Original Research

University accounting programmes and the development of Industry 4.0 soft skills

Ben Marx, Ahmed Mohammadali-Haji, Peter A. Lansdell
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 13, No 1 | a470 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v13i1.470 | © 2020 Ben Marx, Ahmed Mohammadali-Haji, Peter A. Lansdell | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 March 2019 | Published: 29 April 2020

About the author(s)

Ben Marx, School of Accounting, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ahmed Mohammadali-Haji, Department of Accountancy, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Peter A. Lansdell, Department of Accountancy, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is anticipated to have a significant impact on the future generation of professional accountants. Accordingly, current and aspirant accountants are expected to acquire and develop soft skills, which will enable them to add value as responsible business leaders and thrive within Industry 4.0.

Research purpose: The overarching purpose of this study was to elicit the perceptions of entry-level chartered accountants in South Africa (CAs [SA]) on the development of soft skills during a university accounting programme, specifically those soft skills demanded by Industry 4.0.

Motivation for the study: Limited research appears to exist with specific focus on the perceptions of entry-level CAs(SA) regarding the development of soft skills during a university accounting programme.

Research approach/design and method: University accounting programmes accredited with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) were the focus of the empirical work. A questionnaire was used to obtain the exploratory results, which yielded a response rate of 40.77%.

Main findings: The quantitative results indicated that the particular accounting programme in question was perceived to have developed most of the soft skills required by Industry 4.0.

Practical/managerial implications: One of the implications of this study is that the university accounting programme providers should place more emphasis on the development of soft skills, specifically those related to Industry 4.0.

Contribution/value-add: The results of this research contribute to the existing body of knowledge by articulating the views of entry-level CAs(SA) on the development of Industry 4.0 soft skills.


Keywords

Industry 4.0; soft skills; entry-level accountants; accounting education; professional competence

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