ABSTRACT: Global commerce has undergone massive changes over the last two decades. No less so has the worldwide public accounting profession. We have seen two market crashes in the span of eight years, a host of financial reporting fiascoes, and the demise of Arthur Andersen. Historical cost-based accounting is giving way to fair-value accounting, and International Financial Reporting Standards are replacing national rules and regulations. And, yet, not since the Accounting Education Change Commission 20 years ago has there been a significant nationwide dialog regarding changing societal needs and the adequacy of our collegiate accounting programs to meet those needs. With this void in mind, the Education Committee of the American Accounting Association launched in 2008 an initiative to ignite a nationwide dialog of practitioners, academics, and other prominent stakeholders to assess the quality and level of satisfaction with current Master’s of Accountancy programs, the relevance of current coursework, and to identify and prioritize future curriculum initiatives. The first phase of that initiative was a survey conducted in the late spring of 2009 of more than 500 recent graduates of Master’s of Accountancy programs (auditors with two to six years experience); this article reports the findings of that survey. In a nutshell, these young auditors were asked what was right and what was wrong with Master’s of Accountancy programs from their perspective. This is a first step in a larger effort to help give direction to program revisions that would best serve the interests of students, the profession, and society. The purpose of the survey is not to definitively resolve outstanding controversies but rather to encourage further necessary debate. Various interpretations of the findings of the survey are inevitable, invited, and welcome. To that end, it is the authors’ intent to raise as many questions in the following pages as those resolved. Over the last decade academics have witnessed an endless litany of suggestions for curriculum changes from individuals, committees, associations, and firms. Unfortunately, those many recommendations have often been conflicting and provide limited, if any, prioritization of what to add to existing curricula and what to withdraw. Furthermore, we acknowledge that while this article does not provide a substantive discussion of the necessarily complimentary roles of university education, continuing professional education, and on-the-job training, such issues must be included in future dialogs.

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