Upward Mobility In Public Accounting: A Gender-Specific Student Perspective

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Joseph M. Larkin


public accounting, upward mobility, critical success factors, gender, differences


This paper reports the results of a survey of 552 accounting majors from seven colleges and universities. Respondents were asked their opinions in four areas: general interest in entering public accounting, factors influencing progress toward partnership, expected overtime hours and the perceived importance of critical success factors and requisite capabilities necessary for ascendency to partnership. Given that approximately 50 percent of todays accounting graduates are female, the results were analyzed across gender to discern any significant differences. Among the most notable difference found was that females rated nine of the 11 critical success factors as more important than their male counterparts. The results should be of interest to educators. Although not bound by student perceptions, it is helpful to be aware of them. Where their expectations are unrealistic, educators can provide counsel and a clearer understanding of the requisite skills and capabilities necessary for success in public accounting.


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