Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Management accountants – partying like it is 1999


There is no doubt that the management accounting section is one of, if not the best, run section of the AAA. And JMAR, despite its problems with MAR, is moving up as well given it is now produced three times a year!

However, when it comes to communicating research to practitioners, the management accountants have caught up with the Audit Section, at least where the Audit Section was in 1999! Back in the heady days around Y2K ( young’uns look it up) the fast talking man from Boston College ( who bookended his career at Northeastern – coming and going), Arnie Wright, convinced the Journal of Accountancy to buy into research! The J of A is the captive Journal of the AICPA ( back in the day when the I stood for Institute not International). What Dr. Wright had done was classic, he convinced the AICPA to give him one page of the magazine per issue where he curated “Practice Summaries” mainly, but not exclusively, drawn from AJPT articles! ( Full disclosure – I encouraged this, loudly supported it, and thought it would show the usefulness of academic research to practitioners!)

Fast forward 20 years! The Management Accounting Section is celebrating the commencement of a series of two page articles in Strategic Finance, the captive journal of the IMA ( where the I still stands proudly for Institute)! Once again, it it’s devoted to practitioner friendly versions of academic management accounting articles. While they allow for the possibility that someone might write a literature summary, they like the Audit Section are initially focusing on single article practitioner translations!

Yet we all know one research article is not the basis for making decisions, don’t we??? Indeed, even Einstein’s greatest research did not warrant that!

In the end, this single article focused translation series, like the auditing Practice Summaries in Journal of Accountancy, will be evaluated by the editors after two or three years, be found to be the least valued section of Strategic Finance by the readers, and dropped from the magazine! Indeed, according to rumour, the Practice Summaries were the least read regular column in J of A in the three years they were run!

Remember the chicken and the egg from last Monday? We continue to show we are farmers concerned with the unit produced, not businesspeople focused on selling to a market of consumers. And likely we again will end up with egg on our face!

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