With the retirement of Professors Gert Karreman and Hans Verkruijsse, they have concluded their research on the accounting profession, which was aided by NASBA.  Their final report, entitled “A Conceptual Competency Framework for Accountants in Regulated Functions, for Accountants in Business and for Accounting Technicians” was released at the beginning of this year.  It is based on the global development of accountancy education and the current status of recognition of professional qualifications. 

The research team concluded: “…due to globalization and the influence of international standards (including the International Education Standards), convergence between professional accountancy qualifications is happening.  It is up to the stakeholders to find new ways to address recognition of qualifications between different countries.  The principle of substantial equivalence (instead of equality) is a useful, and probably necessary, tool to achieve this objective.”

Their research spanned over two decades, with the project’s first publication in 2002.  Over the years many experts aided their work.  Dr. Karreman was awarded the NASBA Accounting Education Research Grant in 2012 for his work with Dr. Belverd E. Needles on the conceptual model for analyzing accountancy qualifications internationally, which they reported on to NASBA in March 2013.  NASBA’s former director of governmental, international and professional affairs, Linda Biek, now the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs’ director of compliance, was one of the experts thanked by the researchers for her part in the project. 

Drs. Karreman and Verkruijsse ask: “Twenty years after the first study an important question is how well did accountancy education cope with its new environment?”  They observe that International Education Standards are providing a global standard for accounting education and standards like IFRS and ISA are being adopted on a country level.  A competency approach is replacing the theoretical approach to accountancy education.  They believe this type of approach should be furthered “in particular in regard to work in the IT environment.”  Although the professors see recognition of qualifications developing well among countries, they also point out such recognition is lagging for those countries that do not use “some major languages like English and French” or that are outside “regional conglomerates (like the EU).”

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