Grant Thornton Survey Reveals a Deficiency in New Accounting Professionals' Critical Thinking Skills
pic credit: toothpaste for dinner
Grant Thornton has released a new report called The evolving accounting talent profile that shows a serious lack of faith in candidates' ability to problem solve and think critically. For those of us concerned about the transition to IFRS in the United States, it only solidifies our view since we all know IFRS is more principles-based and therefore requires an excellent ability to interpret rather than be spoon-fed GAAP's clunky rules. The P in GAAP may stand for principles but if this survey is any true reflection of the industry, we have a long way to go before we can say we're ready for international standards.
Fifty-five percent of survey respondents thought that the lack of employees with the necessary soft skills – communication, critical thinking, and problem solving abilities – was the most significant challenge in recruiting seasoned accounting professionals.
Gee, now why would that be? Is it because we're short on qualified accounting professors who actually care about incubating brilliant little future CPAs? Is it because our standards are so low we no longer care whether our accountants can think for themselves? Is it because there is no proverbial carrot to hang in front of accountants that might encourage them to think bigger and outside of the box? Is it because the industry itself has stifled innovation to the point of encouraging complacency and less-than-stellar performance? Is it because the ultra-complacent Big 87654 have a monopoly on accounting education simply because they can afford to put whatever they want in the curricula?
Or worse, is it that we just don't care?
I want the accountants to tell me. My opinion may get me kicked out of my cozy little spot here on the fringes of the industry.