Prishtina, September 15, 2015 — High-quality and reliable financial statements are a key pre-condition for a firm’s ability to borrow at lowest possible interest rate and, in the aggregate, Kosovo’s efforts to generate more dynamic rates of “endogenous” growth. Against the backdrop, the EU-REPARIS Accounting and Audit Education Community of Practice (EduCoP) group, with experts from all neighboring countries in the Western Balkans, discussed the increasingly central role of universities in the formal education of future accounting and auditing professionals.
The workshop on “Achieving Excellence in Education: Aligning University Accounting Curricula to International Benchmarks” highlighted the importance of the bachelor’s degree in the overall Initial Professional Development of accountants and auditors. It highlighted the potential of the profiling of university curricula to reduce existing duplication between syllabus planning, benchmarking and accreditation, whilst providing useful monitoring tools for changing syllabi, when needed, and closing identified gaps in teaching these subjects.
“With the increased need to apply international standards, with an increasingly more complicated global and domestic economy, it becomes central to ensure that certified accountants and auditors are indeed ‘good’,” said Jan-Peter Olters, World Bank Country Manager for Kosovo. “In accordance with the broader education sector reform efforts, universities will need to ensure the quality and relevance of corresponding curricula.”
In order to deliver and sustain well-equipped accounting and auditing professionals, it is critical that university curricula, particularly at the bachelor’s level, are aligned to the needs of the profession. In this context, benchmarking studies have been carried out in all EU-REPARIS countries to address the learning outcomes appropriate to bachelor level accounting programs and investigate the gap with internationally recognized benchmarks.
During the workshop, the results of the Benchmarking Educational Studies for the University of Prishtina, the University of Tirana (Albania), the University of Podgorica (Montenegro), and the University of Banja Luka (Bosnia-Hercegovina) were presented and discussed. The results of studies in three other universities of EU-REPARIS countries, namely the University of Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina), the University of Skopje (Macedonia), and the University of Belgrade (Serbia), were disseminated at a preceding workshop held in June in Skopje.
Based on the results of this regional benchmarking analysis and profiling of undergraduate accounting curricula, participants identified key areas for improvements in university education, resources, and facilitations needed, as well as constrains and challenges for reforms.
The EU REPARIS is a program financed by the EU and implemented regionally by World Bank’s Center for Financial Reporting Reform.