The working world has left the days of manually capturing accounting transactions far behind to take advantage of the flexibility, power and automation of accounting software.
Yet many schools have yet to introduce accounting software into the classroom, some for reasons of budget and others because they don’t perceive the value that it adds to the teaching of this important subject.

There is strong evidence that introducing a recognised accounting solution at school level can bring significant benefits to learners. According to a study by Emilio Boulianne of Concordia University in Quebec, Canada, students who first completed an accounting course manually and then completed the same course using accounting software experienced the best knowledge acquisition.

Meanwhile, students who completed the course using only the software experienced better knowledge acquisition than students who completed the course only manually. “This illustrates that software can play a big role in helping accounting students acquire accounting skills and knowledge,” says Daryl Blundell, GM of Sage Pastel Accounting.

What’s more, says Blundell, introducing technology into the accounting classroom introduces an element of fun to the subject and makes it seem more attractive to tech-savvy learners. It helps learners become more engaged with the subject because they are so accustomed to technology in their everyday lives.

This is especially the case when the accounting curriculum makes use of today’s slick, attractive cloud solutions, says Blundell. Schoolchildren can even access their work from a tablet or smartphone; giving them a similar experience to the consumer apps they know and love so well, he adds. “This sort of technology makes accounting more exciting and interesting to today’s learner,” he says.

The most important reason, however, to introduce accounting software at school level is that it helps learners to prepare for tertiary education and the working world. Blundell notes that most commerce degrees and bookkeeping certifications today place a heavy emphasis on computerisation, so students who arrive with knowledge of a software package will have an edge.

“In the working world, meanwhile, there are very few businesses left that do not have accounting software in place. In addition to preparing school learners to work or study in the field of accounting, making them familiar with an accounting package helps them to develop general computer literacy, critical thinking, and analytical skills,” says Blundell.

“We see accounting as a life skills subject. Schools should not only be teaching learners to pass the grade 12 exam, but also provide them with the opportunity to take their place in the knowledge economy. What they learn in the accounting classroom is the most basic and important business discipline of all, and a skill that will serve them well in nearly any career.”

Accounting is a great career opportunity for school leavers because there is a shortage of qualified professionals in this field. Accounting prepares youngsters for a range of roles in business and makes them highly employable. But it also gives them the skills to run their own small businesses and take charge of their personal financial destiny, says Blundell.

Sage Pastel Accounting has a longstanding and successful initiative for teaching basic computerised accounting and bookkeeping to learners in grades 8 to 12. The Sage Pastel Certified School Programme aims to teach learners how to use a computerised accounting solution in line with the accounting curriculum.