DO LITHUANIAN HIGHER EDUCATION ACCOUNTING PROGRAMS REFLECT ACCOUNTING HARMONIZATION IN THE EU?
Financial accounting is undergoing major changes in the EU and worldwide. Great efforts are placed on adoption of high quality accounting standards for listed companies, public sector organizations as well as small and medium business entities. Being a member of the EU Lithuania is in compliance with the EU incentives in de jure accounting harmonization; however de facto situation in Lithuania is not adequately assessed. One of accounting harmonization related questions is whether Lithuanian higher education provides labor market with market-needs oriented accounting professionals.
The objective of this article is to assess if Lithuanian higher education programs in accounting field is in compliance with EU accounting harmonization outcomes. We analyze if graduates of Accounting programs from Lithuanian Higher Education Institutions are trained to work with different sets of accounting standards—International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and Public Sector Accounting Standards that were adopted in Lithuania as a part of accounting harmonization incentives. To conduct an assessment of research methods by case analysis, comparative analysis has been deployed. We assessed programs goals, learning outcomes and course curriculum of Professional Bachelor, Bachelor and Master level programs in Lithuanian universities and colleges.
Results of the research revealed that de jure accounting harmonization is reflected in Lithuanian higher education Accounting programs. Accounting for listed companies (required to use International Financial Reporting Standards) is given little importance in Lithuanian Accounting programs. According to the analysis of the learning outcomes, graduates of the Accounting programs in Lithuania have a broad profile, but would not be able to work independently with International Financial Reporting Standards. On the other hand, even if regulation of public sector accounting was enforced later, it is included in number of analyzed programs. A number of Professional Bachelor’s programs even offer specialization in this area. Results of the research allow us to conclude that colleges have their niche in preparing accounting specialist for local labor market and their positioning is relatively strong, concerning public sector accounting. Meanwhile first and second level universities’ programs could be strengthened toward international accounting to provide labor market with professionals in this area.
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