To provide optimal learning and career outcomes for accounting graduates, we propose complementing competency-based frameworks of accounting education with the cultivation of relevant mindsets. Building on insights from research in cognitive psychology, organizational leadership, and education, we define a mindset as a combination of cognitive filters and processes through which professionals interpret their professional environments and execute their professional responsibilities. We review the professional and academic literature and identify five key mindsets relevant for accounting graduates. Given the overarching obligation of accountants to protect the public trust, we treat the “public interest mindset” (focus on “we” versus “I,” integrity, and professionalism) as foundational in the accounting profession. The four other key mindsets include (1) growth, (2) professional skepticism, (3) analytical/digital, and (4) global. We provide definitions of these mindsets, discuss their relevance for accounting, and suggest potential pedagogical approaches for their integration into 21st century accounting education.

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