Coursework Task Brief


Stephen Isherwood, the chief executive at the Institute of Student Employers, has commented


“In the past employers have talked about graduates lacking soft skills, but in the current environment, business is up against a wall and so they need people who can start work at pace. With many people home working there’s also more emphasis on being self-reliant. Right now, businesses need graduates who can start work, manage their relationships effectively and have the technical skills to do the job.”

(ISE News: Graduates lack work-ready skills, 2022)

Research evidence indicates that many employers of accounting students want to recruit students with other skills, that might be referred to as generic or professional employment skills. These are the kind of transferrable skills that are not focused entirely on technical skills (Financial Reporting Standards). Many students assume that an accounting degree is primarily, or even exclusively, concerned with acquiring these technical skills (learning and applying the rules of accounting). Although university accounting syllabi does focus on the acquisition of technical skills (and exam exemptions), degree courses should also focus on other important generic and professional skills. However, with the emphasis on technical skills, this may result in other important skills being. This is not the approach taken in the accounting and finance degree course at Oxford Brookes University. A number of our modules focus on the achievement of generic or professional skills of the transferrable kind. Some of the assessments for our courses are designed to develop these generic and professional employment skills.

Given the importance attached to these generic and professional skills, it is key that as a graduate that you are able to demonstrate to prospective employers that you have acquired these skills during the course of your undergraduate studies. In order to help prepare you to do this, and assist in future job applications, we are asking that you write a reflective statement in which you reflect upon how the Financial Accounting ‘pillar’ of your degree has assisted you in achieving the generic and professional skills needed for employment in the area of financial accounting.

In order to complete this task, you will need to read articles on:

*accounting education and training and

* the generic and professional skills needed for employment in the area of financial accounting

Articles can be found:

*using the A-Z e-journals Service link on the Library pages. E.g. in the journal ‘Accounting Education’, for example, but you can find others.

*using google scholar search

*performing a search on accounting education journals

Coursework Task You are required to:

1) Identify and describe the generic or professional skills that employers require in the area of financial accounting. You should consult professional sources and books can be used in the support of your reflection. However, these books cannot replace or be used instead of academic articles. You are required to use a minimum of FIVE ACADEMIC JOURNAL ARTICLES. (Exclude the discussion of technical skills as these are not within the scope of this task)

2) Select three of these generic and professional skills and explain how the work you have done in modules, taken in the area of financial accounting has helped you to acquire these skills. You may include auditing modules in this area but not modules in management accounting, finance or taxation. (If you are a credit entry student you can refer to your previous studies in financial accounting and the learning outcomes that are relevant to achieving these skills.). You can include this module, ACFI6008, Financial Accounting Theory.

3) Discuss whether you think that these generic skills should form a greater part of an Accounting degree than has been your experience.

Word limit and presentation

Your reflection should be in an essay format. It should be no longer than 2,500 words (excluding the title page and reference list). You should include an introduction, appropriate headings to divide up your work (which will also inform the reader as to the content in each section). This will be followed by your conclusions at the end.

You must include references to any publications read. These should follow the guidance on referencing which you can find under Useful Resources and Links in the module guide. It is very important that you note the University guidance on cheating and, in particular, avoid plagiarism. Your work must be submitted via the Turnitin dropbox in Moodle. Please seek guidance if you have not used such a dropbox here at Brookes.

Resources for reflective essay writing

This is a piece of reflective writing.

What is reflective writing?
Writing reflectively involves critically analysing an experience, recording how it has impacted
you and what you plan to do with your new knowledge. It can help you to reflect on a deeper level as the act of getting something down on paper often helps people to think an experience through. The key to reflective writing is to be analytical rather than descriptive. Always ask why rather than just describing what happened during an experience (Study Skills – Reflective pratice toolkit, 2022).

You are reflecting on your own learning experience so the style is less formally academic than it would otherwise be, but references are needed in the first part of the work. Please see the 3 resources on Moodle (under this coursework brief) for more guidance on reflective writing.

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