Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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BRIA here I come

AAA ABO Section has announced me as the senior editor elect of Behavioral Research in Accounting.  Sigh! Yeah! Has hell frozen over??  Way cool!! Are some of my responses to this news!  More later!  Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

20 minute soundbites

The American Accounting Association seems to believe that its members cannot sit for a normal classroom lecture.

At the plenary sessions in New York we had three speakers at each time slot that was 90 minutes in length. plus awards presentations and other housekeeping type things. Not much time to develop in any depth an idea given an average of 20 minutes per speaker.

Does the whole world have to be in soundbites or Ted talks? Cannot even an audience that is 90% plus PHDed engage in more than surface level thinkings? Well, it appears that the AAA leadership thinks not!

JMAR makes it clear – inclusive is in

JMAR senior editor Karen Sedatole has recently announced that JMAR has a dedicated qualitative methods management accounting researcher as an editor.  She says and I quote from her email:

As Senior Editor of the Journal of Management Accounting Research (JMAR), I would like to expand the international appeal of the journal by publishing research on a wider variety of topics and using a wider variety of research methods. Qualitative research in management accounting has historically been underrepresented in JMAR, indeed, in North American journals in general. I have recently appointed a new Editor, Habib Mahama, to lead JMAR’s efforts to increase the publication of qualitative work. Habib received his PhD from UNSW and is a Professor at United Arab Emirates University. He brings a breadth of research interests while also providing the qualitative research method expertise JMAR needs to further our goal.

This means that three and a half of the Section journal of the AAA’s largest sections (Management Accounting, Auditing, ABO and Financial Reporting) are signaling they are open to field research (Financial Reporting does not have a dedicated editor hence they get the half award) and three of them are indicating they will publish field work from an interpretivist perspective.

While the goal of JMAR’s senior editor is instrumental (wider readership) the real winner is the subject of management accounting as the more research perspectives we bring to bear on what is a very complex area, the more likely we are to learn and understand its practices better.  That is the real payoff to all this rhetoric about increasing diversity of intellectual perspectives in accounting journals – the knowledge quantum increases!!!!

Excuse me – could we think first and colo(u)r later

Ah, Branding!!!  the watchword of the corporate world.  Indeed some would suggest that everyone needs a brand (i.e. MORE by steve as a brand?????).

But before we follow the marketing gurus to our doom, can we stop and think for a minute????  What is the AAA thinking of with its branding exercise????

The colo(u)rs for the sections and regions are without dispute the most awful mélange of colo(u)rs I have ever seen.  From orange to green to pink to purple and everything in between.

They should have realized that the branding exercise was problematic when they had to put explanations into this year’s AAA Annual meeting program to explain the concept!!! If a brand has to be explained it is NOT doing its job.

Then there are the covers of the section journals.  Most of the sections rejected the branding exercise suggestions that the International Accounting Section become the International Section or that the Management Accounting Section become the Management Section!  Yet was could not be done by the front door is being attempted through the back door.  Journal of Management Accounting Research is now branded as MANAGEMENT, the Journal of International Accounting Research is now branded INTERNATIONAL etc.

Yet the powers that be wonder aloud about what unifies the AAA when the branding (i.e. colo(u)ring) exercise is all about focusing on the part that does not unite us rather than the part that does – ACCOUNTING?????  Yes accounting remains on the covers of the section journals in all their garnish colo(u)rs but it is in the fine print!!!!!

Accountants and branding does not mix unless it is the type of branding that is used on cattle and in the 1600’s.


Prelude to some AAA brickbats

later this week I am going to throw some bricks at the AAA glass house but I will start by extending compliments on the rather tasteful celebration of the 100 year mark of the Association.  When one thinks what could have happened in a US election year with a southern academic “good old boy” as  AAA President . . . . .  It boggles the mind to think what the ROW members might have encountered in NYC.

instead, while very American and pulling in most American food cliches, it was well done with Julliard musicans providing entertainment, only one self serving speech and very little chest beating about being the biggest and best.

In a year where US politics have provided a bigger American joke then any I could come up with – WELL Done!!

A prediction comes true

A little over a year ago I noted that several new accounting journals had entered the SSCI including Critical Perspectives on Accounting.  I suggested then that with the last of the major interpretivist accounting journals in the SSCI that the journal rankings by impact factor would never quite be the same again.  One year latter the proof is in the numbers.

JAE followed closely by AOS followed by Management Accounting Research followed by TAR and JAR to round out the top five.  AAAJ (Accounting auditing and accountability) followed by CAR rounds out the top seven with CPA as one of the next two!

This makes interpretive and field study oriented journals as two of the top five and four of the top ten and that is without including CAR in that number. Amazing what happens when you level the playing field!  Of course, the American 3 are in denial but as Al Gore once said denial is not just a river in Egypt!

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