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Necessity of IT-integrated Accounting in Undergrad Syllabus: A Comparative Study on Current Students and Professional Accountants


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Information technology (IT) has led to dramatic changes in global business environment. This paper reports on the level of integration of IT in accounting education and alignment of such learning between the professional accountants and current students. The Mann-Whitney U test is applied to test the probable difference in learning perception of IT between current students and professional accountants. Based on findings, a gap has been identified in the skills and knowledge of IT in financial statement preparations, analysis and reporting between current and would be accountants. A need for IT orientation in the syllabi is recommended to minimize this gap.
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Teacher's World: Journal of Education and Research
Volume 43 December 2016 ISSN 0040-0521
Necessity of IT integrated Accounting in Undergrad Syllabus: A Comparative Study on
Current Students and Professional Accountants
Sabbir Ahmed Chowdhury
Institute of Education and Research
University of Dhaka
Mouri Dey
Assistant Professor
Department of Accounting
University of Chittagong
Information technology (IT) has led to dramatic changes in global business environment. This
paper reports on the level of integration of IT in accounting education and alignment of such
learning between the professional accountants and current students. The Mann-Whitney U test is
applied to test the probable difference in learning perception of IT between current students and
professional accountants. Based on findings, a gap has been identified in the skills and
knowledge of IT in financial statement preparations, analysis and reporting between current and
would be accountants. A need for IT orientation in the syllabi is recommended to minimize this
As the world has been shifting from industry-based economy to knowledge-based economy, the
importance of applying Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the education
system is recognized to develop knowledgeable and efficient human capital. Information
technology has impacted accounting processes also. It is difficult to imagine anybody doing
manual financial statement preparations with paper and pencil these days. Since accounting is
about disseminating information to the proper authority, any advances in information technology
will have a positive impact in the functioning of accounting in small to big conglomerates.
Accounting is the processes of recording, classifying, summarizing, analysing and interpreting
financial transactions and communicating the results to the users of such information (Chukwu,
2004). On the other hand, Information Technology (IT) deals with the application of computers
and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data. This may
also be described as anything that renders data, information, or perceived knowledge in any
visual format through any multimedia distribution mechanism (Ghasemi, Shafeiepour, Aslani &
Barvayeh, 2011).Accounting as an information system is generally a computer-based method for
tracking accounting activity in conjunction with information technology resources and for
generating reports. The resulting reports can be used internally or externally for financial
decision making. Accounting information systems as a sub-function of management information
systems implements its tasks through detailed requirement analysis, synthesis, documentation,
testing, software selection with necessary tools and supporting activities. It is also known as
Teacher's World: Journal of Education and Research
Volume 43 December 2016 ISSN 0040-0521
computerized accounting system. With technological advancement, traditional accounting
practice is shifting to accounting information systems practice. Both accounting and information
technology professional bodies are working on the new directions of accounting programs and
industry practices worldwide. The digital information technologies equip accounting systems in
storing, retrieving, manipulating and disseminating timely accounting information to
management for strategic and tactical planning and decision making (Lim, 2013). Utilization of
information technology resources allows companies to maintain a competitive advantage over
their rivals also (Kermani et al., 2013).Moreover, the IFAC guideline assumes that, at a
minimum, all professional accountants should be proficient in the general and user educational
requirements as well as at least one of the other three roles (manager, designer, evaluator),
depending on the accountant's work domain (IFAC report, 1996). Some powerful and easy-to-
use software are making accounting functions easier than before. In most business houses in
Bangladesh, data entry, preparing periodic financial statements, audit works, tax preparation,
report presentation etc. are being done by pre-packaged software. This information processing
and management is not in a static condition. Rather continual innovation and technological
advancements are making these tasks easier and speedier. So, the corporate houses are in
profound need of capable human resources competent in Accountancy as well as in IT
application. This paper is in an attempt to examine the learning perception of IT of the current
accounting students who are at the final stage of their accounting study and the knowledge gap
between the current students and professional accountants(who are current) in application of IT
skills in accounting.
Literature Review
Technology is having increasing impact on accounting education. Accounting is the processes of
recording classifying, summarizing, analysing and interpreting financial transactions and
communicating the results to the users of such information (Chukwu, 2004). This discipline
Accounting provides information needed for decision making and exposes them to various users
such as equity investors group, the loan creditors group, the government and other regulatory
bodies, the business community group, the management employees and the general public for
different interests (Nwokike, 2010). Similarly, Agomuo (2014) notes that these accounting
provides qualitative information is needed to plan, control and evaluation of business activities as
well as to it measures, processes and communicates financial information about an identifiable
economic entity. Ever-changing behaviour and challenges of corporate world, deficiency of
skills of the learners and practitioners and resistance to change by accounting educators are
affecting the nature of accounting education (Fouche, 2013). A technological knowledge gap is
being felt when accounting graduates enter the professional environment. Accounting graduates
are said to lack various skills that are important in today’s job market. Among them
technological skills is one. This situation is common in developed and developing countries
(Hanefah & Ismail,2003) .The accounting industry and the job description of financial specialists
today have evolved to include a greater reliance on technology (Johnson & Johnson,1995;
Rhodes,2012;Wessesls,2007).This situation is also predicting a “perilous future” for accounting
(Albrecht and Sacks 2000). The basic of computer programs that supports many technological
innovations is mysterious to most people today (including accounting practitioners) as well
performed magic. (Blayney, 2009) Accounting educators need to finale the gap between the
traditional and technical method of data processing by integrating new technologies in teaching
Teacher's World: Journal of Education and Research
Volume 43 December 2016 ISSN 0040-0521
and learning of accounting in tertiary institutions. With the continued emergence of new
technologies in the accounting profession, skills need to success may vary in future.
Amiya (2014) notes that remarkable improvements have taken place in all sphere of human
activities in all societies since the advent of new technologies. New technologies consist of
computer, scanners, printers, intranet, internet, e-mail, videophone system, teleconferencing
devices, wireless application protocols (WAPS), radio and microphones, television and satellites,
multimedia computer and multimedia projectors. New technologies can be integrated into
teaching and learning in public tertiary institutions to create a constructive learning environment.
New technologies imply new innovations and applications of concepts, principles and processes,
facilitate and support teaching-learning. Accountancy educators need to revolutionize in their
teaching strategies by integrating these new technologies in teaching and learning of accounting
in order to tackle the challenges of the information age (Ololube, 2013; Ololube et al., 2013).
The rapid developments in Information Technology (IT) in the global business environment and
in the learning process have created many challenges to the accounting profession as well as
accounting educators. Mohamed and Lashine (2003) stated that the rapid spread and acceptance
of globalization and the enormous developments in IT, have led to dramatic changes in the
business environment, and these changes have brought new challenges not only to business but
also to business education.
A number of globally recognized professional accounting bodies have called for a change in
accounting education (Obaidat & Alqatamin, 2011). A common theme has been greater emphasis
on the use of technology for instructional purposes (Ahadiat, 2008). Chang & Hwang (2003)
stated that educators recognize the importance of IT topics, but only a few IT topics can/will be
covered in accounting curricula, and if accountants are not up-to-date on IT, they may not even
be qualified to serve as business advisors. ()
In the same context, Wessesls (2007) when studied the issue of ICT offered to accounting
students has found that the cause of the identified gap between the skills acquired by accounting
graduates and the required level needed by the profession itself as due to the limited use of
accounting software packages during their study period. This result was asserted by (Rhodes,
2012) in her study about the required integration of ICT into accounting education. Both studies
asserted that there is a need for a better integration of accounting software packages into
accounting education based on the needs and the requirements of the profession itself, which will
result in a more productive learning experience that is matching to the needs of workplace.
Rhodes (2012) suggested two improvements in order to successfully integrate the skills required
by accounting profession into accounting education. The first improvement is to design a group
of prepared practices designed for the teaching staff. The second improvement is to integrate the
necessary tools those will help achieving the standards represented in any accounting topic. The
two improvements are mutually support the success of the integration process. Moreover, The
American Accounting Association (AAA) (1986) has determined ICT as one of the most
important tools required for accounting professionals. In addition to this, Accounting Education
Change Commission (AECC) (1990) has declared that accounting professionals has to be
equipped with ICT tools and skills in order to successful and competent in the rapidly growing
technological business environment. Also, International Federation of Accountants Education
Teacher's World: Journal of Education and Research
Volume 43 December 2016 ISSN 0040-0521
(IFAC) (2003) has determined that ICT is imperative for the Accounting Profession, and it is
very important to integrate ICT into accounting education.
For the accounting profession, research has stated there is a problem between what accounting
students can contribute to their profession after graduation and what practitioners need (Guyette,
2008; Jonick, 1998; Lightweis, 2011; Smith, 2006). The problem is accounting courses are
taught by lecture and not through learning activities which challenge students to understand what
lies ahead in the accounting profession (Guyette, 2008; Jonick, 1998; Lightweis, 2011).
Additionally, these learning activities can build upon the professional skill set necessary to be
successful as a practitioner (Lightweis, 2014).
Upon considering the necessity of integration of ICT to accounting education, the authors aimed
at examining the status of accounting education at the tertiary level in universities in Bangladesh.
The necessity and extent of integration and current course curriculum will be compared in this
regard. This paper is divided in several parts. First the necessity of ICT integration with
accounting education will be traced and second, the present status of the curriculum will be
compared with practices and necessity in the professional accounting field.
Objectives of the study
To examine the current status of the process of integration of IT in accounting education at the
public university and the specific objectives are:
1. To examine the level of IT learning of the current accounting students
2. To examine the level of IT learning of the accounting professional
3. To find out the knowledge gap between these two users
Data collection
Primary data has been collected from final year students of department of accounting of
University of Dhaka and University of Chittagong. Through the same questionnaire we collected
data from the accounting professional namely chartered accountants, cost and management
accountants, and account officers currently serving in domestic and multinational organizations.
Questionnaire has two parts: descriptive section and level of IT learning. Descriptive section for
current students is different from that of professional accountants. There are 10 items in the
descriptive section for the professionals and for the students. Learning perception focuses on the
level of learning in MS office applications, networking skill, report preparation and research
skills. These are stated in 15 statements. The learning perception section is the same for the two
types of respondents.
Teacher's World: Journal of Education and Research
Volume 43 December 2016 ISSN 0040-0521
Sample size, variable description and methodology
Sample size is 130 which is inclusive of current terminal year students (65) and professional
accountants (65).Current students are labelled as “1” and professional accountants are labelled
as”2”.Our test variable is learning perception (LEARPER).The intensity of learning perception is
categorized into likert’s scale (1=very good, 5=weak).We tested here the probable difference in
learning perception of Information technology between these two groups. The Mann-Whitney U
test is applied to test this difference. The dependent variable is learning perception and the
independent variable is the user status. But this test needs several assumptions to be met.
Analysis section has two parts. Descriptive analysis and significance test.
Descriptive analysis
We took two independent groups of samples for the study. One group is current accounting
students and another one is accountants. The students are at final stage of tertiary education.
They are currently studying at master’s level.
Table: 1 Descriptive issue for the Students
Descriptive Issues
Percentage (%)
25 years
Educational level
Studying final semester at BBA
Computer skill
Computer introduction at
Completion of any diploma or
short course on IT
Currently continuing any
Necessity of IT courses for
Accounting Students
Necessity of Integration of lab
Teacher's World: Journal of Education and Research
Volume 43 December 2016 ISSN 0040-0521
Table: 2 Descriptive issues for the professionals
Descriptive issues
Percentage (%)
40 years
Educational level
Masters: 67%, Bachelor: 32%
Professional Qualification:1%
Computer skill
Computer introduction at
Completion of any diploma
or short course on IT
Currently continuing any
Necessity of IT courses for
Accounting Students
Strongly agree-98%
Necessity of Integration of
lab program
Strongly agree-87%
Table 1 discloses basic information about the current accounting students. The sample size is 65.
All from terminal year of BBA program of Department of Accounting, University of Chittagong
and University of Dhaka. Maximum students showed moderate level of computer skill that they
primarily earned most in their Intermediate level. Out of syllabus, they are also affiliated with
supplementary computer learning course from various other sources. All the city corporations
and rural administration in Bangladesh are providing such arrangements for the students in urban
and rural areas. The students we surveyed strongly believe in essentials of IT courses for
developing accounting knowledge. Not only that, they are also emphasizing on integration of lab
facilities in the curriculum.
Table 2 presents the basic information about the professional accountants. These accountants are
from different business sectors. Sample size is 65. Most of them showed strong level of
computer skill. Only 6% are currently continuing any short course or diploma on computer
learning.98% agreed on the necessity of IT courses for accounting students.87% agreed strongly
on integration of lab program or practical IT classes relevant to accounting education.
Teacher's World: Journal of Education and Research
Volume 43 December 2016 ISSN 0040-0521
Significance test
The authors applied the Mann-Whitney U test to examine the discrepancy in learning
perception(Learper) in IT knowledge between students and professionals (two independent
groups) when the dependent variable(learning perception) is either ordinal or continuous, but not
normally distributed. This test hypothesizes that it is equally likely that a randomly selected
value from one sample will be less than or greater than a randomly selected value from a second
sample. Data must meet some assumptions in order for a Mann-Whitney U test to give a valid
Dependent variable should be ordinal or continuous. This assumption is satisfied. We ordered the
perception from very good to weak.
The independent variable should consist of two independent groups or categories. Our sample
data is categorized on the basis of user status.
Independence of observation. The current students and the accounting practitioners are two
completely different and independent groups.
This test can be performed if two variables are not normally distributed. The test result is shown
Table: 3 Tests of Normality
The Sig. value of the Shapiro-Wilk Test is below than 0.05, so the data deviate from normal
distribution. So the above data essentially met all the assumptions in order to be considered for
Mann-Whitney test.
Teacher's World: Journal of Education and Research
Volume 43 December 2016 ISSN 0040-0521
Test result
Mann-Whitney U Test
an rank is higher for the professional accountants. That means the IT knowledge of the
professionals regarding accounting practices and decision making is higher than the students
who are currently at their final level of accounting study.
Table 6: Test Statistics
Mann-Whitney U
Wilcoxon W
Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed)
The p-value is less than .05.That means these two groups differ significantly in gaining their IT
knowledge. The knowledge ability of the Professionals are significantly higher than the current
students who are about to finish their graduation from university. This difference signals major
discrepancies of IT learning between these two groups.IT orientation incorporated in the syllabi
does not cope properly with the job requirement. This notion is also supported by the answers
from the questionnaire, where the professionals agreed that at the entry level of the accounting
job they experienced serious lacking in applications of IT in accounting practices.
Table:4 Descriptive Statistics
Std. Deviation
Table 5: Ranks
Mean Rank
Sum of Ranks
Teacher's World: Journal of Education and Research
Volume 43 December 2016 ISSN 0040-0521
The objective of this research is to find out the gap between two user groups in terms of IT
learning. The course contents of the syllabus at undergrad level of department of accounting
doesn’t suffice to ensure efficiency and effectiveness at work by the professional accountants in
terms of IT knowledge application in financial statement preparations, analysis and reporting.
The syllabus of undergrad level should be upgraded effectively that the current students can
perform according to the job requirement and advancement.
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