Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Monthly Archives: September 2014

That was fast!!!

I am pleasantly surprised that there was a latent demand for morebysteve!

Readership is already back to where it was in January before my self imposed six month hiatus.

Thanks to all my readers! Without you I would be talking to myself even more than I am!

Discussant response etiquette

When I was a lad in the 80’s and 90’s we were taught to say a few words of thanks to the Discussant, answer any absolutely vital and burning questions for a minute or two and then it was on to answering questions from the distinguished crowd of academic savants gathered there to pick at your entrails!

I must have missed the memo! Everywhere I have been lately has featured long winded point by point rebuttals of discussant’s comments!! Indeed, discussants are leaving their comments ppts open and authors are systematically going through the slides responding to every comment no matter how minor!!!

Personally, I find this a boring process that takes away from the academic interchange at a conference! After flying several hundred or thousand miles through overcrowded airports on airplanes with seating made for height challenged people, the last thing I want to see is three monologues!

While it may be safer for the author than taking audience questions, it defeats the purpose of the conference format. I for one would rather have the limited time spent on true exchanges of views rather than shadow dancing between the author and the Discussant!

Shout out to down under readers!!

The AFL (Australian Football league which is like a combination of soccer, American football, Canadian football and (ice) hockey played on a cricket oval) Grand Final is the weekend!! Go Swans!!!!!

Auditing at a distance

I am recently returned from the Illinois Audit Symposium that is arguably the premiere university based symposium on audit research.

The good news is that the number of non- grey, non- balding, non- bottled hair coloured heads was at an all time high since I first attended in 1990!

Nonetheless research about auditing rather than research on auditing clearly dominated. What do I mean? Research about the effects of auditing on others (e.g. Shareholders, loan officers, jurors) dominated whereas research on auditing itself was scarce!

What a contrast to 24 years ago when while we might not have been academically respectable as we are today, we were a lot more focused on understanding and improving the practice of auditing rather than viewing it as a social phenomena!

Flooding the market????

It will be interesting to see what happens to the large numbers of capital markets financial accounting researchers hitting the market this year in the USA!! What about the wave of alleged audit and tax graduates compliments of the ADS program that are really capital markets grads in disguise?

Surely doctoral programs in accounting have an obligation to prepare graduates who are really able to research and teach auditing not just add a variable to a markets study! The same thing can be said for many of the tax graduates!! The fundamental flaw of the ADS program is that it did not require doctoral programs to prove they had competence, especially in audit research!

star chambers

Up until the middle of the 1600’s (1642to be exact) the United Kingdom (I.e. Britain) had a court called the “star chamber” whose members were not made public, whose hearings were behind closed doors and no witnesses were heard from!

Some of my American colleagues are worried that the AAA Committee looking into the Hunton fiasco is a bit like the Star Chamber. Indeed one US based researcher praised JAR for the openness of its procedures!! (I hope with tongue planted firmly in cheek).

Nonetheless the AAA brain trust could make it a lot clearer than they have. After all it is not exactly rocket science we are dealing with here. As CAR editor I simply looked up the procedures recommended by the Committee ob Publication Ethics and followed them. Pretty simple really!!!

CAAA finds Carver

The CAAA appears to have decided to adopt the Carver model of board governance. The ad for executive director states the organization is moving from an operational board to a governance board! Leadership at the operational level will be lead by the new ED!

Excuse me?.?? An organization with 600 to 700 members and 3.5 full time staff equivalents is moving to a non- operational board! Especially when you consider that the organization effectively has one ED, 1.5 staff and the editorial assistant for the two journals. Yep, that’s it – 3.5 staff that is really 2.5 staff for the organization! Now tell me how such a staffing leads to a CARVER style board governance model?

While those of us who teach governance know Carver claims his model of separating operations from governance works in ALL not for profit organizations, successful examples are few and far between in organizations of this size. However, the CAAA has had a series of Presidents and a subset of board members that did not accept that their role was operational and hence the organization has suffered greatly!

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