Internal auditing as an alternative career option: An exploratory study into the favorability and stability of accounting students' perceptions

Stephen G. Kromis, Louisiana Tech University


The purpose of this study was to conduct an inquiry into the favorability and stability of the accounting students' perception of internal auditing as an alternative career opportunity. This occupational concept is crucial during the position selection phase where individuals are theoretically attempting to secure employment in an area in which they can succeed and mature as individuals. The selection process is a function of the individual's self and occupational concepts in conjunction with the life stage and vocational maturity of the individual. The utilization of accurate occupational perceptions during this phase should significantly enhance the credibility and positive results of the process. A review of the literature revealed that thousands of well-educated and intelligent individuals have the opportunity to select a position best suited to their needs and wants. However, this critical decision must often be arrived at with minimal guidance and a paucity of relevant facts and exposure.

The model used in this research was the posttest only with control and experimental design with random assignment of the subjects. The 1015 students who participated in the project represented forty-nine universities located in thirty states.

The instrument used to measure the perceptions of the students was constructed utilizing the Thurstone's equal appearing intervals technique and consisted of sixteen statements addressing the topical areas of interest to the study. The instrument's validity was tested using accounting students at the sophomore and junior levels with a resultant Cronbach's alpha of 0.7492.

The results of the study revealed that in the control group only the older students and those students with the lowest reported grade point average did not perceive of internal auditing in a negative manner. The second conclusion of the research was that the students' perceptions of internal auditing were significantly increased as a result of the treatment regarding the working environment of accountants employed in internal auditing. This suggests that, even though the students had formed an occupational concept of internal auditing that will be a critical determinant in the subsequent position selection process, it may have been inaccurate.