Future-proofing accounting professionals: Ensuring graduate employability and future readiness


  • Marcus Bowles University of Tasmania, Australia http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1022-8239
  • Samrat Ghosh University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Lisa Thomas Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Australia




capabilities, employability, graduate attributes, soft skills, professional capability standards


Key global and Australasian bodies have reported research suggesting the accounting profession is one of the most vulnerable to disruption through automation and changed business models. For universities seeking to improve the employability of graduates and professional bodies seeking to support professional members on a successful lifelong career, the research presented in this paper reconfirmed the need to reappraise the capabilities that would enhance professional practice and lead to sustained careers. This report presents the findings from a validation process across Australia and New Zealand that includes 2,074 responses to a survey conducted by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. The report confirms 24 capabilities, including six considered essential requirements for every professional seeking to work in accounting, finance, and related work roles. The findings provide evidence that these capabilities, in contrast to recent reports suggesting employment opportunities for accounting graduates are in decline, can create opportunities for sustainable careers. The validation project and survey results provide unexpected insight into the capabilities of different age groups and professionals at different career stages that are considered important. The paper outlines how this research will not only inform continuing professional education for members but also help refine the design of post-graduate curriculum and continuing professional development.


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Author Biographies

Marcus Bowles, University of Tasmania, Australia

Marcus Bowles is an Adjunct professor at The Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching, University of Tasmania. Since 1992 his work has centred on completing strategic foresighting, leadership frameworks, organisational agility and future workforce planning consultancies with corporate, government, professional and educational organisations. Parallel to work undertaken with UTAS, he is also director of The Institute for Working Futures (www.workingfutures.com.au) and holds a honorary professorial position with the Centre for Workforce Futures at Macquarie University.

Samrat Ghosh, University of Tasmania, Australia

Samrat Ghosh is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Tasmania (UTAS).  His current research focuses on investigating the impact of authentic pedagogical practices in education and training to raise employability skills and enhance student engagement. He was awarded the UTAS Teaching Merit Certificate in 2014. He has a particular focus on developing leadership and managerial skills in students and is the official social media manager of the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU).

Lisa Thomas, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Australia

Lisa Thomas is the Manager of Learning Initiatives at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. She is the project lead on the development and implementation of the CA Capability Model. Lisa has extensive experience leading end-to-end strategic initiatives that enhance organisational strategy and responsiveness.  She has shaped workforce strategic plans and capability frameworks with some of Australia’s leading corporate, professional and educational bodies.


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How to Cite

Bowles, M., Ghosh, S., & Thomas, L. (2020). Future-proofing accounting professionals: Ensuring graduate employability and future readiness. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 11(1), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2020vol11no1art886