Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Monthly Archives: January 2018

EAA’s ARC (Accounting Research Center)

Got an invite the other day to write a post on another blog – the EAA Accounting Research Center ( blog.  The EAA ARC is designed to help strengthen the experience of European doctoral students and programs.  The mission is:

Motivated by the EAA’s key priority of stimulating the research productivity of doctoral students and junior faculty, our goal is for the Accounting Research Center (ARC) to develop into the EAA’s one-stop location for research resources and networking opportunities relevant for emerging scholars and others interested in accounting research.

However, the site attempts to be many things and I will have to spend more time then I have right now to figure out what is going on in it.  But one comment based on a quick read:  The point of a blog entry is to get in, make a short and to the point insight about an issue – hopefully memorable – not to write an essay, mini-thesis etc.  Hats off for effort to the organizers and the EAA.  When I get the time to understand it better, I will contribute.  Until then, enjoy the referrals from MOREbySteve.

New Faculty Consortium – US style

So somewhat surprisingly after my last adventures at the American New Faculty Consortium (see my old CAReditorsteve blog for posts about that adventure) I received an invite last fall to be a “Senior Faculty” Leader at the American Accounting Association’s New Faculty Consortium.  Here, every AACSB accredited university program can send a new faculty member to get “indoctrinated” into the world of being a faculty member – US style.

My last visit was somewhat controversial as I took on the myth that all new faculty are created equal.  I asked: do you really believe a Wharton new faculty member who graduated from Stanford has the same set of issues and challenges that a Mississippi State faculty member has who graduated from Jackson State?  Yet this was the rhetoric at Consortium – “all men are created equal” aka as in the US Constitution (leaves out a few groups but . . . . ).

I advocated that faculty had to figure out what their strategy was if their main job was not (as the Wharton/Michigan/Stanford new faculty job is) to teach their one preparation in one term at the MBA level and get their five to eight top 3 (or maybe top 4 or 5 or 6 if you are lucky) journal papers published in the next five years.  Well, as you might guess, I was not invited back the next year!!!!

So stay tuned, and we will see if anything has changed.  The program has a reduced set of voices in the plenary setting (I do not get to address the plenary – no surprise there) but has set up greater diversity in the smaller breakout groups.  Furthermore, there is some sense of realism in the program that did not exist a decade ago.  So . . . . .

Disney is doing behavioral economics research!!!!

After 30 plus years in this business I am rarely surprised at anything I hear about anymore.  But the fact that Disney Research (a division of the Disney TV and Movie and Theme Park company) has a behavioral economics research program as well as a social psychology research program floored me.  Apparently Disney Research both hires researchers directly and engages in contract research with all sorts of academics – including social psyhologists and behavioral economists!  And that does not sound too Mickey Mouse to me!!!!  Maybe a little Goofy!!  But what do I know living up North in a Snow White world!!!  Okay enough puns for today.

The lack of research in core texts

Have you ever noticed that accounting textbooks rarely mention accounting research? Compare that to textbooks in organizational behavior, marketing, human resource management, finance and economics. Indeed, one has to turn to methods courses like statistics to find a similar lack of emphasis on research. Mind you statistical books have proofs and you know that someone had to come up with those proofs in the first place!

So does that mean there is no research underlying accounting? As you know by now most textbooks in financial accounting and tax are focused on standards (financial) and the law and its interpretation (tax). Indeed, about the only book you might have seen there is research underlying its recommendations is in the Management Control Systems course that uses the Merchant and van der Stede textbook.  Sure there is lots of research in financial statement analysis books but what about the core audit, tax and financial accounting texts????  Even in “Accounting Theory” which should be known as “Financial Accounting Theory (FAT is a great abbreviation) there is only one textbook that is heavily research based.  If we were textbook writers in many evidence based fields they would laugh at our texts!!!

The January (April/May and Sept) Rush

The old child’s nursery ryhme goes 30 days has September, May, June and November.

For journal editors the ryhme goes something like this: many manuscripts arrive in September, May and January (if it was July it would ryhme but it is not).  Not so poetic but interesting point.

I had forgotten the life of a Senior Editor has very regular peaks and valleys!  January is one of the peeks!  Bring it on – the more submissions the merrier!

Burning questions??? I may have answers

The blog is normally a one way street.  I rant, you listen and depending on your viewpoint shake your head either “up or down” or “side to side” (that means agree or disagree in most Western cultures).  How do I find the topics I rant on?  Normally they come from my everyday experience as a journal editor, reviewer, conference attendee etc.  Readers are welcome to pose questions or issues that they want advise on or to hear my public opinion (which is often milder than my private opinion albeit as honest).

Today’s rant:  As we head into mid year meeting time in the USA (the majority of sections have midyear meetings in the January to April frame) I want to reflect on one topic of concern – sponsor involvement is picking plenary speakers.  Several years ago at an Audit MYM the speaker was “chosen” (influenced by, suggested by etc) by the sponsoring public accounting firm.  The speaker’s main job was being a lobbyist for that firm (technical title was Director of Government Engagement or the like and the position description provided did not mention the word lobbying) – he had no CPA, no audit experience, and was the head of the firm’s PAC (political action committee or funder of political candidates) – so what was he doing as the key note speaker of the Audit Section MYM?   So as you set in your MYM this year, think about who the speakers are and how they got there!  Ask questions and think critically.


Christmas hiatus

Yep, I have been on a long Christmas hiatus from the old blog world!!!  Interestingly enough it started when I finally broke through an almost two month period of writer’s block.  Yes indeed, “writer’s block” affects academic authors just as it affects best sellers in the fiction and nonfiction world.  So what does writer’s block have to do with NOT writing the blog.  I was so thrilled to be writing my own work again that it became an all consuming passion over the past four weeks (along with taking off time to be with spouse and son over the holidays).  My priorities were, family first, keep the journal engine moving second, and enjoy being able to write again third!  Everything else got blocked.

But as the old saying goes “baby I’m back and it feels so good!!!” more anon.

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