A questionnaire was designed to assess recent veterinary graduates' proficiency in early career business skills, from the perspectives of graduates of 2006–2008 and employers of recent graduates in the UK. Recent graduates perceived themselves to be generally more competent in financial matters than employers considered them to be. However, when specific skills were assessed, graduates felt less prepared than employers considered them to be competent. Overall, graduates and employers rated recent graduates' preparedness/competence as poor to average for all skills, which were regarded as having average to high importance. Both groups commented on the difficulties faced by new graduates in terms of client communication (generally and financially), and having the confidence to charge clients appropriately for veterinary services. The results of this study indicate that veterinary schools need to take a more active role in the teaching of basic finance skills in order to equip graduates with essential early career competencies. It is anticipated that the information reported will help inform undergraduate curriculum development and highlight the need for increased training at the continuing education level.
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