Graduates of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) with a specialisation in accountancy need specific competencies (e.g. technical knowledge, pervasive skills, values, professional ethics and attitudes). Current information from the profession (Accountancy Europe) point out the relevance of keeping the accounting profession attractive as well as the education and behaviour highly qualitative.
The project’s title is ‘International Learning Platform for Accountancy (ILPA)’. Aspects of Financial Reporting, Auditing of Financial Statements, Financial Statement Analysis and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Reporting were included. Competencies in these areas cannot be acquired effectively through a didactic concept that involves only traditional lectures and seminars. Graduates will mainly be employed by large institutions (e.g. large audit firms, corporate groups) that work in an international, complex and changing environment. A learning platform has been developed to address these needs. Hence, the project meets the current needs for accounting education. At the time of project application, no suitable learning concept in accountancy existed for HEIs.
The overall objective of the project was to generate a learning platform in accountancy that supports students in the development of the specific competencies required of accounting professionals. Therefore, we
(1) generated a unique teaching concept, consisting of integrative cases (including financial accounting, auditing, CSR, evaluating and analysing issues) based on real life problems;
(2) defined a didactical concept of how to use the cases to create a motivating teaching and learning environment and how to integrate social, ethical and technical aspects;
(3) developed theory-based, didactically and practically proofed teaching material relevant throughout Europe (e.g. the content of the platform includes national case solutions and the current state of the implementation of CSR regulations in participating European countries);
(4) evaluated the learning platform with accounting students through Intensive Study Programmes (ISPs) and in selected courses that took place at the participating HEIs;
(5) integrated the outputs of the project in the curricula of the project partners;
(6) will continue to update the platform even after completion to ensure its continued relevance and integrity.
Ten HEIs worked together on this project. All partners have a focus on financial accounting, social accounting and/or auditing pedagogy and are engaged in research in the field of accountancy. The partners are part of a network of Universities and Business Schools that have enabled student and faculty exchanges and organised EU Intensive Programmes for many years.
To develop the learning platform in accountancy as the intellectual output, different activities were taken. The testing and evaluation phase within 3 ISPs was of critical relevance for development. Student feedback facilitated and focused improvements to the learning platform. Semi-annual project meetings took place in order to collaborate and refine materials and organise the ISPs. A project secretary, a dissemination appointee and a quality assurer were appointed to coordinate the activities and enhance the quality of the project partners’ work.
The final output of the project is a unique, innovative and comprehensive learning platform. The learning platform has already been integrated into the curricula of many accounting units. All generated teaching materials are available on the e-learning platform “OLAT” at the University of Innsbruck.
The project has the potential to have significant impact at a regional, national and European level. The outcomes of the project will further enhance the quality of education at HEIs using the platform. Participating students develop competencies required in international accountancy practice, enhancing their employability for SMEs as well as multi-national organisations. In this sense, the project should facilitate international labour market mobility. The platform includes national as well as international knowledge, embedded in the European context. The IFRS as used in the EU, the content of recent European regulations and the European Airline industry underpin the learning platform. The project has significantly enhanced accountancy pedagogy in European HEIs.
The competencies of accountancy professionals are of fundamental importance for the economy of the EU and all Member States. Well-trained students in the fields will be aware of their responsibilities. These students (specialised in accountancy) are the emerging professionals who will significantly influence the future European economy.
For further information please refer to: https://lms.uibk.ac.at/dmz/