Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research: Volume 15

Cover of Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research

Table of contents

(14 chapters)

List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Manuscripts should be forwarded to the editor, Donna Bobek Schmitt, at via e-mail. All text, tables, and figures should be incorporated into a Word document prior to submission. The manuscript should also include a title page containing the name and address of all authors and a concise abstract. Also, include a separate Word document with any experimental materials or survey instruments. If you are unable to submit electronically, please forward the manuscript along with the experimental materials to the following address:

This study uses an experimental approach to examine how the perceptions and decisions of prospective nonprofessional investors are influenced by risk disclosures in the Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A). The between-subjects experiment used 157 MBA students as nonprofessional investors. The participants were given a firm's financial statements. In addition, the experimental group received the section on risk in the MD&A, whereas the control group did not receive any part of the MD&A. The participants were then asked to make several investment assessments and a final investment decision. The results show that the information included in the risk section of the MD&A has a significant negative effect on perceptions of the firm's future performance, a significant positive influence on perceptions of the stock's risk, and a marginally significant negative effect on the investment decision. The effect on the investment decision is mediated by respondents' perceptions of the firm's future performance and stock risk. By providing evidence on the effect of risk disclosures on nonprofessional investors' investment decision-making process, this study can help professional bodies and national market regulators understand how some market participants react to risk information provided under their regulations. In fact, the results indicate that there is little to be gained by firms voluntarily providing these risk disclosures. This would seem to support the fact that disclosure of risk information needs to be mandated by market regulators.

We conduct an experiment to analyze the impact of a well-established psychological construct, need for cognition, in an audit-related decision context. By simulating a basic audit sampling task, we determine whether the desire to engage in a cognitive process influences decisions made during that task. Specifically, we investigate whether an individual's need for cognition influences the quantity of data collected, the revision of a predetermined sampling plan, and the time taken to make a decision. Additionally, we examine the impact of cost constraints during the decision-making process.

Contrary to results in previous studies, we find those with a higher need for cognition sought less data than those with a lower need for cognition to make an audit sampling decision. In addition, we find that the need for cognition had no relationship to sampling plan revisions or the time needed to make an audit sampling decision. Previous studies regarding the need for cognition did not utilize incremental costs for additional decision-making information. Potentially, these costs provided cognitive challenges that influenced decision outcomes.

Using data collected from professionals in a large U.S. national public accounting firm, we explored gender differences in perceived levels of role stress and job outcomes as well as the effects of a healthy lifestyle as a coping mechanism for role stress, burnout, and related job outcomes. Our large sample size (1,681) and equal participation by women (49.7 percent) and men (50.3 percent) allowed us to analyze the causal relationships of these variables using a previously tested multi-disciplinary research model (Jones, Norman, & Wier, 2010). We found that women and men perceive similar levels of role stress as defined by role ambiguity and role overload, and that women perceive less role conflict. Men and women perceive similar levels of job satisfaction and job performance. Contrary to earlier studies, women do not report higher levels of turnover intentions. Results show that efforts of the public accounting firms over the past decade may be somewhat successful in reducing the levels of role stress and turnover intentions among women. Another plausible explanation could be that an expansionist theory of gender, work, and family (Barnett & Hyde, 2001) may now be responsible for improved well-being of females to the point where the genders have converged in their experience of role stress and job outcomes in public accounting.

The current study examines the effect of fraud training on auditors' ability to identify fraud risk factors. This is important because most auditors have little or no direct experience with fraud; thus, research that investigates the potential effect of indirect experience through training is vitally important to fraud detection and audit quality. A total of 369 experienced auditors completed a complex audit simulation task that involved 15 seeded fraud risk red flags. A total of 143 auditors participated in a 30-minute training session focused specifically on fraud risk, while the remaining 226 auditors learned about general internal control risk during this time block. The results indicate that auditors with fraud training identified significantly more red flags and obtained greater knowledge about fraud risk than auditors who did not receive the training. Considering that the fraud training consumed only 30 minutes out of a 64-hour training session, the findings suggest that even modest exposure to fraud training is quite effective.

The Stress Arousal Scale (SAS; Everly, Sherman, & Smith, 1989) is a 20-item psychometric instrument designed to measure cognitive–affective precipitators of the physiological stress response. The SAS has been utilized in a number of studies that have examined various relations between stress arousal and its antecedents and consequences in the accounting work environment. This study introduces a new version of this scale, the SAS4, developed based on the Perseverative Cognition Hypothesis (Brosschot, Gerin, & Thayer, 2006). It is hypothesized that this new scale has internal consistency, test–retest reliability, and both convergent and divergent validity as well as significant correlation with the balance of the items on the original scale. These predictions are tested with a sample of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) members employed in public accounting, and four independent samples of undergraduate business students. The results indicate that the SAS4 is a valid and reliable psychometric measure with potential benefits in terms of its congruence with recent theoretical and empirical advances in the etiology of stress, as well as its administrative efficiency for those seeking to further examine the stress dynamic among accountants in the workplace.

As described in the z-Tree (Zurich Toolbox for Readymade Economic Experiments) tutorial (Fischbacher, 2002), use of the z-Tree software for designing and administering research experiments is quite straightforward. z-Tree is likely to be a viable alternative for accounting researchers interested in administering a computerized experimental game, and it could offer some advantages over web-based administration or use of complicated spreadsheet tools. With little or no programming experience and no familiarity with z-Tree, a researcher can likely program the example experiment described herein to be functional within a day and ready to administer within a week. Thus, one appeal of z-Tree is the ease of programming and execution and possibly reduced investment of time by the researcher. This tutorial describes use of the z-Tree software to program a noninteractive accounting research experiment; as such, it should serve as a supplemental and more specific tutorial, with many illustrations, for accounting researchers considering using the z-Tree program.

This chapter presents a review of the recent sales and use tax (SUT) literature for accountants, focusing on articles published between 2000 and 2011 in traditional accounting outlets. State and local taxes are an important component of accounting research, but the SUT element of state and location taxation has not been reviewed from an accounting perspective. This review indicates that most recent SUT research has focused on evaluating current or proposed SUT structures, or on empirically studying the antecedents and consequences of SUT policy. Behavioral researchers have substantial opportunities to contribute to the SUT field in future studies by conducting surveys, behavioral experiments, and qualitative case studies to further expand the field's understanding of SUT's antecedents and consequences. Overall, this chapter provides a comprehensive overview of recent SUT research that can help to foster interest of SUT within behavioral accounting research and beyond.

Cover of Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research
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Advances in Accounting Behavioural Research
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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