graduate students who are practicing the profession of accounting in different sectors. Volume II, Issue II, 2013, 79-85

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1 Universities for the Requirements of the Jordanian Labor Market: A Field Study from the Perspective of Accounting Graduate Dr. Ahmed F. Al Hayek Assistant Professor American University in the Emirates Dr. Abdul Hadi M. Al Khasawneh Assistant Professor American University in the Emirates Abstract: The aim of this study is to identify the suitability of accounting education in private universities to the requirements of the Jordanian labor market, measuring the reality of accounting education in Jordanian private university, identifying the expectations of accountants about future improvements to the education of accounting, and identifying the problems of accounting education in these universities. In order to achieve the objectives of the study, a questionnaire was developed and distributed to a sample of Jordanian private university graduates who have practiced the accounting profession. The study has come to many conclusions among which: that the current status of accounting education does not suit the requirements of the labor market, and that there is a possibility to achieve improvements in accounting education in order to keep up with the requirements of the labor market. Finally, the study concluded the number of recommendations that contribute to improve the accounting education to suit the requirements of the labor market. Key words: Accounting Education, Private University, Labor Market, Accountancy graduate students Introduction: Our contemporary world faces many changes and developments, where it reflects on most aspects of life, and these developments have spread to different sectors, causing radical changes in the various areas. Accordingly, higher education should be directed towards absorbing this issue to ensure that higher education can provide the community with competence and skills that is necessary to work under those developments. It should also reconsider the system of university education and achieve a new educational model characterized by flexibility, innovation and productivity. Accounting education represents the cornerstone for the success of the accounting profession, as the purpose is to give the students the skills, knowledge and experience to enable them to practice the profession efficiently, In addition to its contribution to the preparation and processing of students in accounting departments to be able to deal with the ongoing developments in various fields and keep up with modern developments. The relevance of accounting education for the requirements of the labor market is considered an urgent need to achieve the goals of economic and social development at all levels It also contributes to detect irregularities and to fighting of financial and administrative corruption. So, this study seeks to examine the appropriateness of accounting education in the college of business administration in the Jordanian private universities to the requirements of the labor market through three main themes including: First: Identifying the current status of accounting education in Jordanian private university. Second: Identifying the problems of accounting educations from the perspective of accounting graduate students who are practicing the accounting profession. Third: Identifying their expectations about future improvements of accounting education. Problem of the study: The accounting profession faces different problems that still exist so far, such as ineffective accounting operations, loss of information, delay in the preparation of financial statements, and in some circumstances, the accountants are unable to use scientific methods in accounting planning and The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at V II (II), 79-85, ISSN: X Resource Mentors (Pvt) ltd (Publisher) Received: March 2013 Accepted: March

2 control. Even, some organization faced a lot of financial problems and ceased practicing this profession (Alroyate, 2007). These issues increase the responsibilities of accounting educators in the university to do their duties in the preparation and graduation of professionalism the field of accounting who are able to filling the needs of the labor market, and also be able to deal with practical applications, changes, contemporary environmental issues, so the problem of the study can be reflected by following questions: 1. To what extent the accounting education in Jordanian private university's suit the requirements of the labor market in Jordan? 2. Are there problems facing accounting education in the Jordanian private universities? 3. Is there a possibility for future improvements to accounting education in the Jordanian private universities? Research Hypotheses: 1. The reality of accounting education in Jordanian private universities is not compatible with the needs of the labor market. 2. There are no problems facing the process of accounting education in Jordanian private universities. 3. There is no possibility of future improvements to accounting education in private universities. The importance of the study: This research derives its significance from the following: 1. Necessity to convenient the accounting education in the Jordanian private university with the requirement of the labor market, thereby helping to avoid many problems which might result from the preparation of graduating unqualified accounting staff, who are unable to keep pace with global developments and achieve the goals of social and economic. 2. Provide information to those who are concerned in the universities, to use in the development of accounting education, through identifying the knowledge, skills and expertise that should be taught to accounting students to prepare them to the market labor. 3. Study the reality of accounting education in Jordanian universities, evaluate it and then find the development areas for consideration in order to preserve the role of the accounting profession and contribute to achieving the objectives of its educational system. 4. The private business sector in the Arab countries in general and in Jordan in particular, is still hesitant to hire graduates of private universities. Research objectives: The research aims to: 1. Identify the reality of accounting education in private universities of Jordan and its suitability to the needs of the labor market. 2. Identify problems that faced accounting education in private universities in Jordan. 3. Identify future improvements in accounting education in Jordanian private universities from the perspective of graduate students who are practicing the profession of accounting in different sectors. Theoretical Framework and Literature Review: Theoretical Framework: The developments in various areas of life, especially the economy, make continuation of the accountancy profession imperative to meet the challenges and developments in the business environment. It has become necessary to provide accounting students with the competencies and diverse skills through effective accounting education process. Accounting education is of great importance given to the specificity of the perception of the accounting and the continuing need and standing accounting work within any society. Accounting is an organized profession responsible for registration, tabbing and summarizing economic events that could benefit those related directly or indirectly to economic unity (Dahmash et al., 2009). With the developments in accounting in general, there is an urgent need to improve the process of accounting education, and work to provide students with theoretical knowledge and practical applications, and there is a need now to use qualitative and quantitative techniques and digital applications. (Ataman, 2000) stated that the quality of accounting education directly affects the practice of the accounting profession; therefore the quality of accounting education is one of the most attractive factors for the profession. The research indicated that effective accounting education must be based on the consolidation of the theoretical part with practical applications, and to use appropriate training aids and equipment to provide interactive learning methods, and must care about accounting education with a set of competencies, such as the ability to solve problems, continuous learning, analysis capacity, time management, communication, information technology, and work in teams, so the accounting education students must qualify to possess such skills to make them able to create, measure and analyze information. To achieve this, many professional organizations including the Institute of American Management Accountants were highly concerned in the quality of accounting education, and stressed the need to develop this education to meet the market needs of accountants (Albrecht and Sack, 2000). In the same context as the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) focused on need attention to accounting education program to prepare and qualify accounting students and provide them with diverse knowledge and skills and the ability to draw conclusions and evaluation and information delivery (IFAC, 2003). However that interest in accounting education by the concerned authorities, there is still a gap between the actual services provided by the accounting profession and those expected, and there is an increasing gap between accounting education and the demands of the labor market (Matar, 1999). The researchers stress that a good and integrated educational system is the cornerstone in the process of preparing qualified accountants scientifically, 80

3 professionally, and technically. The education system with the needs of society actively contributes to economic development. In order to achieve this system the following requirements must be met (Alhabitiandromo, 2004): 1. The adoption of a clear policy to education as part of the Supreme National development policy stems from a system of priorities within the framework of national goals and compatible strategy. 2. The education program should be able to qualify the students and provide them with the kinds of knowledge and skills and provide them with the ability to evaluate and deliver information. 3. The accounting education system should be flexible so as to be able to keep up with technical developments and breakthroughs in the field of information, the no development of this curriculum continually, and the willingness of the accounting to keep up with technical developments in the field of information would have a negative impact of the accounting objectives. 4. The adoption of the method of education to motivate a student to seek knowledge. In addition to further communication between the students and professors to discuss some things and issues face to face. To achieve this objective, teaching methods and programs should include education workshops in the accounting department focusing on case studies and exercises. In a study to identify the most important problems of accounting education in developing countries, it was found that most of these problems (Garbieh, 1990): 1. Inappropriateness of accounting education topics in the colleges and institutes. 2. Lack of accounting books and other educational resources. 3. Shortage of qualified professors in colleges and institutes. 4. Lack of curriculum development according to environmental variable societal needs. Literature review: Alftimi (2010), surveyed some previous studies in both Libyan and international environment with the objective of identifying the most important skills and experiences which must be acquired by accounting graduates to be successful in his work. The study analyzed the most important skills, experiences, and knowledge that should be acquired by graduates entering the labor market including: personal skills, oral communication skills, access to sources of learning skills, and interpersonal skills. In order to achieve the objectives of the study, inductive approach was followed. The study concluded that there were many problems afflicting accounting education, which in turn affected the efficiency and ability of accounting graduates to keep abreast of modern methods applied in business. The study recommended encouraging scientific research through the study of labor market requirements in the local environment and the skills required and expected by accountants, in order to obtain graduates with professional skills who are able to meet the requirements of the work environment. Esan, (2006), highlighted the extent of quantitative and qualitative correspondence between the output of higher education and the requirements of social and economic development in the Sultanate of Oman. He also aimed to highlight the levels and the close relationship between education and development in the Sultanate, its reality, and activate their developmental goals. To achieve that goal, the study addressed the topic of harmonization of education output and requirements of development through three main approaches including: first: development and its requirements, second: output of higher education and the challenges facing it, third: the nature of appropriateness between the output of higher education and development requirements. Among the study recommendations: The contents of an educational program should be developed to be compatible with the nature of the objectives of the society, and future expectations. This can be achieved by reviewing the content of current programs and to comply with contemporary conditions and adapt to the developments and changes, so that it does not conflict with the parameters and principles of the society. The contents of an educational program should be developed to be compatible with the nature of the objectives of the society, and contemporary realities and future expectations, which can be achieved by reviewing the content of current programs to comply with conditions and adapt to the developments and changes, so that it does not conflict with the parameters and principles of the society. Rahahleh (2006), assessed the curriculum and teaching method in the accounting department at Al al-bayt University, degree of agreement with the philosophy of the University, and its mission, by answering a series of questions, such as: is there a fit between taught courses and the university philosophy? What skills and competencies student acquire during their study? What are the deficiencies in the curriculum? To achieve this, the content analysis of the study plan was used and descriptive statistics for data analysis. The research questionnaire was distributed to all expected graduate students for the academic year 2004/2005. The study found that there was a need to reconsider the study plan, teaching methods, and means that do not meet the University philosophy and modern requirements. The study recommended reviewing the study plan, and the introduction of e-learning methods in teaching. Helles, (2005), studied the effectiveness of teaching in the accounting department at the Islamic University, from the point of view of students, through a questionnaire designed for this purpose. Teaching effectiveness was identified by three main areas: the course and its contents, the textbook, supplementary readings, assignments, and exams. The questionnaire was distributed to a random sample of students from the Department of accounting t during the academic year 2002/2003. The study showed that the questions related to effective teaching were positively assessed by the students. Qasim and Shbith (2007), aimed at determining the curriculum to keep pace with materials accounting for dynamic changes in the area of information technology based on curriculum in accounting sections in Syrian 81

4 universities. To achieve this, survey method was used in parallel with the deductive approach. The results showed that the accounting qualification in the field of information technology plays an important role in the practice, and the results showed a clear gap between academic knowledgebased curricula for accounting and material requirements of the labor market with regard to the subject of information technology. The study recommended the need for increased attention to the subject of information technology in the curriculum of different accounting rules, by increasing the number of hours devoted to this aspect, strengthening applied and quantitative dimension to accounting materials related to the subject of information technology and to maintain an ongoing mechanism to develop study plans for accounting in Syrian universities Yucel et al. (2012) aimed to determine to what extent the accounting education in Turkey covers the expectations of accounting students who are candidates for employment in the accounting profession. The questionnaire was distributed to undergraduate accounting department at the (Uludag University) and this university is one of the largest universities in Turkey. The factor analysis, one sample T- test has been used in this study. The results of the study showed that the accounting education in Turkey is not effective. The effectiveness of accounting education is increased and suggestions provided by accounting students should be considered. Research Methodology: This section describes the study sample and population of the study, and the statistical tools used in the analysis. It also describes the development of procedures and steps used to assess the validity and reliability to achieve the study goals. Population and Sample: The population of the study consists of all accounting graduates of Jordanian private universities. A total of 200 questionnaires were distributed to accounting graduates conveniently selected from the private universities. 180 questionnaires were returned to the researcher. All returned questionnaires were checked to ensure their usability in the analysis. This resulted in the deletion of 22 questionnaires of the returned questionnaires and the retention of 158 useable questionnaires (n=158). Reliability and validity: In order to establish the reliability of the research questionnaire, it was given to professionals in the related area for further evaluation. The reliability was also assessed by calculating Cronbach s alpha values. An alpha value of 0.60 or higher is normally considered satisfactory for most purposes. The Cronbach s alpha value of this study is Table 1 Distribution of sample according to the variable of qualifications and years of experience Variable Education Level Number Percentage % Qualifications Bachelor/Accounting Masters/Accounting PhD/Accounting Total % Years of Experience < 5 years years > 10 years Total % Table 1 show that the percentage of bachelor's degree holders is (59.5%), masters (25.9%), and PhD degree holders is (14.6%). The table shows that the highest percentage in years of experience variable, is related to the category of less than five years (38.6%), followed by the category related to over than 10 years (36.7%) Study Results: HO1: The reality of accounting education in Jordanian universities is not compatible with the needs of the labor market. Table 2 Means and standard deviations related to the fit between accounting education in Jordanian universities and the requirements of the labor market (in descending order). Item Mean Standard deviation 1. Poor student education level at pre- university teaching stage Weak training programs in the undergraduate level Poor efficiency of some faculty members Private universities do not care about international standards University accounting education is not interested in using

5 6. Private universities are directed towards controlling costs and increasing profits The infrastructure in Jordanian private universities is not available in the proper form The accounting education is keeping pace with modern developments in the business environment Training methods used in private universities are limited Textbooks provided to students are old Study plans are not continuously updated to meet the technological advancement The Accounting education provided by the university is enough The accounting education at private universities is supported by practical case studies HO1 Test Results: Table 2 indicates that arithmetic means ranged between ( ), the item related to Poor Standard deviation (0.58). While the accounting education at private universities is supported by practical case studies with lowest mean (3.1) and standard deviation (0.39). HO2: There are no obstacles facing the process of accounting education in Jordanian private universities. Table (3). HO1 test results by (T-Test): Variable T value Sig. Result Realty of accounting education Accepted Means and standard deviations related to the obstacles facing the process of accounting education in Jordanian private universities (in descending order) Item Mean Standard Deviation 1. Lack of training courses offered by the university Difficulty in Learning computerized accounting problem There is a gap between accounting education and Accounting education provided by university helps to predict and draw conclusions Jordanian private universities possess the necessary competence to qualify for labor market Lack of developmental activities of accounting students capabilities in communication skills Lack of modern curricula Classrooms are overloaded Shortage of development activities and selfmanagement education Jordanian private universities have necessary requirement to facilitate the education process Faculty members of accounting section possess necessary skills to qualify graduate Accounting education provided by university helps conducting mathematical and statistical applications HO2 Test results: Table 3 indicates that arithmetic means ranged between ( ), the item related to the lack of training courses offered by the university. It came highest, mean (4.2), and a Standard deviation (0.73). While the accounting education provided by university helps conducting mathematical and statistical applications came lowest mean (3.09) and standard deviation (0.29). 83

6 HO2 test results by (T-Test): Variable T value Sig. Result Accounting education problems Accepted HO3: There is no possibility to achieve future improvements in accounting education in Jordanian private universities. Table (4) Means and standard deviations to the future improvements in accounting education in Jordanian private universities (in descending order). Item 1.Training opportunities should be provided to accounting students in specialized companies 2. Accounting education must be directed to integrate with other curricula e.g. information system and technology. 3. should be given case studies related to real companies. 4. Accounting study plans should improve student s efficiency in communication skills. 5. Technology and electronic learning should be used in the accounting education process. 6. Teaching methods should focus on students understanding and comprehension and develop the capacity of thinking. 7. Accounting curriculum should develop students skills in problem solving and management crises. 8. There should be cooperation between professional accountants and accounting sections. Mean Standard Deviation Table 4 indicates that arithmetic means ranged between ( ), the item related to (Training opportunities should be provided to accounting students in specialized Companies) with highest, mean (4.5), and a standard deviation (0.50). While there should be cooperation between professional accountants and accounting sections) with lowest mean (3.03) and standard deviation (0.17). HO3 test results by (T-Test): Variable T value Sig. Result Future improvements Accepted Conclusions The findings from this study provide important contributions and outline implications for researchers and practitioners, which could be summarized as follows: 1. There is a possibility to achieve improvements in accounting education in order to keep up with the requirements of the labor market, but there are some difficulties preclude achieving this. The results of the study showed that the most important determinants are: - Lack of training courses offered by the university. - Difficulty in learning the computerized accounting program. - There is a gap between accounting education and - Lack of developmental activities of accounting students' capabilities in communication skills. 2. The current situation of accounting education does not fit with the requirements of the labor market in terms of: - Poor students education level at pre-university teaching stage. - Weak training programs at the undergraduate level. - Poor efficiency of some faculty members. - Private universities do not care about international standards. - University accounting education is not interested in using 3. There is a possibility to achieve future improvements in accounting education in Jordanian private universities through: - Training opportunities should be provided to accounting students in specialized companies. - Accounting education must be directed to integrate with other curricula e.g. information system and technology. - should be given case studies related to real companies. - Accounting study plans should improve student s efficiency in communication skills. - Technology and electronic learning should be used in accounting education process. 84

7 References Arabic: i. Al Hubaiti, Qasem Mohsen and Ramo, Waheed, (2004) The Importance of Accounting Education and Profession and Scientific Research to serve the Economic Development: Case Study of Iraq, Future Researches Journal, Vol.9. ii. -Al Rwaiti, Awad Ahmed (2007), The availability of the requirement of quality accounting education, the second Scientific Conference on Research on Accounting Education in Libya: Reality and prospects for Development, Libya, Tripoli. iii. -Al Futami, Mohammed Muftah, (2010), The Role of Accounting education in the refinement of graduates with the skills necessary for the labor market, Libya. iv. -Esan, Salheh Abdullah, (2006), Compatibility of the Output of Higher Education Development in the Sultanate of Oman. Paper Presented to the Regional Workshop on the Response of Education to the Requirements of Social Development, the Islamic Organization for Education, Science and Culture, Muscat. v. -Gharbiah, Salim Mohammed, (1990), The Importance of Integration Between Scientific Research, Profession, and Accounting Education, Economic Research Journal, No. 2 vi. -Hilles, Salim Abdullah, (2005), Evaluating the Effectiveness of Teaching in the Accounting Department of the Islamic University From a student's point of view, Journal of the Islamic University, a Series of Humanitarian Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1 - Matter, Mohammed, (1999), Accounting Education and the Challenges of the Future, Journal of Public Administration, vol. 38, No. 4 vii. -Qasem, A.M. and Shabitah. M. F. (2007), The Impact of Developments in Information Technology in the Accounting Curriculum: Analytical Study of Accounting in Syrian Universities, Damascus University Journal, vol. 23, No. 2 viii. -Rahahleh, Mohammed Yaseen, (2008), Evaluation of Teaching Accounting at Al al-bayt University, Al Manarah Journal, volume 14, No.1 ix. English - Ataman, U, (2002) MuhasebeEgitimindeYenidenYapilanmaOnerileri, xvii. TurkiyeMuhasebeKongresi, Istanbul, TURMOB Yayinlan199. x. -Albrecht, S.W, and Sack, R.J, (2000), Accounting Education Charting the Course through a Perilous Future, American Accounting Association, Chicago, IL. xi. -Demerkan, S, (2001),MuhasebeEgitimYontemleri,XX.Turkiye MuhasebeEgitmiSempozyumu,Antalya. xii. -International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) (2003), IESI: Entry Requirements to A program of Professional Accounting Education, Education Committee, October, xiii. -ElifYucel, MehlikaSarac, AdemCabuk, (2012), Accounting Education in Turkey and Professional Accountant Candidates Expectations From Accounting Education: Uludag University Application, Business and Economics Research Journal, Vol.3 85

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