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A Study of Factors That Influences Accounting Students’ Soft Skills

Autor:   •  November 22, 2017  •  6,865 Words (28 Pages)  •  271 Views

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1.2 Objectives of the Study

This study attempts to identify the characteristics of accounting graduates that public accounting firms perceive to be important. Simultaneously, the importance characteristics from the view of graduating accounting students will also be recognized. The qualities tested in the study are personal attitude, interpersonal skills, communication, responsibility, organizational ability, technical skills and technical knowledge in accounting field. Generally, the objective of the study can be summarized as follows:

Objective 1: To identify the factors that influences the accounting students’ soft skills.

Objective 2: To identify the characteristics that accounting students’ of the university perceived to be important.

Objective 3: To identify the characteristics that Public Accounting Firms perceived to be important.

1.3 Research Question

In order to achieve the above objectives, the study will specifically try to answer the following research questions:

Question 1: What is the factors that influence the accounting students’ soft skills?

Question 2: What are the characteristics that accounting students’ of the university perceived to be important?

Question 3: What are the characteristics of the Public Accounting Firms perceived to be important?

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study is important in order to ascertain public accounting firms perceived in recruiting accounting students. Hopefully, the information gathered from this study will help the students in preparing themselves for employment. It is also hoped the information can help the Public Accounting Firms to fulfill their requirements and they will be able to recruit more employees that possess those requirements.

This study also highlights the differences in views between Public Accounting Firm and accounting students that will provide a strong argument for the university administrators and accounting educators in designing their programs, syllabus and projects in line with the market requirements.

Other than that, this study also provides information on factors that Public Accounting Firms look at in the applicants’ resumes. Hopefully, students can emphasize that information and increase their chances of being called for interviews and finally recruited.

1.5 Limitations of the Study

There are several limitations in this study. First, the samples of employers will be limited to only the Public Accounting Firms that are derived from the record of Practical Training Coordinator. While the samples od students are limited from among the students in University Putra Malaysia only. There are many more public accounting firms in Malaysia and more universities that offer Accounting course throughout Malaysia. Second, the weakness of survey procedure as pointed out by Hassel and Hennessey (1989) was that the survey procedure although capable of providing list of relevant factors that firms use in their hiring process, it cannot guarantee that these factors are those actually used in the decision process.


2.0 Introduction

The chapter will discuss in depth the general views of important characteristics that graduating students must possesses and the different perspectives between employers and other parties regarding the important qualities.

2.1 Definition of Soft Skills

The term soft skills have been around a long time in both business and educational set- tings, in corporate meetings, and in curriculum development (Evenson, 1999). When people think about their skills, they usually reflect on practices that they have perfected, such as keyboarding with speed and accuracy or wiring the electronics in an automotive system. Basically, when individuals use the term hard skills, they typically are referring to the definition of skill as defined by Random House Dictionary; the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, to do something well; competent excellence in performance; and a craft, trade, or job requiring manual dexterity or special training in which a person has competence and experience. Hard skills are those achievements that are included on a resumé, such as education, work experience, knowledge, and level of expertise. Examples of hard skills include job skills like typing, writing, math, reading, and the ability to use software programs (Investopedia, 2012).

The real soft skills definition is not about skills in the traditional sense. The Collins English Dictionary defines the term soft skills as “desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude”. Soft skills are character traits, attitudes, and behaviors, rather than technical aptitude or knowledge. Soft skills are the intangible, nontechnical, personality-specific skills that determine one’s strengths as a leader, facilitator, mediator, and negotiator.

Soft skills are character traits that enhance a person’s interactions, job performance, and career prospects (Parsons, 2008). The greatest feature of soft skills is that the application of these skills is not limited to one’s profession. Soft skills are continually developed through practical application during one’s approach toward everyday life and the workplace (Arkansas Department of Education, 2007; Magazine, 2003). Unlike hard skills, which are about a person’s skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are interpersonal and broadly applicable (Parsons, 2008).

2.1.1 Soft Skills Include More Than people Skills

People skills are a core component of soft skills (Cafasso, 1996; Klaus, 2010). People skills are the interpersonal attributes that characterize a person’s relationships with others. Some researchers note that interpersonal skills are the most important skills at all levels of the job (Sheikh, 2009; Smith, 2007). While many authors equate interpersonal skills with soft skills (James & James, 2004; Perreault, 2004), interpersonal skills are only one facet of soft skills. In addition to interpersonal skills,


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