• ISSN: 2155-7950
  • Journal of Business and Economics

Impact of Mathematics on Indigenous Students’ Decision to Study Accounting

Hassan Ibrahim Rkein
(School of Law and Business, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT0909, Australia)


Abstract: Over the last decade there have been some serious concerns amongst accounting professional bodies concerning the status of accounting education which has exhibited a dramatic decline in the number and quality of students majoring in accounting (Albrecht & Sack 2000; Jackling & Calero 2006; Hardin et al. 2000; Sherman & Tymon, 1997). Research has also been conducted on the representation of marginalized ethnic groups in the accounting profession (Jacobs, 2000; Hammond & Streeter, 1994; Hammond, 1997; Hammond et al., 2007; Holmes et al., 2005; Hooper & Pratt, 1995; McNicholas et al., 2004; Mitchell & Flintall, 1990; and Preston, 2006). However research which concentrated on Indigenous Australians and accountancy are limited to two studies (Lombardi & Clayton, 2006 and Rkein & Norris, 2010). Those two studies have contributed significantly to the literature by empirically demonstrating the Indigenous under-representation. However, both were limited to a very few participants only. Indigenous members of Australian accounting professional bodies are estimated to be nine or ten (Lombardi & Clayton, 2006, and Rkein & Norris, 2010). Due to the lack of literature on the factors that impede Indigenous Australians from studying and/or joining the accounting profession, this study investigates the mathematics factor, and analyses the relevant literature. There are many researchers who studied the relationship between mathematics and students’ decision to major in accounting. Since students, universities, accounting professional bodies and researchers see a strong relationship between the individual’s mathematics skills and the decision to major in accounting and since Indigenous Australians’ performance in mathematics is below national averages, this study suggests that one of the factors that might impede Indigenous Australians from studying accounting is their mathematics level. In addition to examining the available research, this study builds its conclusion on a pilot study that was conducted with Indigenous high school students.  


Key words: accounting; mathematics; indigenous


JEL codes: M40, M41, M49


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