The study investigated the effect of industrial training of accounting students on their general academic performance and acquisition of technical skill required of accountants after classroom training. The study was necessitated by a lack of industry experience and technical ability fresh accounting graduates usually demonstrate when confronted with life practical task after classroom learning. It was a survey study and descriptive. The survey made use of a questionnaire to evaluate the effectiveness of the industrial training programme using responses from students, lecturers and employers. The question consisted of 21 questions which addressed seven critical information required from each group (students, employers and lecturers). The qualitative rating scale applied were 5 for Excellent; 4 for Very Good; 3 for Good; 2 for Weak and 1 for Very Weak. A total of 50 students responded to the questionnaire instrument while the lecturers were 20, including 25 employers. Their responses were all useful for the study. The study summarized them using percentage grading of the reactions and the number of respondents. The result showed that accounting students who underwent industrial training gained technical competence, built skills and self-confidence, became more friendly and ready to work. Their general academic performance became excellently outstanding and noteworthy. Some of them performed so well that employers promised to employ them after graduation. This study confirmed that industrial training has a lot of beneficial attributes in its package. Based on these findings, the study recommends industrial training for accounting students in all institutions of higher learning in Nigeria.

Accounting education and practical training

The educational level and expertise of a country’s workforce determine the level of accelerated economic growth of that nation to a very large extent (Omodero, 2019). Education has been defined by Omodero and Nwangwa (2020) as “a method by which the basic information and knowledge are obtained through the means of tutoring and book studying”. However, several studies (Warinda, 2013; Catacutan & Tuliao, 2020) have shown that students under instruction are at risk if there is no practical training provided to them in their course of training. This practical training is adopted by university faculties such as colleges of education, engineering and school of medicine due to the peculiar and experimental nature of the programmes. Therefore, the same applies to accounting education which seems incomplete without valuable exposure to the use of accounting software, assembling and inputting of numerical data to produce accounting information. Also, understanding of how numerous firms’ raw data are later turned into useful information, such that various accounting information users would eventually find it helpful in their different applications (Omodero & Okafor, 2020). One of the significant challenges contributing to the failure of accounting students is the complexity of the content of accounting courses (Omodero, 2020). The complex range of accounting courses requires practical exposure to increase students’ rate of assimilation. For instance, taxation and its computation could appear very complicated. Still, when a student gets involved in the data gathering and information computation for tax purposes, the multifaceted scenario will be significantly dismantled and level of comprehension is improved.

Industrial training importance to institutions of higher learning

The institutions also derive maximum benefits from industrial training (IT) of students. One of the services is that IT strengthens the relationship between the corporate world and the Institutions of Higher Learning (Mohd Jaffri et al., 2011; Gerken et al., 2012). The Institutions of Higher Learning obtain responses from the IT students’ employers which helps to facilitate program enrichment. The feedback from employers enables the authorities of the universities, polytechnics and colleges to ensure that the academic curriculum is well enhanced and sufficiently relevant to match with dynamic industry changes (Mohd Jaffri et al., 2011; Walker II, 2011).

Industrial training importance to employers

The importance of industrial training to employers, especially during their peak period is that it reduces the cost of labour (Divine et al., 2007). The cost of hiring IT students is not exorbitant. Thus employers leverage on them when and where they need more hands to handle some tasks. Sometimes, IT students are absorbed without cost. Employers use their discretion to provide them with launch and transport allowances. Furthermore, in the course of working with the IT students, employers do have the opportunity of identifying the highly talented students that can be employed after graduation (Divine et al., 2007). The importance of this is that employers will not need to incur job advertisement cost to hire them since they already have their details and contacts.