Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Edward L. Houghton


Edward L. Houghton


David H. Luthy


Donald V. Sisson


Ross R. Allen


Lloyd W. Bartholome


This study was conducted to determine if employers were inclined to discriminate between two-year and four-year educated accountants in making hiring and promotional decisions. In addition, accounting graduates of two-year and four-year institutions were studied to see if there were differences between these two groups in regard to educational programs taken, perceptions of the benefit received from the courses taken, salaries received, and views concerning employer hiring and promotional practices.

This study included three different groups consisting of 39 employers in the private business sector as well as 43 two-year accounting associate degree graduates and 43 bachelor accounting degree graduates. A sample of businesses from the Wasatch-Front Area of the State of Utah was drawn and personal interviews held in order to collect the desired data.

Conclusions based upon the significant differences found during the analyses of the data indicated that employers paid four-year accounting educated graduates higher salaries and believed these graduates did not need as much additional education as two-year graduates when education was a criteria used in determining promotions. Employers indicated, too, that four-year accountants were better prepared educationally to handle "detailed and difficult accounting tasks," as well as "accounting theory and principles."

There was a difference in the accounting educational programs taken between two-year and four-year accounting graduates. Differences were found in 21 courses, with four-year graduates having had more instruction in 19 of these subjects while the two-year graduates had more exposure in two of the courses. The benefits received from courses taken was also viewed differently by accountants.

The four-year graduates earned a significantly higher salary and were given more opportunities for financial assistance in upgrading accounting skill and knowledge.

Conclusions based on similar opinions and views revealed that most employers were willing to hire graduates from postsecondary schools without previous work experience and considered graduates from the various postsecondary educational institutions as being adequately prepared to handle the positions to which they were assigned. Most employers also deduced that graduates did need additional education in certain areas and believed that accounting internships would have been helpful.

Most companies did not have a policy dictating annual salary increases nor job advancement plans for accounting personnel.

Most accountants on the job had been with their current employer between three and four years, and the time spent in their present positions was slightly over two and one-half years.

Most accountants believed that an internship experience would have been beneficial to them prior to their entering the work force and would have been willing to work for a company in connection with their school preparation.