Booth Accounting Conference Attracts Pre-Eminent Academics

Fifty years ago, papers by Booth professors put the school on the map as a center for serious academic research in accounting. In May, more than 100 accounting experts from across the globe spent three days in Chicago discussing financial reporting requirements, the stability of the financial system, and other accounting concerns at the 50th annual conference of the Journal of Accounting Research (JAR). Not surprisingly, this year’s proceedings were infused by a sense of history.

In 1963, JAR published its first issue, becoming the first private journal focused on accounting research. The impact was great. Before JAR, there was little rigorous research in accounting, and best practices in research were often a matter of opinion. The genesis of the annual conference, held for the first time in 1966, was similar. In the early 1960s, most accounting research was prescriptive, with little use of data. The goal of the annual conference was to foster empirical research in accounting, and for the first ten years that was its focus.

“Other journals were sponsored by membership organizations and were limited to those concerns,” Regina Wittenberg Moerman, all associate professors of accounting, which examines how accounting can help facilitate transactions between lenders and borrowers, particularly the way lending agreements are structured and how accounting numbers are used in those agreements.

JAR, which publishes five times a year, remains a forum for innovative research that uses a variety of empirical and qualitative methods, Ball said. “At the time it was conceived, JAR was considered to be a huge gamble, because no one was sure that there would be sufficient good research papers by people who would prefer it,” he said. “But JAR continues to be an important outlet for accounting research.”—Marty Daks