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Today's PhD Students: Is There a Future Generation of Accounting Academics or are they a Dying Breed? A UK Perspective

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsOther report

Published
Publication date2012
PublisherInstitute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
ISBN (Print)9781904574910
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Are accounting and finance academics a dying breed? Or will today’s PhD students secure the next generation? This study attempts to answer these important questions by investigating: the current state of the market for PhD studies in the UK; the level of satisfaction with current supervisory processes; and the implications for accounting education and training in the UK, for the academic profession and for the public accounting profession.

A sustainable related academic discipline is surely vital to any profession. In accounting, the discipline educates those entrants who do choose to undertake a relevant (‘accounting’) degree and also advances accounting thought and knowledge through research. However, this report highlights a real concern amongst accounting and finance academics that the future is uncertain.

Based on over 500 questionnaire responses and over 100 interviews, the study finds that, whilst the number of PhD students is high, there are concerns that the numbers and quality of PhD students will not be sufficient to renew and sustain the future academic community. In terms of numbers, students of British domicile appear to be discouraged from undertaking a PhD by the relatively lower levels of financial reward compared to professional careers in business and a large proportion of PhD students from overseas return home. Quality concerns relate to: the adverse consequences of institutional pressures to focus on increasing the numbers of PhD students; whether the current PhD programmes are producing accounting academics who are fit for purpose; and the barriers to recruiting professionally qualified accountants to academia.

The report concludes with recommendations for academia, higher education institutions and the profession to consider.