Improving accounting education in Moldova: Learning from the Romanian experience
Moldova recognized a need to modernize its accounting and auditing education curriculum and professional development as part of a national effort to improve corporate reporting and macro-economic stability. Moldovan accounting experts participated in an exchange with Romania from whom they learned modern curricula development and teaching techniques. Moldova was able to begin a reform of its university curriculum and prepare for international certifications of its programs.
The Government of Moldova has been initiating actions to modernize and advance accounting and auditing education in the country. This movement started with Moldova adopting the Accounting and Auditing Development Plan in the Corporate Sector for 2009-2014. It continued with its active participation in the Road to Europe Program of Accounting Reform and Institutional Strengthening (REPARIS), which is a regional initiative seeking to create a transparent policy environment and effective institutional framework for corporate financial reporting.
However, even with progress made thus far, Moldovan institutions responsible for educating and providing professional accounting and auditing development still lacked knowledge on how curricula should be improved, developed, and implemented in line with international benchmarks and practices, and how pedagogical methods should be applied for teaching modern financial reporting and auditing standards.
The Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (AESM) with the support of the Ministry of Finance requested World Bank assistance in arranging an exchange with Romania. Romania offered a particularly strong example of successful reforms to its accounting and auditing system. The country had undertaken these reforms before becoming a European Union (EU) member state; and its educational institutions have since received international certifications. Moldova hoped to learn from Romania’s experience adopting EU standards and practices, and reforming its accounting education and certification curriculum.
The knowledge providers from Romania included representatives from universities that prepare accounting and auditing graduates and from professional associations led primarily by the Academy of Economic Studies of Bucharest (ASEB). Moldovan participants came from academia and professional bodies led by the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (ASEM).
From December 2-8, 2012, ASEM representatives traveled to Romania for a study visit to engage with their counterparts in Romania. They gained access to teaching materials and participated in hands-on activities related to developing the content of modern accounting and auditing curricula. They also met with accreditation officials and those at ASEB who had been responsible for that institutions preparation for accreditation reviews. During the visit they participated in training classes and dialogues with their Romanian counterparts.
On September 26, 2013, Moldova hosted a conference in Chisinau with over 70 participants from various universities and institutions from Moldova and Romania, and international institutions. ASEB and Romanian representatives from professional accounting and auditing bodies delivered presentations and offered guidance and expertise on transforming Moldova’s accounting and auditing curricula. In keeping with the conference focus on sustainable development in accounting and auditing curricula, a related workshop focused on solution-based approaches to improving university accounting and auditing education and continuous professional development using modern standards and tools.
The exchange increase stakeholder awareness and commitment to setting priorities for improving the accounting and auditing curricula and standards of certification in Moldova. More specifically it:
- Improved participants’ skills and capacity to begin reforming university curricula, which was subsequently revised after the exchange. As an example, the knowledge and materials gained during the knowledge exchange visit were used to provide insight during subsequent revisions and amendments of ASEM’s bachelor’s degree in accounting to comply with advanced practices and international standards.
- Increased participants’ knowledge of accreditation issues and advanced and modern teaching techniques in accounting and auditing. As a result of the exchange, accounting faculty members at ASEM were able to incorporate what they had learned during the training sessions into their course discussions with accounting and auditing students.
- Enhanced networks. The conference was seen as an innovation for Moldova as it managed to bring together representatives of academia, Ministry of Finance, economic entities, audit companies, and national and international professional bodies.
- Raised awareness of multi-stakeholder coordination in the curricular and professional development process. This awareness helped to ensure that both academic and professional needs of the Moldovan accounting and auditing systems are addressed in the reformed curriculum.
- In order for a knowledge exchange to have maximum impact on the application of knowledge gained, it is important to have continued and active engagement between the knowledge recipients and providers even after the key components of the exchange are completed (e.g., periodic study and expert visits).
- Knowledge exchange activities that allow for dialogue between peers and observation of practical solutions to challenges should continually be encouraged as they assist with building human capacity in countries or institutions where such capacity is limited.
The exchange activities were financed under the South-South Experience Exchange. The Bank also supported the exchange with technical guidance and facilitating of discussions and activities throughout the various components of the exchange.
The main knowledge providers from Romania were from the faculty of Accounting and Management Information Systems at the Academy of Economic Studies of Bucharest (ASEB). Additionally, knowledge was provided by the Chamber of Financial Auditors of Romania (CAFR), the body of experts and licensed accountants of Romania (Corpul Expertilor Contabili si Contabililor Autorizati din Romania or CECCAR), and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) regional office for South-Eastern Europe based in Bucharest.
Following the exchange, revisions to the accounting and auditing curricula began. Lessons learned and knowledge gained during the exchange have been an important part of that reform. The new curricula have been in place in September 2014.
Exchange visit participants from Moldova were administration and faculty members from the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (ASEM), including Deans, Deputy Deans, and Heads and Chairs of academic departments. In addition to their roles at ASEM, these individuals also represented bodies such as the Ministry of Finance’s Certification Commission of the Auditors and its Accounting Methodological Council, the National Council for Accreditation and Attestation, the National Commission on Financial Markets, the National Committee for the Review and Approval of Draft Normative Acts in Accounting and Auditing in the Corporate Sector, and the Association of Professional Accountants and Auditors of Moldova.
The international conference held in Chisinau on September 26, 2013 was attended by more than 70 academics, practicing accountants, bankers, and other professionals from the government and the private sector.
- Improving accounting education in Moldova: learning from Romanian experience: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTCENFINREPREF/Resources/4152117-1293059093099/neswletter_February_2013_web.html
- Article (in Romanian) about the study visit “Curierul Economic nr. 15-16, 2012” (page 11): http://ase.md/publicatii/curierul-economic.html#anul-2012
- Reports and photos from international conference available at: http://go.worldbank.org/1ZXLAYC8U0