Work ready graduates for Australian small and medium Accounting firms


  • Sharon Hayes Griffith University
  • Brett Freudenberg Griffith University
  • Deborah Delaney


Approximately 40% of graduate recruitment in Australia is by small and medium accounting (SMA) firms, firms which can face different constraints compared to their larger counterparts. Given the attributes of SMA firms it is important to appreciate what they consider makes a work ready graduate. This article reports the findings of a study that explores what makes a graduate work ready when commencing employment within an Australian SMA firm. The findings suggest that a work ready graduate for an SMA firm has a working knowledge and understanding of business accounting software programs, taxation knowledge and tax software skills. Additionally, there is a high emphasis on communication and interpersonal skills. This raises the question as to whether current university degrees are providing adequate technical and generic skill development for those graduates seeking employment with SMA firms.


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Author Biographies

Sharon Hayes, Griffith University

Sharon Hayes is a Lecturer at Griffith University. She is currently undertaking a PhD, studying the graduate attributes required by Accounting graduates to commence employment within a small to medium accounting firm as a work-ready graduate. Her research involves developing these work-ready attributes via the delivery of an on campus workplace simulation (Work Integrated Learning) to provide all students with access to a WIL experience.

Brett Freudenberg, Griffith University

Brett Freudenberg is a Professor – Taxation at Griffith University. Brett’s expertise is evidenced by a Fulbright scholarship (2006) and a strong publication record in leading Australian and international journals. His PhD was awarded the CCH-ATTA Doctoral Prize which saw it published as a book in 2011: Tax Flow-Through Companies. Brett’s effectiveness as a teacher has been recognised through five national awards (including the award of two Australian Learning and Teaching Council citations: 2008 & 2011).

Deborah Delaney

Deborah Delaney has held positions at the University of Tasmania and Griffith University. Deborah has extensive experience as a Chartered Accountant in auditing and financial reporting in Australia and the United Kingdom. Deborah offers expertise in the areas of corporate governance, business structures and financial reporting. She also has experience in working with women to develop their leadership capability.


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How to Cite

Hayes, S. ., Freudenberg, B. ., & Delaney, D. (2022). Work ready graduates for Australian small and medium Accounting firms. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 13(1), 1–19. Retrieved from