حرکت رو به جلو پژوهش حسابداری مالی: سهم انگلستان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10331||2005||30 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The British Accounting Review, Volume 37, Issue 1, March 2005, Pages 85–114
The purpose of this paper is to review the recent UK contribution to the field of financial accounting research, set against the backdrop of the global (mainly US) research effort. A systematic overview of recent research in the field is presented, based upon an analysis of 261 articles published between 1998 and 2002 in seven general, non-US journals. These are the journals that UK academics publish in most frequently and 115 of the articles are UK-authored. It is found that the research areas of MBAR and disclosure currently dominate conventional financial accounting research. The comparison of findings across institutional settings offers fruitful lines of inquiry for research within these main areas (i.e. studies of value relevance, analysts' forecasts, voluntary disclosure and earnings management). While most research is seen to follow the highly quantitative, economics-based US tradition, a significant amount of UK research adopts a more qualitative approach, and distinctive UK contributions are evident in a number of areas (in particular, the disclosure process and corporate social reporting). There are signs that UK researchers are helping researchers in other countries contribute to the global body of scholarly knowledge.
This article undertakes a review of the current state of academic research in the field of financial accounting. Financial accounting is one of the main fields within the accounting discipline and it encompasses many distinct research areas. Given that this review is constrained to the length of a journal article, the discussion must inevitably be relatively high level. This article is one of a set of such articles, each covering a different field, which has been commissioned by the editors of the British Accounting Review. Since other reviews will deal with international accounting and critical accounting, and possibly accounting history, these areas are specifically excluded from this review. However, the subject boundaries are not clear cut, as financial accounting has links with fields such as audit, corporate governance, management accounting and not-for-profit organisations. These specialist areas are also excluded from this review. Review articles can serve a number of purposes. Given that this review covers an entire field, it presents an overview and, therefore, to some extent depth is sacrificed for breadth of coverage. The primary intended audience is academics at the outset of their research career. The review offers such individuals a point of entry to the theories, research methods, key prior and current literature in a particular area. Secondary audiences are advanced level students and established academics with a thorough knowledge of a given sub-field. By mapping out the domain of a field, a broad review provides a useful aid to teachers seeking to provide a broad overview to students, acting as an ‘advance organiser’ to encourage integrated learning (Mayer, 1987, pp. 120–125). Broad reviews allow researchers experienced in the field to take stock; to evaluate progress and identify gaps and fruitful lines for future inquiry. The brief was to focus on the contribution made by conventional1 financial accounting researchers in the UK over recent years.2 This contribution is set against the backdrop of research developments elsewhere, particularly in the US and continental Europe. Since the accounting literature is truly global, it is unhelpful to try to discuss the UK contribution without recognizing the linkages that the UK research effort has with non-UK research. Global research is the context within which UK researchers seek to make a contribution. All reviews of this type are necessarily personal and subjective. However, to guard against an unduly unbalanced and impressionistic evaluation, this review is grounded in a systematic analysis of contemporary UK contributions. The scholarly communication literature identifies the academic journal as the primary medium of scholarly discourse (Borgman, 1990).3 In the discipline of accounting, academic (i.e. peer-reviewed) journals accounted for 52% of all publication outputs by UK and Irish academics during 1998 and 1999 (Beattie and Goodacre, 2004; Table 2). Professional journal articles, books, book chapters and research reports account for most of the remainder. However, most original research is reported in the academic journal literature, even if it is also reported in other publication media as well (albeit written in a different style for a different audience). This is one of the main reasons why the systematic review confines itself to academic journals (the other reason is that it was necessary to keep the task to manageable proportions). However, the more subjective, narrative review does include selected books and research reports. Academic journal publications are highly concentrated in accounting. Beattie and Goodacre (2004) report that, over a 2-year period, 1141 articles were published spread across 442 different journals (p. 25). However, the top 10 accounting journals accounted for 57% of all publications in accounting journals. These journals were systematically examined to identify financial accounting articles, examine the characteristics of these articles and assess their contribution. A total of 261 articles, published between 1998 and 2002, were evaluated. Rather than simply document the development of financial accounting research, this article seeks to offer some explanation of the current structure of the field. The sociology of scientific knowledge and scholarly communication literatures examine the development of scholarly knowledge and the academic evaluation and reward system that underpins the production of this knowledge. Scholarship is understood to constitute a social system. Often developments emerge from the interplay of three sources of influence: external influences, internal cognitive (i.e. intellectual) factors and internal social factors (Borgman, 1990 and Woolgar, 1988). Because financial accounting is a social science discipline with practical application, it is especially open to influence from the outside. External events can shift research priorities and create new research areas, helping to keep the field fresh and exciting. Developments can also occur due to internal factors, whether cognitive or social in nature. Obviously, there can be intellectual breakthoughs (minor or major). Such cognitive aspects are traced through published research documents, which are the formal output of scholarly activity and the formal channel for the communication of ideas. The social dynamics of the global academic accounting community (i.e. its structures and processes), as well as its evaluation and reward structures, can also exert a powerful influence. The social aspects of scholarly communication are captured by the ‘invisible college’ concept (Crane, 1972). The social structure of academic communities arises from the different types of social relationship that can exist between scholars: co-authorship, trusted assessorship, colleagueship; and apprenticeship (Mullins, 1973). In particular, this review documents the co-authorship relationships between UK and continental European academics. The remainder of this paper is structured as follows. Section 2 briefly considers the historical development of financial accounting research and the reasons why developments in research occur, distinguishing between external influences, internal cognitive factors and internal social factors. In Section 3, the journals and articles that were specifically reviewed for the purposes of writing this paper are described. The main review is contained in Section 4, which presents the quantitative findings from the analysis of recent research published in the field and then discusses, in turn, each of the main research areas, first giving the global scene, then highlighting the UK contribution. Section 5 summarises and concludes.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Given the breadth and depth of the field that this review attempts to cover, the discussion clearly has not been comprehensive. The focus has been on setting out the UK contribution, given that extant reviews of individual research areas tend to be written from a US perspective. This paper has discussed some of the principal external, internal cognitive and internal social factors that have influenced recent developments in the field of financial accounting research globally. A systematic overview of recent research in the field is presented, based upon an analysis of 261 articles published between 1998 and 2002 in seven general, non-US journals. These are the journals that UK academics publish in most frequently and 115 of the articles are UK-authored. The field is split into (inevitably overlapping) research areas based on an examination of the attributes of each article (topic area, research methods and informing theory). It is found that the research areas of MBAR and disclosure dominate. Since most (though by no means all) studies in these areas are archival studies, it is not surprising to find that archival methods are used in half of all studies. It was also noted that it is not unusual for UK authors to co-author studies with researchers from other countries (especially continental Europe), often using data from these countries. Examination of the content of the 115 UK papers showed that the UK is characterised by extremely diverse research genres—from the highly quantitative, economics-based, positive US tradition, through to the qualitative, relativist/critical tradition, with all shades in between. It is also clear that there has been a distinctive UK contribution made in several research areas. However, given the relatively small amount of financial accounting research undertaken in the UK, this distinctive contribution can often be traced to just a few individual researchers.23 In the area of MBAR, certain areas of disclosure research and earnings management, essential replication studies are being undertaken in settings other than the US. Replication studies apply established theoretical frameworks and research methods to new data sets. It is worth stating explicitly that such studies have the potential to make a significant contribution to knowledge. It is important, however, that the data set used is selected for good reasons. Each data set is embedded in a particular financial reporting environment—cultural, institutional, economic and regulatory. Researchers need to select the environment in a purposeful way, so that the possible reasons for observed differences in findings can be attributed and the variables of key interest are focused upon. This work is critical to improving our understanding of the impact of institutional factors on the relationship between accounting signals and the market and on disclosure decisions. Another good reason for undertaking replication studies is that more powerful tests of disclosure theories are possible in settings where greater variation is possible due to less stringent regulation. Given that the US market is heavily regulated, other countries are being studied by non-US researchers (and a few US researchers). It is likely that significant insights will emerge from attempts to understand the reasons for country differences in market effects, disclosure decisions, earnings management behaviour and analysts' behaviour. It is, of course, first necessary to document these differences. One of the most active research fronts exists in the area of voluntary disclosure. Core (2001, p. 442) rightly argues that ‘the voluntary disclosure literature appears to offer the greatest opportunity for large increases in our understanding of the role of accounting information in firm valuation and corporate finance’. It is likely that future research will increasingly seek to address endogeneity and measurement problems. In particular, there is a critical need to develop disclosure metrics, and UK researchers are making a significant contribution in this regard. The development of a grounded theory relating to disclosure is another specific areas where a distinctive UK contribution is apparent. This body of work seeks to develop a comprehensive model of disclosure that encompasses both public and private disclosure. Given the benefits of using multiple methods, it seems possible that insights into the dynamics of the disclosure process will prove valuable in improving the design of large-sample studies. In the areas of both MBAR and disclosure, there is significant potential for cross-country comparisons within the EU when listed companies in all countries will be attempting to adopt international accounting standards (from 2005 onwards). In the run-up to 2005, there will be new information in the financial accounts, the degree of novelty varying across countries. Other areas where a distinctive UK contribution is apparent are in the topic areas of CSR and non-numerical formats in the business reporting package (i.e. narratives, and graphs) as well as in the use of qualitative and case-based methods. Given the relatively low number of UK researchers, and the epistemic diversity evident in UK research, it becomes difficult to generate a critical mass of research that is widely recognised as moving the research front forward. Nevertheless, in recent years, ‘hot spots’ in the field of mainstream financial reporting seem to have existed at a few institutions. In addition to making a direct contribution to the literature, UK researchers appear to be playing a significant role in developing the continental European research community, through co-authorship relations. This social relationship, in many cases, seems to arise from a prior role as PhD supervisor. These social links are facilitating the dissemination of research skills across the continent and beyond. Thus, UK researchers are contributing to the development of scholarly knowledge not only directly, but also through their academic links with non-UK researchers.