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Beware of the watchdog! Role communication in job advertisements for management accountants

Robert Rieg (Faculty of Business, Aalen University of Applied Sciences, Aalen, Germany)
Jan-Hendrik Meier (Faculty of Business, FH Kiel, Kiel, Germany)
Carmen Finckh (ESB Business School, Reutlingen University, Reutlingen, Germany)

Journal of Applied Accounting Research

ISSN: 0967-5426

Article publication date: 14 March 2023

Issue publication date: 30 October 2023




Job advertisements are important means of communicating role expectations for management accountants to the labor market. They provide information about which roles are sought and expected. However, which roles are communicated in job advertisements is unknown so far.


With a text-mining approach on a large sample of 889 job ads, the authors extract information on roles, type of firm and hierarchical position of the management accountant sought.


The results indicate an apparent mix of different role types with a strong focus on a classic watchdog role. However, the business partner role is more often sought for leadership positions or in family businesses and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME).

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation is the lack of an agreed-upon measurement instrument for roles in job offers. The study results imply that corporate practice is not as theory-driven as is postulated and communicated in the management accounting community. This indicates the existence of a research-practice gap and tensions between different actors in the management accounting field.

Practical implications

The results challenge the current role discussion of professional organizations for management accountants as business partners.


The authors contribute the first study, which explicitly analyzes the communication of roles in job offers for management accountants. It indicates a discrepancy between scholarly discussion on roles and management accountants' work from an employer's perspective.



Rieg, R., Meier, J.-H. and Finckh, C. (2023), "Beware of the watchdog! Role communication in job advertisements for management accountants", Journal of Applied Accounting Research, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 889-909.



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