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Round 2 of the impact factor wars – JCR reports earlier this week

Scopus and their impact factor index (Citescore) had a day in the sun when I was at the EAA in Milano!  The top ten rankings they came up with were as follows:

Source title CiteScore
Management Accounting Research 4.53
Journal of Accounting and Economics 4.36
Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 4.33
Journal of Accounting Research 4.29
British Accounting Review 3.31
Accounting Review 3.24
Critical Perspectives on Accounting 3.18
Meditari Accountancy Research 3.02
Accounting, Organizations and Society 2.94
Journal of Accounting Literature 2.61

Notice the absence of some of the leading players as we like to think of them.  CAR and RAST were not in the top ten of CiteScore.

Fast forward a few weeks and JCR reports from Clairviate Analytics came in

Full Journal Title Journal Impact Factor
Management Accounting Research 3.800
Critical Perspectives on Accounting 3.182
Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal 2.911
British Accounting Review 2.232
European Accounting Review 2.169

Some strong similarities.  The similarities include:

  1. the high ranking of Management Accounting Research (kudos to Wim and his team)
  2. the return of JAR as a contender for top accounting cited journal
  3. The missing of RAST from both lists and the fact that CAR only makes it into the second due to rounding error.
  4. The grouping of a new top three JAR, JAE, and MAR with several journals knocking at the door AAAJ, CPA, BAR and TAR.

An unbalanced GMARS – year 2

No I am not talking about the state of mind of the organizers, albeit with the amount of work they have to put into this every third year (just long enough to forget the details from the last time they hosted it) they may well feel that way at the time!  No what I am talking about it the virtual absence of archival management accounting research at the conference.

If my memory serves me correctly, a few years ago the unbalancing was on the side of field research – where it was relatively rare to have more than one or two sessions of field work.  In the last two GMARS the absence of archival management accounting research has been striking – not even enough papers for one full session.

On the plus side, GMARS is a beacon for diversity in management accounting research with experimental economics, psychology experiments, survey research, and all flavours of field research (positivist and interpretivists with the odd critical paper). Nonetheless, just as a few years ago when I saw the lack of field work a drawback, I am now seeing the lack of archival based economics work as a constraint to the success of what I think of as the best management accounting conference in the world.

(As an aside to a certain Texan, note that my defense of diversity is not based on my preferred methods being better represented but rather on the basis of what is needed to allow for an excellent exchange of ideas across research approaches.)

Order and accounting writing

Back in the day when there were lots of experimental economics papers in accounting – an unfortunately dying breed of papers it seems – there was an interesting order of presentation of the experiments.

Motivation or grand issue – description of the experimental setting and what the various features represented – a theory section that made both point predictions (that rarely worked) and directional predictions (that often worked – at least in published papers) – results – supplemental results and conclusions.

I think that most good interpretive work would do well to follow this approach, especially when grand concerns lead the researcher into the field, not specific theorizing ex ante.  My suggested ordering:

The global concerns and what motivates that concern – a description of the case or field setting (rich enough so that nothing new needs to be added later in the paper – just more depth) – a section introducing the theory that will allow the case setting to be analyzed/interpreted – a description of the research methods if not done in the descriptive section –  an analytical section where theory is used as an interpretive lens and a discussion section that draws us back to the global concern that motivated the work.

I think too many interpretive researchers are falling into the trap of writing as if they were positivists – concern, theory, methods, case, analytical and discussion.  It makes no sense to have an up front theory section in a paper where the theory followed the emprics.  Nothing wrong with that if theory did guide the emprics – but that is relatively rare or so I am told by my interpretivists’ friends (which may decline in number after they read this analogy).

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