Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Monthly Archives: March 2018

The democratic cycle at the AAA

Many of us are members of the American Accounting Association and normally we also belong to one or two or three of its sections.  When I joined the AAA almost 30 years ago now, the sections were the only places where democratic elections took place.  Indeed, many of the sections prided themselves that unlike the AAA they featured regular accountability sessions and actual choices for members for filling the senior section offices.

Fast forward 30 years, now all the national AAA offices normally have elections associated with them, something that AAA officers in the 1990’s said was impossible to have occur.  But at the section level we are now in the period of the one office one candidate world, where elections are a rarity.  Indeed, many sections no longer have real business meetings but combine them with lunch or cocktails so that little or no direct accountability to members can take place.  The excuse given is that only a minority of members come to these accountability sessions, therefor why bother????  Well only a minority of members of elected assemblies around the world attend the vast majority of meetings of those bodies, but does that mean we get rid of elected bodies altogether????

Anyhow, that’s a bit of a rant that I have put off writing for a long time.

A rare reading recommendation

If you struggle to understand the narrowness of publications in the American Three journals, I suggest you read the articles in the journal Critical Perspectives on Accounting.  Yes, I know many of my readers are only remotely aware of CPA (the journal not the designation) but the March 2018 issue is one that we can learn from.

Where else would you see commentaries by Chris Chapman (former AOS EIC), Steve Kachelmier (former Senior Editor at TAR) and Steve Salterio (former CAR EIC) discussing one paper from their varied perspectives (also with others including Tim Fogarty, Dana Hermanson).   The focus of their comments is on an article by Endenich and Trapp entitled “Signaling effects of scholarly profiles – The editorial teams of North American accounting association journals”  in Volume 51 2018.  The article suggests that what senior editors or EIC’s do matters on the margins of publishing when it comes to attracting a more diverse methodological set of literature in accounting (but does not have any affect on substantive accounting topics or subareas).

The commentary makes for fascinating reading, and not just because I am one of the commentators.  A careful reading of the paper and the three comments by Chapman, and the two Steve’s will give you a lot of insight into what goes on in the accounting journal publishing world.  Congrats to Yves Gendron (one of the Co-EIC’s of CPA) for pulling such a diverse project together.

What do you do at a conference?

In another post targeting at junior scholars (PhD students and junior faculty) I would like to make some suggestions about do’s and don’ts when going to the appropriate conferences for you (see previous post on choosing conferences).


  1. Stay for the entire conference.  Nothing makes you look less serious than turning up late or leaving early.  You can do that once you are established but it looks bad when you are the newbie on the circuit.
  2. Stay at the conference hotel.  You have already spent a lot of money to get to the conference, why make your networking harder by staying a an off-site hotel?  The little bit of money you save by staying offsite is more than lost in the time you lose going back and forth.
  3. Develop a list of people in advance that you want to network with. Potential co-authors, advisors, folks who can write letters for you in a few years (e.g. tenure letters), and people who are at the cutting edge in your area.  Going to a conference without a “hit” list results in you defaulting into one of the don’ts listed below.
  4. Figure out how you are going to locate the folks on your “hit” list.  Some you may be able to fix a meeting time in advance with (potential co-authors), others you may plan to attend their presentations and talk to afterward, others you attempt to locate at breaks (although this is the hardest) and some you locate through various receptions and smaller lunches (e.g. Section luncheons, university receptions etc).  The point is that you have a plan.


  1.  Do not stay exclusively in the circle of fellow or former PhD students or with faculty from the University you are currently at.  While it may seem “safe” to stay in the bubble of familiarity that cannot be the only outcome of your conference attendance.
  2. Do not hid in your room.  Yep it is tough to network especially as many of us are introverts but hiding in your room is not the solution.

As I think of more do’s and don’ts I will add to this list.  Add your own suggestions if you wish at the bottom!!!

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