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The Nature and Significance of Listening Skills in Accounting Practice

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Abstract:

While surveys of the employers of accountancy graduates highlight the significance of listening skills, relatively little is known about how such skills are utilised in accounting practice. The present study attempts to address the above lacuna by utilising the findings of in-depth interviews with Australian public accountants about the nature of their communications with their small business owner-manager clients. The small business sector is a significant user of the accounting profession's information and services. The resultant insights, informed by media richness theory, demonstrate the importance that practitioners place on listening skills, the types of listening skills used by practitioners and how these skills are incorporated in the communication practices that practitioners adopt with clients. In particular, the study highlights the application of listening skills at the levels of day-to-day technical communication, strategic client service and relationship development. The paper provides important evidence to convince both accounting educators and students of the need to develop listening skills as part of the accounting curriculum.

Keywords: Listening; accounting education; communication practices; communication skills

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09639284.2011.617062

Affiliations: The University of South Australia, Australia

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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