Sees Overemphasis on Credentials

BY FRANCIS J. FARINA

I read “The Crisis in Accounting Education” and the accompanying book review, “Accounting Education: Charting the Course through a Perilous Future” ( JofA, Apr.02, page 84), with much bemusement at their failure to point a finger at what I believe is the real “crisis” in accounting education—the overemphasis by colleges and the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) on faculty research credentials over effective classroom teaching.

As an accounting undergraduate from 1969–1973, I received an excellent accounting education without once encountering a PhD/DBA. My professors were experienced CPAs with MBAs, many with concurrent accounting practices, who were knowledgeable, articulate and interested in imparting the nuts and bolts of the subject rather than the latest mathematical hypothesis on how many debits can be placed on the head of a pin (frequently, in some foreign language).

Without question, the business environment and GAAP are much more complex than 30 years ago and accountant skill sets must be as broad as possible. However, ignoring deeply rooted problems with the delivery system for accounting education isn’t going to improve the quality or quantity of accounting graduates.

Francis J. Farina, CPA
Devon, Pennsylvania

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