Integrating the AICPA Core Competencies into Classroom Teaching: A Practitioner's Experiences in Transitioning to Academia

By Wu, Angela Jing | The CPA Journal, August 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Integrating the AICPA Core Competencies into Classroom Teaching: A Practitioner's Experiences in Transitioning to Academia

Wu, Angela Jing, The CPA Journal

In 2004, after working at two Big Four firms and an investment bank, and after starting a business specializing in global opportunities, I became a college professor, teaching introductory and intermediate accounting. During the transition, I noticed differences between practice and the classroom environment. For example, college students are judged by test results, while accounting firm employees are judged by the "results" they deliver to their employers.

Not only are employees required to comprehend concepts; they are judged by three measurements: quality, efficiency, and productivity. Quality means the individual's work requires little or no correction, is error-free, and reflects a professional presentation of the final product. Efficiency measures how fast one delivers the work. (Faster is better: Someone who spends less time than his peers is considered a top performer.) Productivity involves how much one contributes to a firm within a specified timeframe. Billable hours are one measure of employees' performance at the entry level: The more billable hours one logs, the more one is contributing to the firm. The most highly regarded entry-level employees are those who contribute the largest quantity of high-quality work in the least amount of time.

The AICPA defines competency as a set of requisite skills for all students preparing to enter the accounting profession. Since 1999, the AICPA has been providing resources to help educators integrate me skills-based competencies needed by entrylevel accounting professionals. These competencies are always evolving over time, as the accounting profession positions itself higher on the information value chain. The AICPA core competency model (www., issued in 2006, is one source for identifying the determinants of professional success. The framework categorizes competencies as functional (technical competencies most closely aligned with the value contributed by accounting professionals), personal (individual attributes and values), and broad business perspective competencies (understanding internal and external business contexts).

This article reflects upon my experiences as a CPA in both public practice and academia, and my realization of the great importance of certain AICPA core competencies, such as the leverage of technology, lifelong learning, communication, leadership, and teamwork. To help my students develop and enhance these skills, I have adjusted my accounting courses and designed a new accounting pedagogy based on the AICPA core-competencies model. My hope is that, by sharing my industry and teaching experiences, other accounting educators will benefit.

Technology Competency

At one Big Four firm where I worked, employees used sample templates in the "repository," an electronic, firmwide global database of standardized work documents. Before starting an engagement, one retrieved from the repository sample workpapers developed by experts in the firm. The project executors later customized a sample workpaper, based on the client's information, and prepared a final presentation to be delivered to the client. Upon completion of a new project, the project executors modified, perfected, and submitted the revised workpapers to the repository. In this way, successors and colleagues from other offices could leverage work done by the project executors. The repository significantly improved work quality, efficiency, and productivity for the firm as a whole.

In any firm, individuals and the firm benefit from "leveraging" technology, information, and best practices among their peers. The work documents ensure the continuity of the business and the ability of a new employee to serve the clients, even if prior project executors eventually leave the firm. Thus, information- and knowledge-sharing become an ongoing, collaborative process.

To familiarize students with technology, I designed a computerized accounting practice.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Integrating the AICPA Core Competencies into Classroom Teaching: A Practitioner's Experiences in Transitioning to Academia


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?