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Teaching adaptability with MYOB

15 May 2024

Dr Nikki Schonfeldt, a lecturer in Accounting at the University of Western Australia, has always been clear-eyed about the challenges the accounting profession continues to face. Find out how a partnership with MYOB has been instrumental in helping her prepare future-ready students.


Dr Nikki Schonfeldt has always been clear-eyed about the changes the accounting profession continues to face. As a lecturer in Accounting at the University of Western Australia, she’s long been grappling with this issue. How can she prepare her students for an industry that'll look very different in ten or even five years? 

“What I teach now will probably be quite different by the time they graduate,” she explains. Rather than trying to predict ‌changes in technology or working environments, Nikki has focussed on giving students the flexibility and confidence to adapt to whatever is thrown at them. 

“The demands of the industry are growing and growing. Apart from technical accounting skills, students must work in those new environments. They need to be adaptable to change.”

- Dr Nikki Schonfeldt, lecturer in Accounting, University of Western Australia 

A partnership with MYOB has been instrumental in helping her nurture future-ready students — and it’s part of why Nikki was awarded MYOB Educator of the Year at the MYOB Partner Awards 2022. 

MYOB makes tech accessible 

Nikki knew getting students future-ready had to involve making them comfortable with technology. “For years, I’ve been asking to bring an online accounting information system into our curriculum.” Aside from the technology costs, other educators were hesitant — they knew it could be impractical to write and then update manuals as the product evolved. 

Nikki saw an easy solution that'd make interacting with the technology even closer to the real world — MYOB’s Academy and Dynamic Help. The simplicity of these resources makes them ideal for Nikki’s students.

MYOB solved the cost problem, too, offering a partnership model that'd give access to free licenses to MYOB Business for Nikki and her students. The software’s modern cloud-based technology also removed the need for expensive computer labs. 

“Even just 10 years ago, it was a frustration to bring technology in. Now I’ve got students using their own technology, whether they’re on Mac or Windows, and whether they are on campus or remote.” 

- Dr Nikki Schonfeldt, lecturer in Accounting, University of Western Australia 

MYOB’s collaborative approach made it easy to bring the product on board and incorporate it, says Nikki.

“The MYOB education managers and practitioners helped me see how we can use the product better and were more than generous in sharing their resources with me.” 

MYOB helps build adaptability 

Now, with MYOB embedded in her introductory unit, Nikki uses it to help students develop skills in self-directed learning. 

“It’s not a spoon-fed kind of activity. If students are stuck, they have to go and look for solutions themselves,” she explains. “If students have the confidence to explore, then we’ve actually achieved a lot.” She says MYOB has let her create an environment where students can try, fail and learn in a safe environment. 

“To struggle through something they know nothing about and then look back at their progress gives them confidence that they can adapt to whatever changes come in the profession." 

- Dr Nikki Schonfeldt, lecturer in Accounting, University of Western Australia 

Inspiration earlier – seeing new concepts in the real world 

Students often struggle to grasp the accounting concepts taught in introductory accounting units. Traditional teaching methods can also reinforce the idea that accounting is dull and tedious.

“They often view accounting as black-and-white, process-driven functions,” says Nikki. “As students learn the nuts and bolts of the accounting process, several learning activities tend to highlight the repetitive nature of some accounting functions.”

The immersive nature of the MYOB-activities helps students see the theoretical concepts in the real world, which Nikki says opens the world to them. 

“MYOB is making it more interesting for them. Suddenly they see there’s more to accounting than just processing transactions – it’s about helping people interpret the numbers. I find it so rewarding to teach.” 

- Dr Nikki Schonfeldt, lecturer in Accounting, University of Western Australia 

Students give MYOB the tick 

One of Nikki’s students says the difference that learning MYOB made was huge. 

“After the MYOB assignment she said, ‘for the first time, accounting makes sense’”, Nikki says. 

“It had always been processing the transactions in isolation but not understanding the effects of each transaction on the financial statements and the business. MYOB brings it to life.” MYOB also features heavily in student feedback. 

“MYOB often comes up in student reflections. Students see it as a chance to have that practical, hands-on experience.” 

What’s next? 

After the clear difference MYOB has made to the introductory unit, Nikki is integrating more advanced aspects into her unit on accounting information systems. While she’s still working with MYOB to figure out the detail, she knows it’ll be just as practical.

“We’ll bring it into the workshops, which means we'll be able to teach the accounting concepts on top of the technology,” she says. 


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