AACSB announces new standards for accounting programs

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The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business announced its new accounting accreditation standards on Monday, meant to guide business schools on how to model their accounting programs to match the growing changes in the modern business landscape.

The standards were approved by the AACSB Accounting Accreditation Council on April 23, 2018, at the organization's International Conference and Annual Meeting.

"This move signals a major shift in the current culture and mindset of accreditation to what we envision for the future," said AACSB executive vice president and chief accreditation officer Stephanie Bryant in a statement. "It brings academia and practice much closer together. Practitioners will be active participants, shaping the curriculum in accounting programs to reflect the practical skills and know-how that industry is looking for in new graduates."

The announcement follows 18 months of planning via an Accounting Accreditation Task Force consisting of 19 accounting educators and practitioners, including various members of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, the Institute of Management Accountants, the American Institute of CPAs, and public accounting firms. The new standards represent more modern improvements to the current AACSB accounting accreditation standards.

"In the past, accounting standards were compliance-oriented with an all-academic peer review process," stated Mark Higgins, the Edward Jones Dean and professor of accounting at Saint Louis University's Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. "With the new standards, we still have a compliance benchmark, but the focus is on schools receiving peer consultative guidance with both academics and accounting practitioners comprising the peer review teams."

"The new standards recognize that insights from practitioners add value to the accounting accreditation process," said Yvonne Hinson, academic in residence at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, in a statement. "The resulting principles-based, outcomes-driven approach will better prepare students to enter our rapidly changing profession."

Eight hundred and ten institutions across 53 countries and territories currently hold AACSB accreditation, with 186 of those institutions, mostly in the United States, possessing supplemental AACSB Accreditation for their accounting programs.

The new accounting standards will be introduced on a rolling cycle. An initial group of volunteer schools will be the first to be reviewed in Spring 2019, with all other schools remaining under the 2013 standards during that time. For the 2019–20 academic year, schools will choose between the old or new standards. All schools will adopt the new standards by 2020-21.

For more information, head to the AACSB's site here.

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