Accounting academics’ perceptions of the effect of accreditation on UK accounting degrees

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Students graduating from undergraduate accounting degree programmes in the UK are eligible for and attracted by accreditation available from professional accountancy body (PAB) examinations. The study reviews factual information available from PAB websites to confirm that virtually all accounting degrees in the UK have accreditation, and many are accredited with two or more PABs. By interviewing 18 accounting academics from a cross section of UK universities, this study verifies the factual information and confirms views expressed in the literature regarding the constraining nature of accreditation on UK accounting degrees. The interviewees confirmed that accreditation is seen as essential for student recruitment to degree programmes and that it leads to degree programmes imitating professional syllabi and examinations, resulting in technical content and didactic methods, which in turns crowds out broader educational activity. While providing a consistent structure and approach to university accounting education in the UK, the consensus view is that accreditation constrains degree programmes leading to a missed opportunity to provide a wider liberal education. It is also found that the legitimacy of awarding exemptions to students with less than good honours should be questioned.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-521
Number of pages21
JournalAccounting Education
Issue number5-6
Early online date4 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Accounting education
  • accreditation
  • professional accountancy bodies
  • liberal education
  • UK accounting degrees

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