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Nov. 21, 2018

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The Behavioural Accounting Symposium, held on Nov. 16 at Wilfrid Laurier University, brought together academic researchers from across Canada to discuss new ideas and themes surrounding the accounting profession and how it’s impacted by human behaviour.

The symposium was a joint effort between the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics accounting area and the Canadian Academic Accounting Association and was generously funded by Accounting Perspectives and the CPA Ontario Centre for Capital Markets and Behavioural Decision Making. It was set apart from others like it by the involvement of accounting practitioners who were on hand to lend their perspective and feedback about how the research can continue to shape, and be shaped by, empirical study.

Having practiced accounting for more than 20 years, Anna Czegledi is now an instructor at Conestoga College. She sees the value in having these two groups connect over research. “This is a great opportunity to have researchers and practitioners interact like this. Sharing workplace experience and lab results really produces a unique understanding for the participants who find value in both perspectives.”

The spectrum of industry needs and issues was on full display as researchers and business representatives presented their findings and thoughts. Topics ranged from issues surrounding improving the auditing process to determining the extent to which President Trump’s refusal to comply with tax transparency affects the tax authority’s legitimacy.

“This is what I think makes a job in the accounting profession so interesting – the chance to get out of the lab and deal with real people who make real decisions,” says Jennifer Kennedy, CPA (BBA ’97) who shared her anecdotes of leaders who were forced to make tough decisions.

Laurier professor and symposium coordinator, Leslie Berger says that more events like these will help to bring together groups that have traditionally been siloed. “Our goal is to continue to provide an opportunity for accounting researchers, PhD students and CPA practitioners from across Canada the chance to learn more about recent behavioural research while also gaining insights from practitioners about their first-hand experiences. To us, this is the best way to see the implications of our work and how it meshes with behavioural accounting in today’s industry.”

Below is an account of the topics discussed and the researchers who presented them:

Research and Discussion Topics

External Auditors’ Judgement and Decision Making: An Audit Process Analysis

Presenting Author: Regan N. Schmidt, University of Saskatchewan
Research Team: Carolyn MacTavish, Wilfrid Laurier University; Susan McCracken, McMaster University

Communication is a Two-Way Street: Analyzing Approaches Undertaken to Enhance Systemic Audit Research Knowledge Transfer to Policymakers

Presenting Author: Steve Salterio, Queen’s University
Research Team: Kris Hoang, University of Alabama; Yi Luo, Queen’s University

The Next Generation Auditor: Developing Auditors for the Digital Age

Speaker: Krista Alexander, CPA, CA; Director, Audit Strategy and Operations at KPMG Canada

Needs Versus Wants: Which Motivates More Effort?

Presenting Author: Adam Presslee, University of Waterloo

Managing Costs: Anecdotes of Leader Decision Making

Speaker: Jennifer Kennedy, CPA, CA

All That Twitters Is Not Gold: Financial Disclosures, Social Media, and Affect

Presenting Author: Mike Wynes, Wilfrid Laurier University

Guilty Pleasures: An Investigation of Taxpayers’ Motivations to Blow the Whistle

Presenting Author: Jonathan Farrer, Ryerson University
Research Team: Thomas Farrar, Cape Peninsula University of Technology; Cass Hausserman, Portland State University

Things that go Trump in the Night: Tax Compliance and the Dark Side of Ethical Leadership

Presenting Author: Linda Thorne
Research Team: Jonathan Farrer, Ryerson University; Dawn W. Massey, Fairfield University; Errol Osecki, York University


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