ABSTRACT: The past decade has been a difficult period in the history of the accounting profession in the U.S. This challenging environment provides an opportunity for the accounting academy, acting as “trustees” for the integrity of the profession, to play a significant role in sustaining and enhancing the profession’s status as a profession. Generally, accounting educators play this role in two ways: through our practice-related scholarship and through our teaching. This paper draws on a recent comparative study of peer professions to offer insights to accounting educators as we seek to sustain the accounting profession specifically through our teaching. One key insight is that accounting education, as professional education, must be broadly formative, encompassing three broad spheres of professional preparation: technical knowledge, practice skills, and, of critical importance, normative purpose and professional identity. Other insights relate to the use of “signature images” of professional identity and “signature pedagogies.” Two specific recommendations are made: First, accounting students should be required to experience and reflect on the meaning and demands of professional accounting practice as a central, continuing feature of their accounting studies. And second, they should be required to participate in significant clinical learning experiences as part of their accounting studies.

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