Professional skills development during a period of practical experience: Perceptions of accounting trainees

Peter Lansdell, Ben Marx, Ahmed Mohammadali-Haji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Constant changes in the business environment require from inter alia, Chartered Accountants in South Africa (CA(SA)s) to develop professional skills alongside technical accountancy knowledge. These skills are a crucial component of well-rounded business leaders who are able to add value to an organisation. Practical experience is often suggested to be more effective in developing certain professional skills when compared to the development thereof in a university accounting degree (accounting programme). Practical experience in a firm before entry into the Chartered Accountancy profession (CA profession) is therefore investigated to explore the professional skills perceived to be developed during this period while gaining practical experience. The data was collected by means of a questionnaire distributed to entry-level CA(SA)s entering the CA profession in 2017. The results indicate that a period of practical experience is seen as effective in developing professional skills. The study also established that the size of the firm in which the practical experience is obtained does not have any influence on the development of professional skills. However, the industry in which practical experience is obtained, as well as the interrelationship between firm size and industry, does have an influence on the development of skills. This paper contributes to the debate on South African entry-level CA(SA)s’ professional skills, from the perspective of a developing country which is recognised for its pre-eminence in CA education and training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-139
Number of pages25
JournalSouth African Journal of Accounting Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2020


  • accountant
  • Accounting Education and Training
  • professional competence
  • professional skills
  • soft skills
  • training programme

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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