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Who's in Control?: On the relationship between locus of control and the influence of unethical authority

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The goal of this study was to explore the relationship between locus of control and the influence of an unethical authority figure. This research is a preliminary, exploratory study given research design limits. It was hypothesized that subjects oriented towards

The goal of this study was to explore the relationship between locus of control and the influence of an unethical authority figure. This research is a preliminary, exploratory study given research design limits. It was hypothesized that subjects oriented towards internal locus of control are better able to resist pressure from an unethical authority figure. Subjects oriented towards the powerful others and chance orientations were hypothesized to be less able to resist pressure from an unethical authority figure. The results found that the presence of an unethical authority figure had little to no influence on self-perceived unethical decision-making; the difference in unethical behavior between cases with an authority figure present and without one present was not statistically significant. Further, no support was found for the hypotheses as no statistically significant relationship between locus of control orientations and the difference between the control case and test case was found (R2 = 0.02, model P-value > 0.05). Further analysis confirmed the results of Detert et al. (2008), finding no relationship between survey subjects’ locus of control orientations and unethical decision-making. Additional analysis indicates a relationship between unethical decision-making and gender (B = -5.14, P = 0.03, P < 0.05), providing some interesting avenues for future research.

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2020-05

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Application of Small-Scale Data Analytics to a Pre-Existing Accounting Process

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The concept of data analytics has become a primary focus for companies of all types, and from within all industries. Leveraging data to enhance the decision making power of management is now vital for companies to remain competitive. Beginning as

The concept of data analytics has become a primary focus for companies of all types, and from within all industries. Leveraging data to enhance the decision making power of management is now vital for companies to remain competitive. Beginning as a movement pioneered by tech-startups and teams of university researchers, data analytics is reshaping every industry that it touches, and the field of accounting has been no exception.
Corporate buzzword terms like “big data” and “data analytics” are vague in meaning, and are thrown around by media sources often enough to obfuscate their actual meanings. These concepts are then associated with company-wide initiatives beyond the reach of the individual, in a nebulous world where people know that analytics happens, but don’t understand what it is.
The power of data analytics is not reserved for company-wide initiatives, or only employed by Silicon Valley tech start-ups. Its impacts are visible down at the team or department level, and can be conducted by the individual employees. The field of data analytics is evolving, and within it exists a rapid transition in which the individual employee is becoming a source for insight and value creation through the adoption of analytics based approaches.
The purpose of this thesis is to showcase an example of this claim, and demonstrate how an analytics based approach was applied to an existing accounting process to create new insights and information. To do this, I will discuss my development of an Excel based Dashboard Analytics tool, which I completed during my internship with Bechtel Corporation throughout the summer of 2018, and I will use this analytics tool to demonstrate the improvements that small-scale analytics had on a pre-existing process. During this discussion, I will address conceptual aspects of database design that related to my project, and will show how I applied this classroom learning to a working environment. The paper will begin with an overview of the desired goals of the group in which I was based, and will then analyze how the needs of the group led to the creation and implementation of this new analytics-based reporting tool. I will conclude with a discussion of the potential future use of this tool, and how the inclusion of these analytical approaches will continue to shape the working environment.

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2019-05

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An Analysis of SEC Clawback Provisions in terms of Loss-Aversion and Narcissism

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Executive compensation is broken into two parts: one fixed and one variable. The fixed component of executive compensation is the annual salary and the variable components are performance-based incentives. Clawback provisions of executive compensation are designed to require executives to

Executive compensation is broken into two parts: one fixed and one variable. The fixed component of executive compensation is the annual salary and the variable components are performance-based incentives. Clawback provisions of executive compensation are designed to require executives to return performance-based, variable compensation that was erroneously awarded in the year of a misstatement. This research shows the need for the use of a new clawback provision that combines aspects of the two currently in regulation. In our current federal regulation, there are two clawback provisions in play: Section 304 of Sarbanes-Oxley and section 954 of The Dodd\u2014Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This paper argues for the use of an optimal clawback provision that combines aspects of both the current SOX provision and the Dodd-Frank provision, by integrating the principles of loss aversion and narcissism. These two factors are important to consider when designing a clawback provision, as it is generally accepted that average individuals are loss averse and executives are becoming increasingly narcissistic. Therefore, when attempting to mitigate the risk of a leader keeping erroneously awarded executive compensation, the decision making factors of narcissism and loss aversion must be taken into account. Additionally, this paper predicts how compensation structures will shift post-implementation. Through a survey analyzing the level of both loss- aversion and narcissism in respondents, the research question justifies the principle that people are loss averse and that a subset of the population show narcissistic tendencies. Both loss aversion and narcissism drove the results to suggest there are benefits to both clawback provisions and that a new provision that combines elements of both is most beneficial in mitigating the risk of executives receiving erroneously awarded compensation. I concluded the most optimal clawback provision is mandatory for all public companies (Dodd-Frank), targets all executives (Dodd-Frank), and requires the recuperation of the entire bonus, not just that which was in excess of what should have been received (SOX).

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2018-12

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Blockchain: What is it and What Does it Mean for Public Accountants?

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Blockchain is a sophisticated and complex technology that will have a massive impact on the public accounting industry. Currently there is concern surrounding how blockchain may impact the industry as a whole. Auditors and accountants are worried that this technology

Blockchain is a sophisticated and complex technology that will have a massive impact on the public accounting industry. Currently there is concern surrounding how blockchain may impact the industry as a whole. Auditors and accountants are worried that this technology has the potential to replace the responsibilities they fulfill. However, blockchain technology will not replace accountants and will enhance their daily activities by eliminating menial tasks, providing increased transparency, and allowing time to be spent in areas that require more consideration. This will change the role of accountants and professionals, requiring them to be more technologically proficient and analytically minded. This paper is organized as follows. There will be an initial explanation of the technology to inform the reader of what blockchain is and how it works. Then there will be a discussion regarding how blockchain technology relates to, and can be utilized by, public accounting firms as well as the implications of blockchain on the public accounting industry. These implications will be discussed followed by why they are extraneous, and how to combat them in both the assurance and advisory practices. In conclusion, recommendations will be provided for public accounting firms on how to effectively utilize the technology to their benefit.

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2018-12

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The Cognitive Audit: The Effects of Cognitive Computing on Financial Audit Roles of Tomorrow

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Cognitive technology has been at the forefront of the minds of many technology, government, and business leaders, because of its potential to completely revolutionize their fields. Furthermore, individuals in financial statement auditor roles are especially focused on the impact of

Cognitive technology has been at the forefront of the minds of many technology, government, and business leaders, because of its potential to completely revolutionize their fields. Furthermore, individuals in financial statement auditor roles are especially focused on the impact of cognitive technology because of its potential to eliminate many of the tedious, repetitive tasks involved in their profession. Adopting new technologies that can autonomously collect more data from a broader range of sources, turn the data into business intelligence, and even make decisions based on that data begs the question of whether human roles in accounting will be completely replaced. A partial answer: If the ramifications of past technological advances are any indicator, cognitive technology will replace some human audit operations and grow some new and higher order roles for humans. It will shift the focus of accounting professionals to more complex judgment and analysis.
The next question: What do these changes in the roles and responsibilities look like for the auditors of the future? Cognitive technology will assuredly present new issues for which humans will have to find solutions.
• How will humans be able to test the accuracy and completeness of the decisions derived by cognitive systems?
• If cognitive computing systems rely on supervised learning, what is the most effective way to train systems?
• How will cognitive computing fair in an industry that experiences ever-changing industry regulations?
• Will cognitive technology enhance the quality of audits?
In order to answer these questions and many more, I plan on examining how cognitive technologies evolved into their use today. Based on this historic trajectory, stakeholder interviews, and industry research, I will forecast what auditing jobs may look like in the near future taking into account rapid advances in cognitive computing.
The conclusions forecast a future in auditing that is much more accurate, timely, and pleasant. Cognitive technologies allow auditors to test entire populations of transactions, to tackle audit issues on a more continuous basis, to alleviate the overload of work that occurs after fiscal year-end, and to focus on client interaction.

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2018-05

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An Analysis of Alignment between Accounting Standard Differences Among Countries Adopting IFRS and Historical Standards

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The goal of this study is to assess differences that still exist in International Financial Reporting Standards based financial statements between otherwise similar firms. We undertake this study because one primary goal of IFRS is to enhance comparability of financial

The goal of this study is to assess differences that still exist in International Financial Reporting Standards based financial statements between otherwise similar firms. We undertake this study because one primary goal of IFRS is to enhance comparability of financial statements world-wide, but it is unclear to what extent that has happened. First, we assess whether different countries adopt different versions of IFRS. We find, adopting countries fully adopt IFRS with only minor alterations to IFRS as promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board. We then test whether otherwise similar firms, but from different countries, interpret IFRS differently. IFRS is a principles-based set of accounting standards, and thus offers a wide array of options for companies to choose from in their reporting. The latitude of options in reporting inherently creates room for differences when firms interpret IFRS for their own financial statements. Building on prior studies (e.g., Ball (2016), Nobes (2011)), we find that historical country GAAP is influential, and in documented instances constrains comparability of otherwise similar firms located in different IFRS adopting countries. Based on our findings, we then offer suggestions to preparers and users of these financial statements, and the IASB, to address financial statement comparability issues (see appendix C).

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2020-05

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Motivation Crowding Theory and Its Limits

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This paper consists of a literature review, wherein four papers surrounding Motivation Crowding Theory (MCT) were read and analyzed. The paper then goes into an analysis of a survey I conducted. The survey consisted of three main questions with three

This paper consists of a literature review, wherein four papers surrounding Motivation Crowding Theory (MCT) were read and analyzed. The paper then goes into an analysis of a survey I conducted. The survey consisted of three main questions with three sub-questions for each, and all attempted to find a "limit" to MCT. However, results for the survey were ultimately inconclusive. The paper concludes with lessons learned in conducting research and surveys in particular, as well as a nod to the relevancy of MCT in business and personal applications.

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2020-05

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Introversion and Success in Public Accounting

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This thesis analyzes the connection between introversion and success in public accounting by looking at traits introverts need to develop in order to do well in this field. The paper begins by giving a background on both public accounting and

This thesis analyzes the connection between introversion and success in public accounting by looking at traits introverts need to develop in order to do well in this field. The paper begins by giving a background on both public accounting and introversion and why the relationship between these two needs to be studied. It discusses how introversion is not the norm in business, but how the traits outlined in the paper give introverts a strong opportunity for success. The first trait looked at is one-on-one skills and how the ability to communicate well in small groups helps introverts in public accounting to build solid relationships with their clients and coworkers. Next, the paper talks about public speaking and how introverts need to lean into their ability to prepare thoroughly in order to avoid speaking anxiety, which likely plagues them. After that, the paper looks at networking and how an introvert's ability to create deep connections outweighs some natural setbacks they may face in this endeavor. The final trait analyzed is creativity and how introverts possess a unique aptitude in this area because of the differences in how they think and process information. For public accounting, this is a useful skill, especially when it comes to problem solving. The last section of this thesis examines the importance of self-awareness for introverts to understand themselves and be understood by others while working on teams. The conclusion of this paper outlines the main ideas on how introverts can succeed in public accounting by leaning into these traits, owning who they are, and contributing from their unique perspective.

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2017-12

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Web-based Accounting Curriculum for Financial Literacy

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The Internet has brought along countless benefits to society and for the case of this thesis, especially educational benefits. Students can now have endless resources to whatever they wish to learn. This is especially beneficial in a time where a

The Internet has brought along countless benefits to society and for the case of this thesis, especially educational benefits. Students can now have endless resources to whatever they wish to learn. This is especially beneficial in a time where a clear majority of studies show that the U.S.'s financial literacy is in a concerning state. However, even though there may be a bounty of websites and programs available non-exclusively, they do not all effectively teach accounting and finance. In fact, many websites aimed at teaching accounting or finance simply replicate textbooks and glossaries, even though there are ways to make them more effective learning tools. Since the scope of this empirical observation is too large to confront, this thesis is mainly concerned with students currently learning accounting and finance who wish to have more supplemental learning information. Accordingly, the overarching argument of this thesis, is that college students aiming to learn accounting do not have enough resources to fully understand the classroom formulas and concepts. The creative solution for this problem is a website, name FIN-WIT aimed at providing financial content in plain language and with real-world examples.

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2018-05

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An Analysis of the Relevancy of Women's Initiative Programs in Public Accounting

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Women have more opportunities to expand their career aspirations than ever before, so many view it as being acutely relevant. However, although women now account for more than half of the work force, there is still a considerable gap in

Women have more opportunities to expand their career aspirations than ever before, so many view it as being acutely relevant. However, although women now account for more than half of the work force, there is still a considerable gap in the representation of women in the top leadership positions within their organizations. This trend is especially prevalent in public accounting firms. Drilling down to the root cause of gender inequality in firm management reveals several key obstacles that women face including generational gender biases, inflexible work schedules, insufficient career development training, and limited visibility of other female leaders. The negative implications of uneven gender distribution in upper management leave a potential for firms to miss opportunities for diverse perspectives on innovations, solutions, and advancement in the industry. Furthermore, firms make tremendous investments on extensive training of their professionals throughout the entire length of their careers, so high turnover rates cause a significant loss to each firm's investment in their human capital. So, public accounting firms have made considerable investments to develop resources and programs in order to combat the issues that create gender inequality and uneven turnover. The thesis begins by reviewing the Ann Hopkins v. Price Waterhouse trail, which was a pivotal point in changing how public accounting firms treat and prevent sex discrimination within their organizations. The rest of the thesis analyzes the correlation between the barriers that are most frequently linked to hindering women's success in public accounting and the programs that firms have installed to address those barriers. It also addresses qualitative accounts from female CPAs on the actual effectiveness of their firm's programs on the longevity of their careers in public accounting, as well as perspectives from current Accountancy students on the relevancy of diversity and inclusion programs.

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2016-05