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Tam, T 2011, 'The relevant information technology knowledge and skills for accounting graduates in New Zealand', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright T Tam 2011


Rapid advances in information technology (IT) have produced rapid changes to the ways in which businesses are operated. Accountants are involved in wide-ranging roles in business and it is important for them to possess IT knowledge and skills relevant to their roles to provide competent and professional services. However, the field of IT is wide and not all IT knowledge and skills are relevant to an accountant. This brings up the questions: What kind of IT knowledge and skills do accountants need? What are the entry-level IT skills and knowledge that accounting educators should provide?

A literature review has revealed that there are issues in accounting education. A number of studies have concluded that accounting education does not provide graduates with the relevant IT knowledge and skills for them to be productive in the real world. There are ample studies on IT knowledge and skills requirements for accountants. However, some focus on generic IT skills while others centre on IT knowledge in the accounting domain. Guidelines on IT competencies for accountants have also been published by professional accounting bodies, but these guidelines are found to be either too ambitious or lack specificity and are not helpful for accounting educators.

The objective of the research is to produce a holistic set of IT knowledge and skills relevant to New Zealand accounting graduates and to develop a model for the delivery of IT content in an accounting curriculum. The theoretical framework of this research is based on human capital theory and stakeholder theory. The research is composed of a pilot study and a main study. The pilot study employed six experts in the accounting field using the Delphi method to develop the questionnaire for the main study. The questionnaire was then sent to 23 accounting practitioners prior to interviewing each participant individually.

The study identified 18 IT topics for accounting graduates categorised into varying degrees of importance. Of these 18 topics, spreadsheet, accounting systems/software, Internet tools and research ability stand out as the most important and most used IT tools for accounting practitioners. The findings from this study also led to the development of a model for delivery of IT content named by the researcher as the INDUCTION–DIFFUSION–ASSIMILATION Model.