the learning objectives in the IA subject outlines
reviewed. The number of objectives listed ranged from as few as two to as many as 14,
with a mean of eight. The nature of the learning objectives also varied across institutions,
however, by using pattern-matching techniques a number of common themes were
identified (see Table 3).
[insert Table 3 here]
The analysis indicates an almost 50/50 split between learning objectives referring to the
conceptual significance of accounting information, and those stressing technical aspects. It
is of note that more than 90% of the subject outlines reviewed listed “prepare financial
statements” as a learning objective, while only 75% listed “interpret financial statements”.
Although less than 20% of subject outlines listed learning objectives related to management
accounting, when topic details were examined in depth it was discovered that a much
higher proportion of institutions were teaching these topics (see Table 2). This observation
suggests a misalignment between learning objectives and syllabus in a number of
institutions; a situation which can cause unnecessary difficulties for students, particularly
those for whom English is not a first language, in understanding expectations and achieving
desired learning outcomes. Few subject outlines made specific mention of developing
students’ generic skills, and this is a critical oversight, particularly for the international
cohort. While generic skills were listed as learning objectives in these few subject outlines,
in most cases these objectives were not accompanied by an associated assessment item. By
way of contrast, subject outlines that did not mention generic skills in the learning
objectives often featured assessment items that specifically mentioned a generic skill or
skills. This result provides further evidence of misalignment; in this case between learning
objectives and assessment.
Nine principal textbooks (as shown in Table 4) were identified based on the review of
subject outlines. In all cases the texts were either Australian, or Australian adaptations of
overseas texts. This preference in texts may help to acculturate international students, and
address the concerns of Fisher et al. (2005) about international students lacking background
knowledge of domestic business. Our textbook analysis focused on reviewing the topics
and sub-topics of each book and classifying the books according to the schema applied in
Sullivan and Benke’s (1997) evaluation of accounting textbooks. The chief categories were:
‘conventional’, representing texts focusing on debits and credits; ‘moderately
conventional’, including those featuring debits and credits, but with less overall technical
emphasis; ‘revolutionary’, which were non-debit/credit based and adopted a user’s
perspective; and ‘transitional’ and ‘moderately revolutionary’ for those near the mid-point
of the scale. The results appear in Table 4, showing that almost half of the textbooks were
[insert Table 4 here]
One of the questions in the survey instrument asked respondents to rate the topic content of
their IA subject on a spectrum from 100% technical preparer’s perspective (rating = 1) to
100% user’s perspective (rating = 5). While ratings ranged from 1 to 5, the mean was 3.33,
which could be interpreted as the IA subject having a balance between perspectives.
However, 25% of respondents viewed their subject as being more technically oriented,
while 43% rated their subject at 4 or above. These results were cross-validated with the
analysis of textbooks, which showed that two textbooks were popularly prescribed;
Kimmel et al., a conventional text with an intense focus on technical topics prescribed by
about 30% of universities, and Atrill et al., a less technical, transitional text prescribed by
25% of universities. The 30% of respondents who used Kimmel et al. corresponded with
the 25% of respondents who rated their subject 1 or 2 on the technical-user spectrum.
Similarly, the 43% of respondents who rated their subject 4 or 5 corresponded with the 40%
adoption rate of the revolutionary, moderately revolutionary, and transitional textbooks (see
To further assess content on the preparer’s-user’s spectrum, another section of the survey
questionnaire provided a list of statements concerning the overall educational objectives of
[insert Table 5 here]
Referring to Table 5, the validity of these responses is demonstrated by triangulation with
the survey question asking respondents to rate their IA subject on the 1 to 5 preparer’s-
user’s continuum. However, responses to the fifth and the last statements seem to be at
odds with other results, including those generated from the review of prescribed textbooks,
and analysis of topics and learning objectives contained in subject outlines. Additionally,
based on t-tests two other statements were answered significantly different by HPI and LPI
universities, as reported in Table 6. This analysis shows that IA subjects offered by HPI
universities were significantly more likely to be rated as having broad-based objectives,
aimed at application of accounting knowledge, than were equivalent subjects offered by
[insert Table 6 here]
As the earlier summary of Fisher et al. (2005) demonstrated, subject delivery, including
teaching and learning strategies and class sizes, impact the international learner. For the IA
subjects examined in our study, the teaching delivery methods were generally the
conventional combination of lectures and tutorials, with workshops conducted by only
about 30% of institutions. Class sizes were often very large. Students per class across our
sample varied from 65 to 500 (mean = 285) in lectures, 16 to 50 (mean = 21) for tutorials,
and in workshops from 20 to 150 (mean = 57.5). The ratios of permanent full-time staff to
students range from 1:90 to 1:650, with a mean of 1:314, while total staff (full-time, part-
time and casual) to students ranged from 1:39 to 1:288 with a mean of 1:90. There were no
significant differences in class sizes or staff/student ratios based on whether institutions
were HPI or LPI. However, class sizes and staff student ratios towards the higher end of the
ranges may offer reduced prospects for international students to interact with educators and
fellow students, to develop appropriate generic skills (especially communication skills), and
to participate actively in the learning process.
On a more positive note, most of the IA subjects surveyed were supported by some form of
online learning resources, with Blackboard the most dominant platform (in 38% subjects),
followed by WebCT (30%). In 20% of institutions, IA subjects were supported by other
online learning resources, including textbook websites and custom websites. Fewer than
15% of responding universities did not make use of online facilities. Both Fisher et al.
(2005) and Cecez-Kecmanovic et al. (2002, p.273) note the importance of web-based
resources for international students studying business courses, and the Australian
universities we surveyed generally appear to be meeting this need.
Active learning opportunities and small group activities are further factors considered by
Fisher et al. (2005) for improving learning experiences and learning outcomes for
international students. Several statements in the survey questionnaire (see Table 7)
interrogated respondents about these activities and revealed a high level of agreement
regarding the promotion of active student participation in the learning process. However,
encouragement of students to work in teams was not rated favourably by respondents, with
more than 40% either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the statement.
[insert Table 7 here]
There was also a statistically significant difference (t=-2.64, p=0.02) in mean responses,
such that IA subject educators in HPI universities (mean=2.00) were more likely to use
innovations and relate learning to real-life situations, than were educators in LPI
universities (mean=3.00). Two further (open-ended) questions in the survey concerned the
innovative teaching and active learning strategies being used in IA subjects. Responses to
both questions were very similar and foregrounded the use, in some universities, of
computer-assisted and web-based learning, peer mentoring in class, real world research
projects and case studies, team teaching, video teaching and guest lecturers, and student
Following on from the prior analyses of content and delivery, the final theme investigated
was that of assessment practices. The framework adapted from Fisher et al. (2005),
presented in section 2 of this paper, outlines a number of issues related to assessment,
including those concerning the development of generic skills.
Sixty two percent of the IA subjects surveyed had a final exam weighting in the range of
41-60%, whereas the remaining respondents indicated that the final examination accounted
for 61-80% of total assessment value. Table 8 provides a summary of the characteristics
and weighting of non-exam components of assessment.
[insert Table 8 here]
The table reveals that assignments and tests were the most common non-exam assessment
items utilised in IA subjects. The minimal use of group-based assignments and group
presentations reflects a particular deficiency in current curricula in terms of enculturation
and improving the generic skills of international students.
The overall results are equivocal for IA subject orientation on the technical versus decision-
usefulness spectrum, and also equivocal for the implications for international students of
subject content focus. As noted in the findings (section 4), neither the technical or decision-
usefulness approach is necessarily superior from the perspective of the international student
- while the technical approach may better match their learning styles, the decision-
usefulness approach may better promote enculturation and improve their generic skills,
including the ability to make judgments, as well as address more general criticisms of
accounting education. In terms of supporting textbook resources, since all the major
textbooks reviewed were Australian, or Australian adaptations of overseas texts, this choice
may go towards providing the background knowledge about domestic business and
accounting that Fisher et al. (2005) stress international students need. However, the reverse
is that lack of use of overseas books, or of Australian books with international content, may
have negative implications in catering to the needs of international students who will work
as accountants in their home countries.
While teaching delivery follows the traditional lecture and tutorial format, supported by a
textbook, numerous innovations in delivery and assessment were extant. For example,
application of e-learning and online resources is apparent in IA subjects and assists in
accommodating a variety of learning styles and preferences. In a number of instances there
appeared to be discrepancies and misalignment between learning objectives, topic coverage
and assessment items, which require redress. Such misalignment may have quite adverse
effects on international students, particularly those for whom English is not a first language,
as it hampers clear communication and sends mixed signals to students about requisite
priorities, skills, and learning outcomes. Further, there is little formal evidence explicit in
the objectives, content and assessment items of many IA subjects, relating to generic skills
development. Opportunities for development of teamwork and leadership skills in IA
subjects appeared to be particularly meagre. These findings are not advantageous to the
international student group – various studies of business and accounting courses at
universities (see Cecez-Kecmanovic et al., 2002; Wright et al., 2004; Fisher et al., 2005)
point to the need for improved opportunities for international students to better develop
language and communication skills, relate material to real-world examples, and learn to
function in (multicultural) groups and teams. Providing the chance for all students, and
particularly international students, to develop such skills is a priority for enhancing
communication, peer learning, socialisation and enculturation. However, suggestions to
innovate in terms of delivery and learning experiences need to be tempered by recognition
of large class sizes and poor staff/student ratios, which can effectively limit the number and
range of active learning and innovative assessment strategies adopted. While we found few
significant differences between HPI and LPI universities in relation to most aspects of the
content, delivery and assessment of IA subjects, this finding remains a function of
modalities; diversity is more readily apparent at the level of individual institutions.
Overall, the results and findings support the use of multiple teaching styles as a means to
match the multiplicity of learning styles within a student cohort, including cohorts with
international representation. For example, in finding that international students studying
business courses in the UK exhibited a wider dispersion of learning styles than did
domestic students, De Vita (2001) argued the need for multi-style teaching. Our
suggestions concerning better alignment of objectives, topics and assessment, the need for
smaller classes and improved opportunities for developing generic competencies, and more
innovation in delivery and assessment, would benefit all students. Our results provide a
range of information for accounting educators to utilise in reflecting on practice, and for
benchmarking, curriculum development and pedagogy improvement in the IA subjects they
1 Introductory accounting is sometimes referred to as elementary accounting or principles
of accounting. It is generally the first core accounting subject in Bachelor of
Business/Commerce/Economics programs studied by both accounting and non-accounting
major students. The term ‘subject’ refers to a single unit of study undertaken as part of an
undergraduate program. Some institutions may refer to a subject as a ‘unit’ or ‘paper’ and
in the USA it may be synonymous with ‘course’.
2 Metropolitan and regional university categorisations were self-selected by respondents
and checked against criteria concerning capital city/non-capital city campus locations and
student catchment areas, as well as metropolitan/regional distinctions made in the
Crossroads review (DEST, 2002).
3 Surveys were mailed to the subject coordinator, where known, or to the Head of
Department for distribution to the relevant subject coordinator, and one round of follow-up
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Table 1 Responding institutions
No. universities in
Respondents as a percentage
of the population
QLD 7 5 71%
SA 3 2 67%
NSW 11 7 64%
VIC 8 5 63%
ACT, NT & TAS 4 2 50%
WA 5 0 0%
Total 38 21 55%
Of the 21 respondents, 12 were from metropolitan universities and 9 from regional
universities. Based on the incidence of metropolitan and regional universities in the overall
population, there was an almost even response rate from metropolitan (55%) and regional
Table 2 Topic analysis
Percentage of subject
(n = 12)
Accounting process of recording business transactions 92%
Role of accounting & the business environment 75%
Financial statement analysis 67%
Internal control & bank reconciliation 67%
Accounting information systems & sub-systems 67%
Retailing operations & inventory 58%
Cash flow statements 42%
Management accounting, costing & CVP analysis 42%
Accounts & bills receivable 42%
Non-current assets 33%
Capital budgeting 25%
Table 3 Learning objectives
Percentage of subject
• Prepare financial statements
• Interpret financial statements
• Understand the role of accounting
• Record transactions
• Identify accounting information users
• Understand the principles of financial reporting
• Make ethical judgments in business
• Apply double-entry accounting
• Use accounting equation
• Identify internal control issues
• Identify various business structures
• Understand and design a simple accounting
• Communicate accounting information
• Develop spreadsheet skills
Table 4 Categorisation and features of introductory accounting textbooks
Atrill et al. 13 In appendix In Appendix
Bazley et al. 21 Briefed in
Birt et al. 13 Briefed in
Hoggett et al. 25 Yes Yes
12 (48%) Conventional
24 Yes Yes
15 (63%) Conventional
23 Yes Yes
Juchau et al. 20 Yes Yes
17 Yes Yes
10 (59%) Conventional
22 Yes Yes
13 (59%) Conventional
Table 5 Educational objectives – Content focus
Statement Range Median Mode Mean
The overall objective is about the transferal of technical
knowledge to train the student in gathering financial
data for the preparation of financial reports
2 - 5
The objective is to develop students’ comprehension of
basic accounting knowledge
The objective is to enable students to apply accounting
knowledge in their everyday life
The objective is to broaden students’ interests in
The objective is to enable students to evaluate and judge
the value of accounting information for business
There is an emphasis on procedures, terms and
principles of accounting
The focus is on the conceptual significance of
These statements were developed based on Tyler’s (1949) fundamental curriculum and
instruction questions and Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives (Bloom et al. 1956).
Instrument anchored by 1 = Strongly Agree and 5 = Strongly Disagree.
Table 6 Educational objectives - Significance tests (n=21)
Statement HPI mean LPI mean
The objective is to enable students to
apply accounting knowledge in their
The objective is to broaden students’
interests in accounting
* Significant at the 0.05 level.
Table 7 Educational strategies
Statement Range Median Mode Mean
A range of innovative teaching and learning strategies
are used to encourage students to apply accounting
concepts to real-life situations
The instructional method encourages students to be
active participants in the learning process
The teaching encourages students to work in teams
1-5 3 4 3.05
Instrument anchored by 1 = Strongly Agree and 5 = Strongly Disagree.
Table 8 Components of non-exam assessment
0-10% 5(24%) Individual 5(24%)
11-20% 5(24%) Group5(24%)
21-30% 3(14%) Both1(5%)
31-40% 1(5%) Non-response 3(14%)
None 7(33%) None 7(33%)
Total 21(100%) Total 21(100%)
0-10% 4(19%) Invigilated8(38%)
11-20% 8(38%) Online 2(10%)
21-30% 2(10%) Both 1(5%)
31-40% 1(5%) Non-response 5(24%)
> 41% 1(5%) None 5(24%)
None 5(24%) Total
Practice sets: 10% 3(14%)
Group Presentation: 5% 3(14%)
None 18(86%) None 18(86%)
Total 21(100%) Total21(100%)