Thisarticle is a critical review of the article ‘the nature andsignificance of listening skills in accounting practice’ inAccounting Education: An International Journal. The article will besummarized and the key theme of the article will be put intoperspective. This will be followed by a critique of the variousaspects of the article including the structure, its currency,authority, accuracy, objectivity and relevance to accountingpractice. Finally, the critique will review the methodology, resultsinterpretation and analysis. Generally, the article meets thestandards of a peer reviewed journal and successfully addresses theissue.
Thearticle seeks to address the nature and the importance of listeningskills in accounting practice. In accounting profession,communication skills have been emphasized but listening skills havenot been emphasized, despite being part of communication skills. Theauthor establishes in the literature review that, accountants makesignificant decisions and advice small business owner managers SBOMS.This responsibility requires effective communication skills includethe ability to listen to their clients. From previous studies,various components of listening skills have been identified includingattentiveness, responsiveness and reflective listening (Stone andLightbody 2012 367). The small business sector is a major user ofinformation and services of the accounting fraternity. The insightsresulting from the current study influenced by media richness theoryshow the importance that practitioners have on listening skills, theelements of listening skills applied by practitioners and how theseskills are integrated in the communication practice of accountantsand their clients. The study particularly emphasize on the use oflistening skills at daily technical communication, strategic clientservice and relationship development (Stone and Lightbody 2012 363).Finally, the article provides critical proof to influence accountingeducators and students of the importance of developing listeningskills as a component of accounting program.
Thearticle used information from interviews collected from accountantsof Australia Certified Public Accountants. The study utilizesformation from reliable sources as seen in the literature review.Various theories have been used by the authors in the article toinform the current study and ensure that it addresses the issue oflistening skills as part of communication skills in accounting in aholistic manner. The huge list of peer reviewed journals is areflection of the kind of sources that the article uses to come toreach a conclusion on the current study (Silverman2013 107).
Thisarticle is current as it was first published online in 2011 and waspublished in print less than two years ago, that is in 2012. Thearticle also consulted various sources majority of which were within10 years by the time of publication of this journal. As such, thisarticle is current and useful for informing accounting professionals. The use of current sources increases not only the credibility of anarticle, but also its relevance to practice.
Thisis an academic journal that was solely meant to inform students andeducators in the accounting profession on the importance of listeningskills in the day to day activities of an accountant (Schimmack2012 551).The journal is also available in an academic database which makes ita relevant source for accounting professionals. It is also useful forresearchers and scholars interested in exploring communicationskills, in particular listening skills in accounting.
Theinformation in the article was objective and was supported with abroad base of current studies and all the sources acknowledgedappropriately. The article does not have any form of bias as all theinformation is supported by external and independent sources whichare also credible. The article contains a thoroughly executedresearch, where a credible number of participants from Australiaparticipated. The research process followed the requirements for aresearch project, ensuring that participation was voluntary, and thatanonymity was maintained throughout the process. The researchers alsoexplained important aspects regarding communication skills andlistening skills as part of communication for accountants. This hasbeen achieved through an extensive literature review. For example,the authors shed some light on the significance of listening aspectssuch as responsiveness, attentiveness in interaction betweenaccountants and their clients, majorly small business owners’managers (Stone and Lightbody 2012 380). Participants in the studywere defined. The participants included 210 accountants from CPA ofAustralia. All the members off the sample participated in the study.The findings of this research are applicable to other CPA all overthe world dealing with their clients, particularly SBOMs.
Thestudy utilized qualitative approach to research. Semi structuredinterviews were used in order to allow participants to describe intheir own understanding, what listening skills they consideredimportant in their job. Structured questionnaires guide therespondents to answer the researcher’s question. The sample sizecomprised of 210, but only 10 participants were randomly selected forinterviews. This is a very insignificant number for a serious study(Mason2010 n.p).
Inaddition, the researcher could have utilized both qualitative andquantitative research approaches in order to enhance the results ofthe study. Qualitative and quantitative research approaches are usedtogether to supplement each other (Östlund,Kidd, Wengström & Rowa-Dewar 2011 377).Qualitative is useful for explaining a phenomena while quantitativemethod gives statistical value to information.
Interviewsare not considered a credible way of collecting data in a research.This is because participants are likely to adjust their answerscontrary to their real thoughts and experiences (Chenail,2011 259).As such, the semi-structured interviews in this study may not havegathered the collect information on the ground concerning listeningskills (Turner2010 759).
Thearticle uses a wide range of sources to develop the readersunderstanding of the issues concerning communication in accountingprofession. The sources are up to date. In addition, the use ofqualitative approach of research strengthens the study as it allowsthe researcher to deduce from the experiences and views of theinterviewees (Östlundet al., 2011).Qualitative research approach is useful in explaining human behaviorunlike quantitative which is majorly interested in numbers.
Eventhough the small number of interviewees may have jeopardized theoutcome, it was an appropriate number as the researchers were able toanalyze the responses in detail to come up with a conclusive answerto the problem (Turner2010 757).
Thearticle being an academic journal provides implication of the studyon educators. The researcher for example cites the need for educatorsto incorporate communication skills especially listening skills intoaccounting courses. This is important, as it shows the significanceof the article in academic as well as for scholars and the entireaccounting profession.
Anotherstrong point in the current article is the authors’ acknowledgementof the shortcomings of their research. This is important as it guidesother researchers interested in the topic to use a different approachto address the issue.
Thearticle starts with an abstract which summarizes the concept and theorientation of the current study. The abstract is a synopsis of thearticle, giving the reader a quick understanding of the subject(Pickard2013 64).The article is well structured with various subheadings allowing theready to have an easy grasp of the article’s direction. Thestructure also makes it easy to read and comprehend.
Thecurrent article is well written and follows the general procedure ofa research article. It uses current sources to support the authors’perspective. The article is relevant to the accounting profession andbrings insight to students and educators on the importance oflistening skills. The research uses qualitative research method,which is useful in understanding and explaining human behavior. Theuse of participants from Certified Practitioner Accountants ofAustralia shows great credibility of the study. However, theresearcher interviewed 10 respondents out of the sample that was 210.This number was quite small and made the study weak. In addition,interviews are regarded as a bad choice of collecting informationsince respondents can lie (Stone & Lightbody, 2012 373). Theresearchers however highlighted limitations of their study, allowingother scholars to explore the subject in future studies in a morecredible manner. Ultimately, the article is well written and easy tocomprehend.
Chenail,R. J. (2011). Interviewing the Investigator: Strategies forAddressing Instrumentation and Researcher Bias Concerns inQualitative Research. QualitativeReport,16(1),255-262.
Turner,D. W. (2010). Qualitative interview design: A practical guide fornovice investigators. TheQualitative Report,15(3),754-760.
Pickard,A. J. (2013). Researchmethods in information.Facet Publ.
Östlund,U., Kidd, L., Wengström, Y., & Rowa-Dewar, N. (2011). Combiningqualitative and quantitative research within mixed method researchdesigns: a methodological review. Internationaljournal of nursing studies,48(3),369-383.
Schimmack,U. (2012), The ironic effect of significant results on thecredibility of multiple-study articles. PsychologicalMethods,17(4),551.
Stone,G. and Lightbody M. (2012). The nature and significance of listeningskills in accounting practice. AccountingEducation: An International Journal, 21,4, 363-384.
Silverman,D. (2013). Doingqualitative research: A practical handbook.SAGE Publications Limited.
Mason,M. (2010, August). Sample size and saturation in PhD studies usingqualitative interviews. In ForumQualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research(Vol. 11, No. 3).