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Student Perception of Communication in Public Accounting

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As an accounting major, I am very interested in society's view of the accountant. The well-known stereotype of accountants is that they are cold, non-sociable, and boring. All types of accountants are often viewed doing bookkeeper work. In reality, different

As an accounting major, I am very interested in society's view of the accountant. The well-known stereotype of accountants is that they are cold, non-sociable, and boring. All types of accountants are often viewed doing bookkeeper work. In reality, different types of accountants all do various types of work. In public accounting specifically, not only are technical skills important, but communication skills, especially verbal, are extremely important. I wanted to research if accounting majors at Arizona State University perceived verbal communication skills as important to the public accounting profession. More specifically, I wanted to see if the perceived importance of these skills would increase as students progressed in school. I surveyed accounting majors and double majors from four different accounting course levels, which are taken in progressive order. Overall, the results were not as significant as I had expected. Across all course levels, students rated verbal communication skills highly. There was a slight increase in the average rating across the courses, but it dropped off at the highest course level. The results of this study may have been influenced by students' past experiences or the way the surveys were designed and/or administered. Despite the fact that the findings did not prove my hypothesis to the degree I had expected, the research and results can still be used to prove that verbal communication skills are a critical part of public accounting and should be integrated more into courses and clubs that accounting majors are involved in.

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2014-12