Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Interest in the Management Accounting Profession: Accounting Students' Perceptions in Jordanian Universities

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Interest in the Management Accounting Profession: Accounting Students' Perceptions in Jordanian Universities

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study is a first attempt seeking to explore perceptions of accounting students regarding their interest in the management accounting profession. Furthermore, this study aims to discuss and clarify the main factors that have already influenced and may influence in future students' interest to pursue a professional qualification in management accounting. The study has considered and used the theory of planned behaviour in examining the factors that influence students' interest to major or not to major in a particular discipline. The sample of this exploratory study was final year accounting students of two reputable Jordanian universities. Based on a questionnaire survey, data of 118 respondents were used for analysis. The study's findings show that accounting students prefer public accounting as their first choice of career, rather than management accounting. Job opportunities and income were the most important factors that discouraged students to be interested in the management accounting profession. On the other hand, it was suggested that support from companies to pursue the management accounting profession was the most important factor suggested to enhance students' interest in this branch of the accounting profession.

Keywords: Interest, Management accounting, Jordanian universities, Accounting students

1. Introduction

Management accounting as a discipline, profession and practice has recently been given a considerable amount of unwanted attention, since renowned accounting academics have considered both the academic discipline and the professional practice as a 'dated' concept (Langfield-Smith, 2008; Milne et al., 2008; Otley, 2008). Otley (2008), for instance, suggests that financial management and analysis exist but that middle management often undertake such analyses themselves, thus do not need a designated accounting professional for this purpose. At the same time, in the modern and dynamically global business environment, the possession of accurate accounting information becomes vital, especially in circumstances of intense global competition, scarce resources, accelerating technological changes, and the existence of varying concerns for business managers (such as accountability, transparency, corporate governance, business ethics). In light of these factors, the need for financial management and analysis is apparent, yet simultaneously the perceived relevance of management accounting appears to be diminishing (Otley, 2008). Baldvinsdottir et al. (2010), on the other hand, call for more research on management accounting in practice, which this paper seeks to answer to by investigating how Jordanian accounting students perceive the opportunity to become a management accountant in practice.

In general, there is less emphasis on and interest in the management accounting profession as compared to the financial accounting profession, which might be justified by the two main differentiating factors: managerial accounting is meant for internal use, for instance in support of planning, directing and motivating, controlling and performance evaluation purposes, and it is optional, except for cost calculations, such as production cost (Hopper et al., 2007). Nevertheless, businesses face continuing challenges, such as global competition and the effects of global developments and events, which can affect their profitability, arguably one of the main aims of any for-profit organisation. While Otley (2008) argues that the conceptual category of management accounting appears to be no longer applicable in practice or in academia, the questions arises as to why this is the case. Hoffjan et al. (2009) argue that culture and perceptions of the concept, discipline and profession affect how management accounting practices are adopted and utilised. Otley (2008) does not qualify whether his beliefs apply to all possible management accounting users, but one can assume that primarily the Anglo-Saxon market is concerned. …

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