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The Practical Business Side for Teaching Bookkeeping/Accounting

Apart from the legislative requirements for registered BAS and tax agents, belonging to a recognised professional association has many benefits such as support from highly experienced accountants to ongoing training with all the latest updates, news, help tips and advice. Recently I read an interesting article which only reinforces my findings on the current teachings not only in the accounting profession but also to take it on a broader scale to include bookkeeping.

The article is titled:

What they don’t teach you at accounting school (By Christopher Niesche) and was published in the Institute Public Accountants (IPA) monthly journal. The author points out some issues that concerns*the gap between the theory that students learn at university or TAFE and its practical application” Although his focus is aimed at accountancy the same can be said for bookkeeping. Businesses these days really do look to their accountant and bookkeeper for more than just data entry and basic reporting. Look at it this way; imagine trying to learn to play any type of sport just from reading about it in a book or listening to somebody talk in a class room or watching a video and answering questions online. The only way to really learn is to practice and participate in the real game.

Practical Bookkeeping Skills that are not taught in classroom courses

Just because you have achieved a certificate of attendance in some kind or MYOB or QUICKBOOKS course does not make you a qualified experienced bookkeeper and pass yourself of to perspective employers or businesses as being responsible for handling all aspects of Financial Data. Here is a true example for a job advertisement and typical of the skills required for applicants.

Industry: Accounting

Category: Accounting >> Bookkeeper

Job Type: Permanent / Full Time

Location: Brisbane, Australia

The position that has now become available will see you being responsible for handling all aspects of Financial Data, Input and Reporting. Not only will you be required to handle the day to day running of the Finance division you will also need to be proactive and complete budgetary analysis and reporting.

To be successful with this position you will have and demonstrate the following:

MUST have experience in Financial Management

Experience with MYOB and or Xero Accounting software

Tertiary qualifications highly regarded but not essential

Confident knowledge of all reporting aspects within MYOB

Ability to complete budget analysis for reporting purposes

Strong work ethic with a focus on being a team player

Ability to supervise junior admin staff

Complete a variety of tasks including general administration duties, reception etc. as required

Maintain and manage the CRM to ensure it is constantly updated

Advanced knowledge of Payroll

To be fair there probably has to be a certain amount of hand holding but only in the sense of familiarity and minimal induction time for in today’s economical climate unlike the days of old most companies cannot afford unproductive downtime, mistakes or incompetence. And in any profession that deals with money, facts and figures, attention to detail and accuracy is most essential so you really need to hit the ground running.

So I guess to try and sum it all up it’s the old catch twenty two, how do you get the experience without on the job training, the article finishes up by saying this “Macquarie University has started to send its accountancy students out into the workplace to get on-the-job experience as part of their course. But she isn’t sure how much of this practical training can be taught at university itself. “While we can prepare them with the generic skills, the employers also have some responsibility for training,”

“It comprises a set of skills that enable accountants to perform better in a variety of functions, including leadership, business growth, team building and client relations,” the academics write in their paper, Generic Skills And Emotional Intelligence In Accounting Education: A Proposed Conceptual Schema Of Commonalities And Differences.” Although academic programs have traditionally focused on core competences, there is a growing demand for students to have a rounded education that enables them to be effective leaders, team members, clear communicators, personable, flexible and emotionally aware.”