Suzanne Cory, Thomas Madison and Thomas Persillin recently conducted a survey of Texas Society of CPA members, South Texas IMA members and employers who had recently interviewed students of St. Mary's University. Survey participants were asked to rate the importance of accounting courses and cite skills which they desired entering accountants to have when they first came to work. Rating high among respondents were fluency in computer spreadsheet applications and interpersonal skills such as ability to work in teams, professional demeanor and written and oral communication skills. Additional findings included an emphasis on intermediate financial knowledge compared to auditing knowledge and the growing importance of computer skills.
Ms. Cory's comments should be etched on the minds of accounting juniors and seniors--in fact, it would not be unreasonable to request from Dr. Cory a summary of the paper to see if there were other available tidbits of value. Though specific priorities may vary by region, I am not really surprised to see interpersonal skills and technological fluency rate almost as high as expertise in accounting and tax knowledge.