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Designing Innovative Pedagogy for Complex Accountancy Topics

The overall objective of the project is address a gap in Higher Education by creating an internationally-oriented learning platform in accountancy that facilitates current essential hard and soft skill development for early career professionals.

Graduates planning to work in specialist areas of accountancy require specific competencies. They must develop sound subject-specialist knowledge, professional skills, and professional values, ethics and attitudes during their studies (IAESB, 2015). Such competence cannot be acquired through a didactic concept which involves only traditional lectures, seminars and modes of assessment.

The digital economy is growing much faster than the rest of the economy, but this potential is currently held back by a shortage of skilled graduates. Open vacancies for ICT practitioners cannot be filled, despite the high level of unemployment in Europe. The project will help to close this gap (shortage of up to 900 000 ICT professionals by 2020).

We aim to develop a teaching concept that facilitates the development of all competencies to meet the current and future demands in the Profession and significantly enhance the employability of engaged students. The technological changes in the profession require graduates to be more digitally competent, commercially and internationally aware, analytical and resilient. The teaching concept will to take the changing environment into account. Working as an accountancy professional requires interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving skills, as well as understanding accountancy in different cultures and legislations.

There will be four distinct but integrated sets of case studies with underlying text and on-line learning materials including two data bases. The topics of cases address areas of global and immediate concern, the titles of which are:

IO1 – Combating Aggressive Tax Planning Strategies, Post-BEPS

IO2 – From a story teller to a modeling expert: changing requirements for the accounting of financial instruments

IO3 – Digitalization in Auditing

IO4 – Developing Integrative Learning Resources to examine links in Corporate Governance Mechanisms and tax avoidance practices fostering socially responsible behavior of companies

Partners’ contacts in accounting firms and finance departments of corporations (groups) will be consulted during the project for subject-specific assistance. The applicant and the other partners have close contacts within the Big Four, MNEs and the Professional and Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (e.g. ICAEW, ACCS, CIMA) in the respective countries. This will ensure the professional relevance and practical application of the learning material which will in turn enhance student experience.

The combined subject expertise, and the dedication and enthusiasm in academia of the partners far exceeds the sum of their individual contributions. The richness of past projects that have been developed during the association spanning more than two decades are a testament to the benefit of the extended global network. What we are able to harness through our extended, multi-national network mimic the scenarios and complex issues MNEs face today.

The four transnational meetings and the three Intensive Study Programmes are essential elements of this project to ensure high quality development through collaboration, critical review and testings. The two multiplier events will ensure the final products are disseminated at a higher level than through the respective Partner Institutions. The budget proposed with this application has been very carefully considered and fairly and conservatively sets out the costs of the project.

The Partners of this project have a long history of working together in the development of teaching materials, intensive study programmes, student and staff exchanges, research and other knowledge exchange. We received an EXCELLENT rating and very positive feedback (“…very systematic and excellent…”) from the Austrian National Agency on the completion of our joint project: International Learning Platform in Accountancy (ILPA), Project number: 2014-1AT01-KA203-000965. We intend to deliver another excellent project that will be innovative, open access and widely used.