The factors influencing students’ career choices towards the accounting profession in Sweden

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Handelshögskolan (from 2013); Karlstads universitet/Handelshögskolan (from 2013)

Abstract: Purpose – This thesis aimed at investigating students’ beliefs influencing their personal attitudes and subjective norms not to choose the accounting profession by using the simplified Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) model. Theoretical framework – This study used the simplified TRA model to investigate the beliefs that influence students not to choose the accounting profession. From an accounting context, prior research has indicated that, there are intrinsic and extrinsic factors that determine the behavioural beliefs of students about the accounting profession. Likewise, normative beliefs are another construct of the simplified TRA model that influences students’ intentions towards the accounting profession. Methodology – Through a quantitative approach, questionnaires were sent electronically to first and second year students at five major universities in Sweden. In total, 323 students replied to the questionnaire. Since this study focused on students intending to choose business administration, non-business administration students were deleted from the sample giving an actual sample size of 228. The data collected was analyzed in two steps using multiple regression analysis. Findings – The findings of the study confirmed the simplified TRA model. The results showed that both behavioural and normative beliefs influenced students’ intentions not to choose the accounting profession. For behavioral beliefs, no personal interest in accounting, the belief that accounting is boring and the belief that other occupations (for instance, marketing and management) negatively influenced students’ attitudes not to choose the accounting profession. Similarly, for normative beliefs, teachers and peers influenced students’ subjective norms not to choose the accounting profession. Practical implications – The practical implications of this study are two-folded. Firstly, program directors at universities should engage in hiring qualified teachers in accounting, organize supportive activities to encourage students about the accounting profession. Also, program directors should include compulsory internships in the curriculum so that students can learn about the accounting profession. Secondly, former accounting students should get involved in the process of encouraging students about the accounting profession. Originality/value – This paper contributes to the existing literature by highlighting the beliefs influencing the personal attitudes and subjective norms of students not to choose the accounting profession. Therefore, the thesis provides an up-to-date theory about the TRA in the accounting profession in Sweden.

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