The Effects of Globalization on Both Accounting Profession and Education

July 6, 2017

Innovations in technology has catapulted the financial district into a global market. Globalization has had a large influence on the way businesses conduct business. Firms are not only responsible for being privy to information involving consumers in their own backyard but also understanding consumer culture as well as economic, political, and legal structures that exist in other countries. Due to the influence globalization has had on businesses, it has changed the expectations that are required of incoming business students and their education. More specifically, accounting students are being impacted by the changes globalization has influenced the market with. These students are challenged more particularly throughout their undergraduate years to understand not only the rules and regulations of GAAP (General Accepted Accounting Principles) but also the standards set forth by the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards). Within the accounting sphere, the primary focus has been on external reporting which involve the preparation of financial statements and auditing. However, due to the ever changing world of the global market, future accountants are required to possess perspectives that influence both external and internal reporting. The market will continue to change due to the fast paced journey of information making globalization an important factor in accounting education.

Businesses in the United States have largely adopted GAAP which is a guide to how business are to construct financial information to produce statements. GAAP has been useful in the last couple of years because it facilitates the way businesses in the U.S. communicate with each other. However, in the global environment, GAAP proves to be burdensome for most companies. Overseas, they have adopted IFRS which is another guide to producing financial information which aids foreign companies with communicate amongst each other. Most countries use IFRS as a basis for the way business transactions are conducted. Since most of the world is using IFRS as the standard it leaves the U.S. with the tedious task of having to incorporate two different principles to conduct business. In the article, “How Globalization is Affecting U.S. Accountants” by Bruce Pounder, Pounder states that “U.S. accountants will find themselves at a severe disadvantage to the many foreign accounting professionals who have already mastered international accounting standards and who are therefore much better-positioned to take advantage of rapidly growing career opportunities in China, India, and other emerging economies” (Pounder, 2007, p. 3). He then goes on to predict that as GAAP becomes more overshadowed by IFRS, U.S. accountants will find their skills and knowledge becoming obsolete. Therefore, IFRS has become more integrated into the accounting curriculum for education. Students are required to understand not only GAAP but IFRS and the changes that occur when working with both. By involving IFRS into the learning process, students will be prepared to later take the CPA Exam which has recently been updated to include information about IFRS in the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section. Students are becoming better equipped with skills and information that will make them more marketable and efficient in the globalized business environment.

In the U.S. economy, a thriving financial sector is usually supported by a strong public accounting and auditing firms. Therefore, the focus over recent years has been to ensure that accountants excel at compiling information involving a company’s assets, liabilities, equity, investments, etc. However, due to globalization, external accounting practices aren’t as valued if internal practices are not also implicated. Internal practices are important because it shapes the way businesses reach their customers in the foreign market. Authors Paul Danos and Richard L. Measelle stated in their article, “Globalization of the Business Environment: Implications for Accounting Profession and Business Education”, that “In a competitive global market place, the internal accountant must be sensitive to what drives the costs of products and he/she must work with production and marketing people to rationalize all cost accounting procedures” (Danos, 1990, p. 79). The responsibilities of the internal accountant is becoming more critical to the success of businesses. For a business wanting to expand into foreign territory, cost accounting is used to accurately develop product price information, location of manufacturing facilities, picking suppliers, etc. Due to these factors, internal accountants have to be familiar with regulations across borders, tax treatments, and currency conversion costs. When it comes to public accounting, auditors must be heavily versed in global accounting standards because “the world’s economies are becoming increasingly interdependent… ” (Needles, 2010, p. 602) according to Belverd E. Needles Jr. author of the article “Accounting Education: The Impact of Globalization”. The author goes on to encourage global standards for auditors because it strengthens their practices by only having to be familiar with those regulations. In order to be well versed in the global market, accounting students are advised to take courses specifically designed to analyze different cultures, languages, and political factors that influence societies.

Globalization has influenced many changes that have taken place in both the accounting profession and education. Students are now exposed to problems that occur in the global market and how to go about solving them. Not only are these students expected to understand all the mathematics and jargon involved with the business world, but they are also expected to have a good sense of foreign consumer culture as well as the regulations bound to each country. Implemented with these skills, students will be able to excel in the new business world.

References

Danos, P., & Measelle, R. L. (1990). Globalization of the Business Environment: Implications for the Accounting Profession and Business Education. Human Resource Management, 29(1), 77-84
Needles, B. E. (2010). Accounting Education: The Impact of Globalization. Accounting Education, 19(6), 601-605. doi: 10.1080/09639284.2010.501578
Pounder, B. (2007). How Globalization is Affecting U.S. Accountants. Montvale: Institute of Management Accountants.

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