Reclaiming ‘Sense’ from ‘Cents’ in Accounting Education

Steven Dellaportas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This essay adopts an interpretive methodology of relevant literature to explore the limitations of accounting education when it is taught purely as a technical practice. The essay proceeds from the assumption that conventional accounting education is captured by a positivistic neo-classical model of decision-making that draws on economic rationale to inform and report on corporate activities and make value judgements about accounting. Accounting with its emphasis on transactions and recording makes little sense unless accountability and stewardship objectives are effective. This essay calls for an increased use of active learning strategies (experiential and in-context activities) to connect students to the social realities of accounting. Cognitive dissonance, as an explicit objective of accounting education, provides the means to challenge accounting as a rational stage of endeavour through critical and dialogical perspectives in accounting. Two types of learning pedagogies based on ‘in’ and ‘out’ of classroom activities were discussed and analysed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-460
Number of pages16
JournalAccounting Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Financial utilitarianism
  • case studies
  • cognitive dissonance
  • experiential learning
  • imagination
  • reflection
  • situated learning


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