Cultural Intelligence in the Accounting Academics World, an International Webinar from BINUS

Today’s digital era increasingly facilitates the communication process across countries, especially in the midst of the pandemic, where face-to-face direct interaction should be avoided. From work to educational activities, people globally have begun to switch to digital services such as online chats and video conferences.

The ease to interact and collaborate with international colleagues brings a positive impact to the world of business and education. Now, cultural diversity is not seen as a negative thing, but more of a challenge to develop one’s self to be a better individual.

This view was specifically explained by Dr. Meredith Tharapos, CA.CPA, Deputy Head of Accounting Department, UG Program Manager, and Senior Lecturer School of Accounting, Information System and Supply Chain, College of Business from RMIT University. She was the main spokesperson for an online international seminar held by BINUS University Master of Accounting and BINUS University Undergraduate Accounting Study Program along with RMIT University Melbourne, titled “Are Accounting Academics Culturally Intelligent?” on Wednesday (8/7).

Attended by academics, students, and practitioners from all over Indonesia, the event started with greetings from the committee. After that, Ms. Rindang Widuri, S.Kom. M.M., Ph.D. as Head of Magister Accounting BINUS Graduate Program introduced the main spokesperson and explained the theme of the seminar, which was about the research done by Dr. Meredith regarding behavioral issues in the accounting field, education, and culture.

This international seminar continued with greetings from the moderator, Dr. Heny Kurniawati, SST.Ak., M.Sc. as Research Coordinator Accounting & Finance BINUS University. Dr. Heny explained that the online seminar will be divided into three sessions, starting with a presentation, question and answer session, and then a conclusion.

Cultural Diversity in Education

The world of education, especially universities, has the highest level of cultural diversity in the world. In Australia, education is the biggest export source in the service industry, which brought around AUS$20.7 billion in 2017. Cultural diversity can not only be seen in the students in the classroom, but also in the team of academics and practitioners in the accounting field.

Dr. Meredith explained that at RMIT University, academic staff in the Department of Accounting comes from various countries, even across continents. Cultural diversity brings huge potentials for better discussion results due to the difference in life experiences and perspectives. However, it also has the potential for new conflicts to arise.

For example, conflict due to wrong interpretations and the emergence of marginalization. Especially with the challenge regarding the implementation of education methodology, assessment, and expectation of work role, responsibility, language, along with knowledge and competence. Inevitable challenges that come with cultural diversity become a catalyst for academics to have a qualified cultural intelligence (CQ).

Cultural Intelligence in Accounting Academics

Cultural intelligence is somewhat similar to emotional intelligence, however, it has a deeper scope due to the cultural diversity situation. There are four components that are intertwined and act as guidance in the study that was developed by Dr. Meredith. First, metacognitive CQ as one’s ability to find solutions for issues that are caused by cultural diversity. Secondly, cognitive CQ as one’s experience and knowledge of other cultures.

Thirdly, motivational CQ serves as the level of motivation and desire one has to stay productive in the midst of cultural differences. Last is behavioral CQ, verbal and nonverbal behavior done in order to adapt to a different cultural environment.

Dr. Meredith and her team gave the online survey to 745 respondents which consisted of academics in the Accounting field that worked full time in an Australian university. From there, 253 responses were received. Survey data shows that the average score from respondents to the CQ components mentioned above reaches 4-5, with the lowest score of 4.19 in cognitive CQ and highest score 5.4 in metacognitive CQ.

Compared to a study that has been done before, scores from accounting academics in Australia was in the lowest category, below other professional cohorts. Research proves academics that have taught in the Southeast Asia region have a positive total CQ score compared to academics that only have taught in English speaking countries.

In conclusion, Dr.Meredith stateed that cultural intelligence can be developed. The international seminar continued with a question and answer session regarding the research presented by Dr. Meredith, and finished with a digital photoshoot session of participants and the main spokesperson.