This paper reports on a study of the efficacy of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand's (the Institute) Professional Accounting School (PAS) programme in developing a set of competencies in candidates. The study surveyed Institute candidates' perceptions of their competence levels for 16 specified skills at the commencement and conclusion of the 1999 PAS programme. The findings indicate that candidates perceived their levels of competence, for both cognitive and behavioural skills, to have been significantly improved by the PAS programme. Tests of two secondary hypotheses in the study indicate certain gender- and firm-based differences in the perceived level of competence of candidates. The results of the study provide the Institute with feedback on the PAS programme and facilitate the further development of the programme. Other professional accounting bodies may consider replicating this study using data collected on similar programmes. The results of such studies may then be compared to enhance the existing knowledge of competency development in professional accounting education.
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