On burritos and the accountancy curriculum (Part 2 of the academic criticism series for the accountancy program)

Just recently I’ve grown the love for burritos. It does not just give me the satisfaction to have a taste of rice, but it gave me a lot of choices. While I was eating my favourite burrito (courtesy of Pinto, the best burrito that I’ve ever had) I realized how we’ve made a mess out of the BSA program by adding everything that schools want and removing what they felt isn’t necessary. This custom-made burrito is good for personal taste, but one size just doesn’t fit for all.

Look back

Yesterday we talked about the corruption of the accountancy program in the Philippines and the main issues identified for these blog postings. I asked what went wrong and what must be done, I don’t have the exact answer to these questions but I do have my personal perspective which might not necessarily be agreeable to all. But then, this is a blog and not a scholarly work, just who am I to public scholarly work?

III. Curriculum

The accountancy program in the Philippines is heavily driven by the publication by the Board of Accountancy (a dummy regulatory body acting under the shadow of the futile Professional Regulation Commission) entitled Revised CPA Licensure Examination Syllabi which was last revised in 2006. Further, the Commission on Higher Education, through its wisdom, if any, issued Memorandum Order No. 03 Series of 2007 providing the minimum academic units for the completion of the BSA degree.

As discussed above, the accountancy curriculum in the Philippines is driven by two main official documents providing the bare minimum curriculum. Both publications should have already been archived if not scrapped. As of this writing, I am pretty sure that we are already in 2015 and both publications have at least an age of 8 year from today (definitely older than 8 years since the development of a curriculum is not something that suddenly pops out of their ingenious brains).

Something is very wrong here. The year 2006 marked the first time adoption of IFRS in the Philippines and since then a lot of exchanges and developments have occurred in the ASEAN region. We talked a lot about free exchange of resources in the ASEAN region including professionals within the region, I revisited how far the professional CPAs in the Philippines have been accredited elsewhere since then, I just learned that actually there’s been no real change.

CPAs in the Philippines are not recognized elsewhere even in the ASEAN region and definitely not outside the region. Yes, many CPAs in the Philippines had been working abroad and some are so successful in their careers even though their CPA license in the Philippines is recognized, those are their personal successes. Our regulatory body is TOO futile to build ties for mutual recognition that in fact other less economically successful countries were able to build. But, that’s a side story not related to my current criticism of the academic programs in the country.

Both publications provided a lot of flexibility to universities providing the program. With that flexibility, the wisdom of the rainmaker in a public service (i.e., a university — that is, quite immoral) was to comply with the bare minimum, add a few course units and split some courses to maximize the potential cash inflows from each academic unit per year. Subsequently, universities would invest heavily on hiring professors with the “best” credentials. “Best” in this context will be defined as an instructor who best understands how the board examination works and maximize the learning towards the board examination.

Now that is a problem. Our curriculum and syllabus are driven by board examination and students are trained at the very onset to embrace the board examination as a difficult trickery where you need to train your eyes to spot on every inch of detail to the point that a word or two will be changed to challenge the careless minds.

Summary

Am hitting right now a bird which can no longer fly because of old age. It must die now and be replaced by a peacock with bright plumage. The discussion above highlights some of the concerns regarding the passé curriculum and the following are the key take-aways:

· The curriculum and the syllabus are outdated and somehow our tax monies should be used properly in improving the quality of education;

· The development of curriculum should not be placed in the hands of those who do not understand what the industry or market needs;

· Money earned by adding useless course subjects should be condemned;

· Death should be imposed to those who teach to pass the exam;

· Students who learn to pass the exam should be burned;

· We need to eat burrito but not make it a way of life; and

· Oh there’s a lot more to life than studying…

Conclusion

In the next few days I’ll try to tackle the first concern I raised in Part 1 — that is after I complete my review of financial models for my dearly beloved clients — and try to explore how monkeys with white board markers are creating a society of reviewer reliant chimpanzees.