So I have not written much in the last two weeks! Why? I went on vacation after the Fens ended. Saw more of Adelaide and Melbourne including an amazing AFL (Australian Rules Football) game at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Grounds).
AFAANZ conference was eductional and enjoyable as usual. From the SIG (special interest group) sessions on Saturday night and Sunday morning (only in Australia would an accounting group have its annual meeting and panel discussion on a Saturday night whilst having a formal dinner and dance on a Tuesday night) to plenaries to paper sessions I found more than enough to see and do to fill out my schedule. I have to admit that “speed dating” is not a term that I assoicate with accounting but the management accounting SIG pulled it off.
Unfortunately for our Australian colleagues, the federal government in Australia has gotten the Research Assessment Exercise bug from the UK. So now millions of dollars will be spent trying to prove that university research has relevance. Watch for an uptick in press releases from down under.
But as an accountability researcher, my view is that this too will pass – maybe not as fast as we would like – but in due course it will be normalized much like it is in the UK and other countries where it has been undertaken. Mind you I object to the deadweight loss to society of such assessment exercises but it seems to be the price that we have to pay in this post modern age. We have to remember that 100 years ago universities were very small places – indeed in the entire UK in 1920 only 4500 undergraduate degrees were granted (source: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN04252/SN04252.pdf ). Part of the price we pay for being such big enterprises is the amount of “public” scrunity that comes with size.
AFAANZ (pronounced as “A Fens” to this Canadian ear) Conference is the annual conference of the accounting and finance academics in Australia and NZ.
It has been six years since I last visited this happy crew and from what I can see the trajectory of accounting academia “down south” is still going strongly upward.
The doctoral students were amazing at the doctoral consortium held before the conference and discussed in my last post. Doctoral students presented both their own work and discussed those of their classmates. The presentations and discussions were both on par with any that I have seen around the world.
The most amazing thing I have seen is the changes in the finance part of the stream. A senior full professor of finance at Sydney U has fully embraced qualitative research methods (he is still a postivist) including interviews, surveys etc as part of his research program on finance in retirement funds (known as super (as in superannuation or pension) here). A big shout out to Professor Doug Foster who at a late (or “later” – no pejoratives intended here) stage in his career took the time to learn and apply new methods (as well as signing up knowledgable co-authors) at world class behavioral research standards levels.