The impact of accounting education on a small-scale business firms in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia state.
Background of the Study
The role of education can hardly be over-emphasized in the development and growth of nations of the world. This is because over the course of centuries, not only have schools traditionally served diverse communities, they have also functioned to accommodate diversity and promote a common understanding of nation’s cultures. In addition, quality education system better equip girls and boys with knowledge and skills, needed to adopt healthy lifestyles, and to take an active role in the social economic and political and decision-making practice as the transition to adolescent and adulthood (Josier, 2005 and Kentweky et al, 2006). Thus, the demand for education usually follows the demand for services even though there are some significant time lags and the emphasis cut across virtually all professional field of study, particularly, accounting education.
Increasingly, today’s professional accountants need to be technical experts with excellent communication skills and they
need to be able to meet the reporting and information needs of the new knowledge economy. (International Accounting Education Standards Boards 2008). In addition to acquiring technical accounting knowledge and skills, professional accountants need skills that enable them to be appropriate communicators, business advisors, financial analysts, excellent communicators, capable negotiators, and first-class managers. At the same, integrity, objectivity and willingness to take a firm stand are essential attributes of professional accountants; professional values and ethics are integral to being professional accountants. According to Muttu (2009), accounting education is subject to an impetuous need for development and in a world of financial scandals, corruption, and bankruptcy, attention is directed with a reprehensible look to accounting education as well.
Historically, accounting education has been dominated by the objective of training students to know facts and has encouraged students to perceive and tackle problems from a narrow and inadequate perspective. Accounting educators have become increasingly concerned about the inability of existing accounting programs to adequately prepare students for the complex and technologically sophisticated business environment.
Major changes, in the international and local environment have led to the realization that accounting education and educators are faced with a comprehensive and continuous rethink of their approach towards teaching and learning in order to remain relevant. Global phenomena, such as the revolution in information technology, emergence of international capital markets and increasing importance of international accounting standards, have had a far-reaching impact on the requirements and what is being offered in respect of accounting education (Adlikan, Flangan and Tondkar, 1999).
The goal of accounting education and experience is to produce competent professional accountants capable of making a positive contribution over their lifetimes to the profession and society in which they work. In the face of the increasing challenges that accountants meet, it is essential that accountants develop and maintain attitude of learning to learn in order to maintain professional competence. To achieve these, many strategies have been adopted in accounting education including integrating other competencies other than technical accounting skills into the accounting, using a team approach to curriculum planning and teaching, integrating computer based teaching modules into the curriculum, establishment of a working centre, video-taping of students, oral presentations, field trips to stockholders meetings and, immediate feedbacks is used to improve students’ performance (Stuart 2004).
The need to comply with the goals set in the National Education Plan, i.e. to prepare students to become lifetime learners, to deliver student that will keep abreast of the latest developments and are capable of adapting to these developments (including developments in the accounting field) it seems therefore reasonable to seek an understanding of how accounting education has effectively enhanced business operations. This research set out to find if these restructuring strategies have been effectively applied in order to reduce business failure tendencies and reposition the nature of small scale businesses which are the backbone of the every economy growth.
Statement of the Problem
With the tremendous growth of international competition, computer technology and social values, substantial re-orientation of educational programs becomes necessary to assure that accounting education meets the changing needs of professional practices, if the accounting profession is to respond positively to these developments and user demands for more information who are not only technically knowledgeable, but who have the analytical abilities and the international education needed to meet the challenges of a global environment (International Journal of Commerce and Management, 2004).
The magnitude of the role an accountant’s plays in enhancing the operations of large scale businesses, notwithstanding, the small scale business depend greatly on them for successful operations. Whatever forms a business is going to take; accountants can offer a range of valuable services including advising on how to start a new business, assisting with business plan, assisting with the legal and tax aspect of registering new small scale business, setting up of manual or computerized book keeping systems. Sales ledger purchase ledger, cashbook, petty cash book, debtors, ledger, creditors ledger, fixed assets, register, the preparation of financial statement, profit and loss account, balance sheet, cash flow statement and related note, forecasting cash flow, credit control and stock control to protect the business from over running working capital.
Despite all the efforts of the accounting professionals enhance the operation of the small scale businesses, many business enterprises including banks are collapsing and small business liquidating. All of these banks and small scale businesses have trained accountants, some of them are chartered accountants yet they could not salvage their enterprises. However, this research study would be finding out the importance of accounting education on small scale businesses in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to determine the impact of accounting education on small scale business firms.
Specifically, the study seeks to:
- Ascertain to what extent skilled accountant are employed by these enterprises.
- Determine the educational level of accountants in small scale business firms?
- Ascertain the extent successful business enterprises use more professional accountants than failed business enterprises.
- Identify the major challenges faced by these accountants in the discharge of their duties.
- To what extent small scale businesses employ skilled accountants?
- What are the levels of educational attainment of the accountants employed in small scale enterprise?
- To what extent successful business enterprises use more professional accountant than failed business enterprises.
- What are the challenges facing the accounting professionals in the discharge of their duties?
Significance of the Study
It is hoped that this study will among other things expose the real life challenges that confront the skilled accountants in the discharge of their professional duties. This will be beneficial to the school, the teacher s and the accountants.
The result of the study will provide schools the basis for a holistic re-assessment of the existing accounting education programme contents. Besides, the result will provide the basis for the review of the existing teaching and learning environment in schools in line with the requirement of the modern day business world. With these in place, the school will be sure of higher productivity from the teaching personnel and by extension higher standard of learning.
On the part of the teachers, the result of this study will afford them the basis for reviewing the required knowledge, skills and attitudes in the potential accountants. The re-assessment of the programme knowledge/skills will enhance the whole system and make teaching easier and stress free for the teachers.
When the result of this study provides a reliable basis for the re-assessment/review of the programme content; teaching and learning environment and method of teaching (with the associated higher productivity and standards) in schools, the accountant would become products of schools with well packaged programme and committed teaching personnel. Thus, these accountants would be better equipped to face both current and future challenges of the profession.
Scope of the Study
This research work is limited to small scale businesses in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State.