Training Young Accountants

There are two problems that the accounting profession has had for many years. One is that we downplay the importance of technology and do not include good technology training in the educational programs. That is increasingly untenable. The other somewhat related issue is that we educate young accountants in the advanced elements of management, strategy and professional work, but when they gain employment, they are assigned the basic, routine, (let’s face it, dull) tasks. 

So we have a long history of keen bright young people entering the profession and then quickly becoming disillusioned at what they are doing and moving on to something else. To make matters worse, the new entrants are sometimes treated as inexpensive (no longer cheap labour but still less costly than more advanced personnel) labour to do the more menial tasks. So they get stuck in boring jobs, don’t learn much and don’t get to apply the knowledge they have accumulated in their educational and training programs.

There are several remedies available. One is to make up for the lack of technology training. Young people are very good with technology, but there are things they need to learn for a business environment. A big plus is they learn technology very, very quickly. Another thing is to make sure they are assigned to jobs that make use of their education. Some people reject this notion by saying they do not have the maturity and experience to take on advanced management jobs. That may be true, but to abandon them to less challenging jobs is not a responsible course of action. They can participate in higher level tasks with an appropriate level of mentoring.

Bringing together the undisputed prowess of young people with technology and involvement with tasks involving advanced strategy and management is a great way to use and develop their skills; a win-win for them and their employers.  

What’s needed is more and better technology training and excellent mentoring.


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