Head of Accounting Major and Director of Accounting Course Center, School of Accounting
Certified Tax Agent, Senior Accountant
Associate Professor, Visiting Scholar of Xi'an Jiaotong University
Outstanding Teacher of the Year and Excellent Professional Head of Xi'an Eurasia University. Xie Xiaoni has presided over and participated in multiple vertical and horizontal research topics with more than ten core papers published. She is good at designing and teaching courses including accounting, tax-related courses, and fiscal and taxation information.
Consultant on enterprise tax management, gold-medal lecturer, Science and Technology Commissioner (natural person) of Shaanxi Province, public-welfare volunteer lecturer of Shaanxi Tax Bureau, and expert of National Credit Bank of Vocational Education. Xie Xiaoni has carried out in-depth research and practice on the interpretation of relevant tax policies and the management and control of tax risks. She is familiar with the distribution of tax-related risk points and the tax planning process and has provided multiple tax-related training sessions and consultations regarding fiscal and taxation projects for enterprises.
What do accountants look like in your imagination? Some people think that "accounting" is a relatively rigorous profession, and thus accountants are characterized as "serious", "strict", and "disciplined". Relevant data reveal that in addition to basic accounting work that is operational and procedural, about 20% of accounting practitioners are engaged in professional and management work.
In her over 20 years as a teacher of accounting, Xie Xiaoni believes that with the development of the digital age, accounting has been given more important functions. With the help of artificial intelligence, accountants can get rid of procedural work that is trivial and repetitive, and really get close to the essence of the enterprise's economic business, thus gaining the core competence for long-term career development. Therefore, she is full of expectations for the prospects of the accounting industry in the digital age, where accounting and its relevant positions will continue to exist and future accountants will become interdisciplinary value creators.
Establish an Application-oriented Professional Curriculum System With Four Research Directions and Three Major Sections
Q: How does the School of Accounting at Xi'an Eurasia University formulate professional training directions and training objectives?
A: We opened this major and began to recruit undergraduates in 2010, thus the major of accounting has quite a long history at Xi'an Eurasia University. It is also strongly application-oriented and practical. Therefore, conducting research is a very important step before we formulate the talent training plan for accounting.
First, graduates' employment and positions are studied to learn about the jobs they can find after graduation. Second, we draw lessons from benchmark universities. Although the cultivation of practical talents is valued in many schools in China, we choose a definitely different way from them while drawing on the experience of benchmark universities. After that, interviews with experts in the industry and at universities are conducted to learn about the current frontier of the industry. Meanwhile, we also further study the enterprises' and the industry's demand for talents.
A certain differentiation strategy is needed to make the School of Accounting at Eurasia stand out, therefore, two directions for the cultivation of accounting professionals have been finally determined based on these investigations, namely financial shared services and tax risk management and control.
Q: How is the curriculum system of accounting built based on its application-oriented training objectives and directions?
A: The curriculum system of accounting is mainly divided into three parts. The first part is general education courses, where students' general knowledge and quality are cultivated. In the second part, two industry-oriented courses, financial shared services, and tax risk management and control are introduced at the School of Accounting. Unlike traditional theoretical courses and traditional training courses taught in the computer room, these courses are practical courses based on projects, and we build and teach these courses with industrial enterprises outside the campus. The third part is personalized development courses, including Second Classes, public elective courses, and courses providing honorary degrees. Students can choose according to their interests.
International Accounting, also known as ACCA, is a direction under the major of Accounting with a long history at our university. Independent classes are available for students who need to obtain ACCA certificates. Special talent training programs and curriculum systems are also designed to cultivate students in ACCA. Eurasia University is now an ACCA Gold-level Approved Learning Partner.
The "1+X" Mode Is Used to Predict the Development of the Industry and Promote Students' Practical Ability
Q: What opportunities do students have to be engaged in practical projects?
A: Accounting is an application-oriented and practical major. We attach great importance to the cultivation of students' practical ability during the formulation of talent training programs or the construction of the entire curriculum.
In 2019, we have noticed the great impact of the development of information technology on accounting, especially traditional accounting. At that time, the School of Accounting cooperated with Inspur to set up a financial shared studio at the university and imported some real business data of enterprises. And students could practice with the software and processes used by enterprises in real business.
Jobs related to accounting are different from other professional jobs. First, the number of people required for accounting positions is small. Second, these jobs may have access to the commercial secrets of enterprises. Therefore, there may be inconvenient situations when we send students as interns to companies or perform actual operations. To avoid such inconvenience, we take real cases of enterprises to the school and lecture them to students in the classroom after data masking. Students can also improve their practical ability through these highly simulated practices.
We are also cooperating with local bookkeeping agencies and accounting firms in Xi'an, as well as some enterprises in the industry currently. In addition to project cooperation, some specialized practical courses are also provided. There are various kinds of training software installed in the training room of the school to help students practice.
Q: In addition to project practice and practical training, what opportunities do students have to learn about industry knowledge?
A: Since students have different abilities to accept professional knowledge, we provide students with a variety of certificate options. Students are required to obtain at least one certificate to prove their professional ability before graduation, which can serve as the stepping stone for their internship and employment.
There are quite a lot of certificates that students can obtain. The first type is industrial qualifications, such as the well-known practicing qualification of CPA. Certificates of this type have relatively high requirements for knowledge and professional ability and restricted application requirements. The second type is title certificates. Students can apply for junior assistant accountants at school. With the knowledge learned from professional courses and the tutoring provided by teachers, their success in the junior title exam is guaranteed. 43% of 2018 graduates have obtained the junior certificate.
The third type is international certificates, such as ACCA, whose courses are available at the university, and some certificates of management accounting. The fourth type is the 1+X vocational education currently advocated by China. We have drawn lessons from this pattern and introduced the 1+X vocational certificate series for students.
Q: How do teachers of accounting participate in the project practice?
A: There are many ways for teachers to participate. For example, they can temporarily work in companies, conduct cooperation projects, or work as consultants. If teachers are confined to classrooms, their lectures may be too theoretical. Therefore, the School of Accounting, or even the whole university, especially encourages teachers to go out of campus.
I have carried out tax-related training sessions for enterprises gradually since 2016, from which I have learned a lot. I was more focused on textbooks before, but as my experience of projects outside the campus expands, I begin to understand the confusion that staff in real business have and what they need most. Therefore, I consciously tell students about such cases and the pain points of enterprises in my class, and students can also discuss them.
From Accountants to Enterprise Consultants, Embrace Future Accounting
Q: Accounting is a traditional industry. Will the rapid development of information technology in the digital age have a certain impact on accounting?
A: In fact, the digital age may have a great impact on all sectors, including accounting. Why do people always talk about the impact on accounting? It is because the cognition and understanding of accounting uses to be traditional. When it comes to accounting, you may think of accountants or bookkeepers, which of course it is not wrong. When information technology was not particularly developed, accountants are mired in trivial work with no time and energy to do other things.
In the digital age, with the new development opportunities brought by information technology, accountants are freed from trivial tasks with the help of machines. They can perform a new working function, in which they not only perform the basic functions of the position but also provide assistance for enterprises in decision-making support.
As far as the impact of information technology on the major of accounting is concerned, there are no essential changes in the entire theoretical system of accounting so far. Thus, we still need to teach students traditional rules and knowledge systems. On the basis of that, information technology and digital technology are taught to students, so that they can gradually learn about the concept of being interdisciplinary. Future talents in the accounting industry must be interdisciplinary, and they shall create value for enterprises as consultants.
Q: In your opinion, what kind of discipline is accounting?
A: I entered the university as a teacher after graduation and I have experienced changes in the professional education of accounting in my more than 20 years of teaching. I think accounting emphasizes logic and processes. Some people may have the impression that accounting practitioners are conservative and not innovative, which also proves that they are more rule-conscious. In student cultivation, we also guide students to have strict logic awareness and process awareness. To put it more bluntly, accounting practitioners must have a solid bottom line.
I believe accounting is technical and innovative to some degree when facing the digital age. From a realistic point of view, the impact of technology will not make accounting disappear. I think accounting can be reborn in the digital age and the whole industry will move upward.
Classrooms Become the Orderly Place of Logic Under High Standards and Rules
Q: What are the courses you teach? What is the distinctive teaching method of your courses?
A: I mainly teach tax-related courses, such as "Tax Law", "Tax Accounting", "Tax Management Planning" and other theoretical courses. In addition, I also teach some practical training courses, such as comprehensive practical training on fiscal and taxation integration. I usually adopt case teaching in my lessons. I internalize my project experience from external companies into my lectures to fully generate students' interest and learning autonomy. Of course, not every lesson is like this. After all, it is necessary for students to learn about the corresponding basic knowledge first, and case discussions are based on their understanding of theoretical knowledge.
Q: Do you have high requirements for your students?
A: Yes, I have. Students are adults, and we certainly have requirements for them. My classes may be different from other classes as I don't allow students to read textbooks when I am teaching. Because in my opinion, you can find a quiet place to read, you don't have to come to my class and listen to my lecture. Reading textbooks is what you need to do before and after class while attending class is a process of communication between the teacher and students.
Q: Do students think you are a strict teacher?
A: Yes, some students think I am strict as they can't get used to my teaching style at the beginning. But they will gradually adapt to it after the midterm. My class focuses on logic. If students read books in my class, their thinking logic will be interrupted as it shifts from my lecture to the book. And it will take time for them to connect with my teaching content again. As a result, I advise my students to follow my train of thought one step after another and practice more. In this way, they can form a learning method.
Q: What are your expectations for your students?
A: In fact, I often tell students that they have come to receive the university education, and as a teacher, I don't want them to change the world but rather adapt to the world by themselves. There may be many things in the world that we cannot change, but we can adapt to them and survive in reality, which I consider a success. Therefore, I also hope that they can learn to be decent, honest, and practical people from four years of university education. I hope students can gain some real skills, become professionals, and be successful in their careers.