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Gender in accounting research: a review

Hichem Khlif (Faculty of Economics and Management of Mahdia, University of Monastir, Tunisia)
Imen Achek (High School of Commerce of Tunis, University of Manouba, Kerkennah, Tunisia)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review studies dealing with gender issues in accounting literature over the period of 1994-2016.

Design/methodology/approach

This study combines electronic and manual searches to identify relevant studies using keywords such as “gender” or “female” and “earnings quality” or “social and environmental disclosure” or “auditing” or “tax aggressiveness”. In total, 64 published studies were identified.

Findings

Three main streams of gender accounting literature related to financial reporting (earnings quality, accounting conservatism, voluntary disclosure), auditing (audit fees, audit opinion, audit report lag) and other miscellaneous topics were identified. Gender accounting literature uses empirical analysis, experimental approaches and interviews. Reviewed studies deal with top management gender (CEO, CFO), board of directors, audit committee and auditor gender. A synthesis of empirical findings shows that female representation on the board, audit committee, CFO or CEO leads to more conservative reporting, higher level of social and environmental disclosure, less tax aggressiveness and higher audit fees. Furthermore, auditor gender influences audit quality through lower abnormal accruals and shorter audit report lag, higher likelihood of issuing an adverse audit opinion and higher audit fees. Qualitative studies dealing with miscellaneous topics in gender accounting literature generally focus on the status of women in accounting and auditing professions, gender issues in accounting academic setting and disclosure about women in annual reports.

Practical implications

This review informs policymakers about the effect of female representation on accounting and auditing practices given the political debate largely shaped by anti-discriminatory arguments concerning the under-representation of women in management and audit professions.

Originality/value

This study goes beyond a classic narrative review by presenting criticisms to gender accounting literature and suggesting future research avenues.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the precious comments and suggestions from the two anonymous reviewers and the Editor-in-Chief, Professor Efrim Boritz.

Citation

Khlif, H. and Achek, I. (2017), "Gender in accounting research: a review", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 627-655. https://doi.org/10.1108/MAJ-02-2016-1319

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited