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Public accounting vs private accounting, career choice of accounting students in China

Lei Wen (School of Business, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, USA)
Hongwei (Chris) Yang (Department of Communication, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA)
Danlu Bu (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China)
Lizabeth Diers (School of Business, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, USA)
Huaqing Wang (School of Business, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, USA)

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2042-1168

Article publication date: 5 February 2018

2938

Abstract

Purpose

Built upon three components (attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control) of the theory of planned behavior (TPB), the purpose of this paper is to analyze the factors that influenced accounting students’ intention to pursue public accounting instead of private accounting as their career choice in China.

Design/methodology/approach

The TPB is used to predict the rational intention of accounting students in this study. A binary logistic regression analysis was applied to test all hypotheses because of its suitability.

Findings

The authors find that the variety and marketability of public accounting experiences, high turnover plus, low firm cohesion in the workplace, and perceived difficulties in traveling extensively affected students’ intentions to pursue the public accounting profession significantly. By highlighting these factors that affect students’ intention to pursue public accounting, this paper has important implications for the accounting educators and other stakeholders in China and other emerging economies.

Originality/value

By understanding the factors influencing the accounting students’ interests in pursuing public accounting, accounting educators and accounting firms could make some changes, redesign accounting curriculum, and enhance internship experience and recruiting process in order to increase more interests in public accounting. Professional organizations and policy makers might learn some lessons to take some actions to encourage young accounting professionals to work for public accounting firms. Moreover, this study has provided a valuable perspective to accounting educators, practitioners, and policy makers in other emerging economies with the same shortage of qualified public accountants.

Keywords

Citation

Wen, L., Yang, H.(C)., Bu, D., Diers, L. and Wang, H. (2018), "Public accounting vs private accounting, career choice of accounting students in China", Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 124-140. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAEE-09-2016-0080

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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