Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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The last frontier – field research in the American Three


I have been waiting for a decade to write this post!!!!  After a number of close calls that lead to rejection, an American Three accounting journal, The Accounting Review, has accepted the first qualitative field study to be published in a least forty years.  While AOS, CAR, AJPT, JMAR, BRIA, AAAJ, CPA, MAR and a host of others have long accepted qualitative field research, the closest the American Three have come to accepting it are mixed methods survey and interview papers from the Graham and Harvey school.  Well three days ago that ended with the acceptance of :

Bills, Kenneth L. and Hayne, Christie and Stein, Sarah E., A Field Study on Small Accounting Firm Membership in Associations and Networks: Implications for Audit Quality (November 6, 2017). The Accounting Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: or

Besides being great for these young researchers and being about a topic that has received little study in accounting research (small audit firms although Ken Bills has recently began to shed some light using archival methods), I am especially pleased.  Not the least of which is that Christie Hayne is a graduate of the Queen’s Smith doctoral program in accounting (and a former student of mine).

Further, it is an interesting development on two fronts, for the first time in a long while (if ever) TAR is breaking ground in  accepting a new American journals research method.  After all, TAR did reject an obscure piece by Ball and Brown, major analytical papers and many other innovative papers the first time around.  Second, it provides legitimacy in the eyes of many US researchers for a research method that many have wanted to try but have been reluctant to due to the fact it had no track record in the American Three.

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