Contemporary challenges facing the South African accounting profession: issues of selection, recruitment and transformation.
Coetzee, Stephen Arthur
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COETZEE, S.A. 2016. Contemporary challenges facing the South African accounting profession: issues of selection, recruitment and transformation. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.
This thesis aims to illuminate, through the lens of Murphy’s interpretation of Weber’s theory of social exclusion, contemporary challenges faced by the South African accounting profession pertaining to the shortage of professional accountants. In particular, increasing the throughput of students to the profession (Paper 1), member recruitment (Paper 2) and racial transformation of the profession (Paper 3) are considered. Paper 1 provides additional validity for the technique of biodata-based selection through the use thereof to differentiate between students in a dual medium university who will, or will not, complete their accounting education programmes in a society exhibiting tacit exclusionary closure. The models development suggested that education and language remains a tacit form of social exclusion of Blacks in the South African accounting profession. Paper 2 suggests that SAICA is the students’ preferred choice of professiona l accounting association, regardless of demographic group. The students appear to hold a collective view of the accounting profession. Consequently, in an environment characterized by the significant exclusionary closure achieved by a particular association, competing associations may need to look beyond marketing the attributes of the association to students and perhaps consider challenging the colonization of higher education by the dominant association. Competing associations, with their less onerous education requirements, should additionally consider promoting the alternate pathways to the profession they may offer to the Black students tacitly excluded from the dominant association, SAICA, on the basis of their inability to access to a quality education. An ideological challenge facing professional accounting associations in post-Apartheid South Africa, is racial transformation of the profession. Paper 3 explored the success or otherwise of the transformation projects implemented by SAICA through the lens of impression management and the use of voluntary disclosure. Given the disconnect between the slow pace of racial transformation achieved and the perceived ‘success’ of the profession transformation initiatives both in South Africa and abroad, it is suggested that the projects may have served more as a tool to manage the state’s impression of transformation, rather than achieving sufficient student outputs to redress the racial imbalances in the profession. Consequently, significant expansion and / or revision of these projects are encouraged.