Jones School audit research makes an impression

A paper by Karen Nelson, Harmon Whittington Professor of Accounting, was recently recognized as one of the most influential on contemporary accounting research, according to a study forthcoming in Issues in Accounting Education. The authors of the study analyzed over 3,500 papers published in nine top accounting journals from 1996 through 2011 to determine the most heavily cited works in each of five topical areas of accounting research. The study notes that their results will be useful to “Ph.D. students and those who train them in identifying important prior work that continues to motivate and provide a foundation for contemporary accounting research.”

Professor Nelson and her two co-authors were recognized for their paper “The relation between auditors' fees for nonaudit services and earnings management,” published in 2002 in The Accounting Review, the leading journal of the American Accounting Association. The paper was ranked No. 5 on the most cited list in the auditing literature. The paper was also highly ranked when considering the citation rate — the number of times cited per year since its publication. Citation counts capture the level of influence over the sample period as a whole but are biased against more recent works that did not exist and thus were not available to be cited in the earlier years. Citation rates, by contrast, put newer papers on more equal footing. On that basis, Professor Nelson’s paper ranked No. 1.

Motivated by several high profile audit failures leading up to Enron, her study examines important auditor independence issues of ongoing interest to academics, regulators, and practitioners. “Professor Nelson’s influential research represents the kind of thought leadership that helps to define us as a premier business school,” said Bill Glick, dean and the H. Joe Nelson III Professor of Management at the Jones School. “This recognition validates the transformational impact that big ideas have on business practice as well as the influence they have on academic peers.”

For more on the study and to view the rankings, see