Management And Accounting Web

The Accounting Doctoral Shortage and Opportunities to Teach Accounting

Summary by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida

Advice for Ph.D. Students and New Faculty | Educations Issues Main Page

Citation: Martin, J. R. Not dated. The accounting doctoral shortage and opportunities to teach accounting. Management And Accounting Web. https://maaw.info/ArticleSummaries/ArtSumAccountingDoctoralShortage.htm

The accounting doctoral shortage has been discussed in the accounting literature for many years. The purpose this summary is to sketch the various dimensions or parts of the faculty shortage issue, and to provide links to summaries and notes on several related articles. The various dimensions of the issue include the following:

1. The shortage of all types of accounting faculty.

2. The shortage of academically qualified accounting faculty, i.e., those with a doctorate.

3. The effect the shortage has had on faculty salaries.

4. The effect the shortage has had on full-time vs. part-time faculty.

5. Opportunities for accounting practitioners to teach accounting.

6. New types of doctoral programs and various recommendations for solutions.

7. Advice to practicing accountants who might want to teach.

8. Progress including AACSB and AICPA Programs.

Parts 1 and 2: The shortage of all types of accounting faculty, and the shortage of academically qualified accounting faculty

Two articles provide some data on the shortage of accounting faculty. Based on a survey of accounting programs, Kachelmeier, Madeo, Plumlee, Pratt, Krull, and Thornton estimated that approximately 50 percent of the demand for new Ph.D.s in accounting would be met during the 2005-2008 period. The most critical shortages are in the auditing and tax specialties.

Kachelmeier, S. J., S. Madeo, D. Plumlee, J. H. Pratt, G. Krull and G. Thornton. 2005. Report of the AAA/AAPLG Ad Hoc Committee to assess the Supply and Demand for Accounting Ph.D.s. A joint project of the American Accounting Association and the Accounting Programs Leadership Group. (Note).

Leslie indicates that accounting faculty of all types (tenured, on-track to tenure, not eligible for tenure), at all types of institutions (research/doctoral, 4-year non-doctoral, and 2 year) decreased by 13.3 percent during the period from 1993 and 2004, while undergraduate accounting student enrollment increased by 12.33 percent. Accounting programs are producing about 140 accounting Ph.D.s per year while accounting faculty retirements are estimated to be about 500 per year. And that's not all. Approximately one-half of the accounting Ph.D.s are going to non-U.S. citizens who might not stay to teach in the U.S.

Leslie, D. W. 2008. Accounting Faculty in U.S. Colleges and Universities: Status and Trends, 1993-2004. A Report of the American Accounting Association. American Accounting Association. (Note).

3. The effect of the shortage on faculty salaries

The mean 2012 salary for those with a new accounting doctorate was $142,500. For 2015 the mean salary for a new accounting doctorate was $156,900.

AACSB International. 2013 and 2016. 2012-2013 and 2015-2016 Salary Survey Reports: Executive Summary. AACSB. (Note).

The mean salary is somewhat misleading. There are many different types of institutions and the range of salaries is fairly wide. The AACSB report separates academic institutions into various categories including: Public accredited, public non-accredited, private accredited, and private non-accredited. I assume that the full report shows salaries for each of those categories, but I do not have access to the $300 report.

The authors of the following article separate universities into five tiers. Tier 1 top research schools such as Chicago, Stanford, and Rochester pay new Ph.D.s over $200,000 to teach 2 classes per year and do research in top journals such as the Journal of Accounting Research and The Accounting Review. Schools in Tier 2 and 3 categories probably have to pay $200,000 or more to compete for the best new Ph.D. graduates from the Tier 2 and 3 Ph.D. granting universities. Universities that do not have Ph.D. programs pay less but still have to pay good salaries to compete with each other. Colleges that have 2-year programs pay considerably less, but the upward pressure caused by the shortage affects all schools.

Beyer, B., D. Herrmann, G. K. Meek and E. T. Rapley. 2010. What it means to be an accounting professor: A concise career guide for doctoral students in accounting. Issues in Accounting Education (May): 227-244. (Summary).

Gary, Denison and Bouillon address the issue of opportunity cost. One of the main reasons given for the accounting Ph.D. shortage is that the opportunity cost of pursuing a Ph.D. is too high for individuals who are already working in public accounting. The purpose of this paper is to show that obtaining a Ph.D. in accounting can provide a financial return for the recipient over his or her lifetime adequate enough to justify giving up a career in public accounting. This study addresses the issue from a monetary perspective ignoring other reasons to pursue or not pursue a Ph.D. in accounting (e.g., flexible schedule, high level of autonomy, higher quality lifestyle, or lack of Ph.D. student support, or lack of interest in doing basic research, etc.). The authors conduct simulations to calculate the return on investment for a Ph.D. degree in accounting for hypothetical individuals who switch from public accounting careers after 3, 5, and 7 years. The simulations show a positive return on investment ranging from 5 percent to over 22 percent depending on the number of years in public accounting, number of years in a Ph.D. program, and specific career path.

Gary, R. F., C. A. Denison and M. L. Bouillon. 2011. Can obtaining an accounting Ph.D. provide a positive financial return? Issues in Accounting Education (February): 23-38. (Summary).

4. The effect of the shortage on full-time vs. part-time faculty at different types of institutions

The report by Leslie (see above) shows that between 1993 and 2004 the universities referred to as research/doctoral institutions increased full-time faculty by 7.68 percent and decreased part-time faculty by over 60 percent. These are the schools that pay the highest salaries to new doctorates as indicated above. The report also shows that the 4-year non-doctoral institutions lost 30.69 percent of their full-time faculty while increasing their part-time faculty by 30.99 percent. It seems clear how the 4-year non-doctoral schools are dealing with the accounting faculty shortage.

5. Opportunities for accounting practitioners to teach accounting

A number of articles have promoted the idea of experienced accounting practitioners moving into the academic world. A recent paper by Boyle, Carpenter, Hermanson and Mensah discussed the implications and suggestions related to a survey of practicing members of the IMA. There is some good news for experienced accounting practitioners and some not as good news. The good news is that there is a shortage of academically qualified accounting faculty and a renewed interest in those with 10-20 years of accounting experience. The not as good news is that "academically qualified" means doctorate and obtaining most accounting doctorates requires a lot of time and work. There is a rather considerable opportunity cost involved for those who pursue a doctorate. Other not as good news is that although there are lots of opportunities to teach accounting as a faculty adjunct at the 4-year non-doctoral institutions and 2-year institutions, they don't pay adjuncts very well and most of those programs require a master's degree to teach.

Boyle, D. M., B. W. Carpenter, D. R. Hermanson and M. O. Mensah. 2013. The accounting doctorate shortage: Opportunities for practitioners. Strategic Finance (May): 30-36. (Note).

6. New types of doctoral programs and various recommendations for solutions

Trapnell, Mero, Williams and Krull make six recommendations to alleviate the accounting doctoral shortage. Four of their proposals are related to obtaining the money needed for research programs, buy-outs of faculty time to work with doctoral students, research grants, and competitive stipends for doctoral students. The other two proposals are related to confidentiality protocols connected with research data, and the development of executive-type doctoral programs.

Trapnell, J. E., N. Mero, J. R. Williams and G. W. Krull, Jr. 2009. The accounting doctoral shortage: Time for a new model. Issues in Accounting Education (November): 427-432. (Note).

The Pathways Commission joint report by the AAA and AICPA provides several detailed recommendations related to the faculty shortage and the future of accounting education.

1. Build a learned profession for the future by purposeful integration of accounting research, education, and practice for students, accounting practitioners, and educators. Each recommendation has several objectives. For example: Objective 1.1: Integrate professionally oriented faculty more fully into significant aspects of accounting education, programs, and research.

2. Develop mechanisms to meet future demand for faculty by unlocking doctoral education via flexible pedagogies in existing programs and by exploring alternative pathways to terminal degrees that align with institutional missions and accounting education and research goals.

3. Reform accounting education so that teaching is respected and rewarded as a critical component in achieving each institution’s mission.

The Pathways Commission. 2012. The Pathways Commission on Higher Education: Charting a National Strategy for the Next Generation of Accountants. American Accounting Association and American Institute of CPAs. (Note).

Bishop, Boyle, Clune, and Hermanson discuss four AACSB-accredited non-traditional doctoral programs in accounting and their experiences with these programs. The programs are at Case Western, Georgia State, Kennesaw State, and Pace. These programs are expensive with tuition ranging from $60,000 to $150,000, but they do show that there is some movement towards the recommendations made by Trapnell, Mero, Williams and Krull, and the Pathways Commission.

Bishop, C. C., D. M. Boyle, R. R. Clune and D. R. Hermanson. 2012. A different model for doctoral education in accounting and auditing: Student and faculty reflections. Current Issues in Auditing 6(1): A1-A16. (Note).

Noland and Prescott also discuss the programs at Case Western, Georgia State, and Kennesaw State. In addition they include the programs at Oklahoma State University, the University of South Alabama and Jacksonville University. Oklahoma State offers an Executive Ph.D. The programs at South Alabama and Jacksonville are both DBA programs.

Noland, T. G. and G. L. Prescott. 2013. Blazing a different path - A career in academia. Strategic Finance (October): 35-41.

Grasso addresses several questions and makes some recommendations for solving the accounting Doctoral shortage.

1. Why does the surge in the demand for accounting education have to be filled with academically qualified (AQ = Doctorate) faculty, rather than professionally qualified (PQ = typically Master's + CPA) faculty? Although more schools are seeking AACSB accreditation, the AACSB minimum for AQ faculty is only 50 percent. However, most schools have a policy of replacing older PQ faculty with AQ faculty.

2. Is the policy of hiring as many AQ faculty as possible motivated by a desire to enhance accounting education, or mainly to increase the reputation of the schools? Is it motivated by a necessary requirement to further accounting education and research, or an arbitrary escalation in required academic qualifications.

3. Is accounting an academic discipline, i.e., a science, or a practice? Demski, Fellingham, and Hopwood commented on that issue at the 2006 AAA annual meeting. (Also see the Bennis and O'Toole, and Hopwood articles in the references below). If accounting is considered a practice or profession rather than a science, then producing more Ph.D.s might not be the answer. Efforts to produce more AQ faculty might only produce more insular research, and faculty members who see teaching as an obstacle to research. If accounting is a practice, as opposed to a science, as Hopwood and others contend, then we might learn from the law school model or other professional models such as engineering.
Grasso's Recommendations:
1. Reframe the problem as how to provide the best possible education for future accounting professionals and managers and advance research in accounting.

2. Train Ph.D.s from other disciplines to teach accounting.

3. Remove arbitrary AQ-PQ standards.

4. Treat PQ faculty as collaborators in both research and teaching rather than as second-class citizens.

Grasso, L. 2008. The accounting Ph.D. shortage: Crisis or opportunity? Cost Management (March/April): 15-25. (Note).

The Death of the Teacher Scholar: Another view of the accounting Ph.D. shortage is provided by McNair and Richards. Although there are many reasons given for the shortage of Ph.D.s in accounting education (e.g., baby boomers are retiring, many under-funded Ph.D. programs are closing, there is more money to be made in private industry, etc.), the purpose of this article is to argue that the root cause of the shortage of "qualified" accounting educators (Ph.D.s) is the death of the teacher-scholar. I highly recommend this article.

See McNair, C. J. and B. Richards. 2008. Unintended consequences: Death of the teacher-scholar. Cost Management (January/February): 21-28. (Summary).

7. Advice to practicing accountants who might want to teach

First, if you think you want to teach, you will probably need a Master's degree. If you have a Master's Degree in Accounting, then you should get a job as an adjunct professor and teach a couple of classes to see if you like it. Check out the 2-year and community colleges in your area.

Next, you need to realize that Ph.D. seminars are typically very different from your previous accounting classes. The material you study is not accounting piled higher and deeper. You will take courses to learn how to do research and you will read and attempt to critique academic research papers in journals like the following.

The Journal of Accounting Research

The Accounting Review

These research papers are long, full of statistics, and very time-consuming to read and critique. In a doctoral seminar you are expected to contribute during every class and there are very few, if any lectures. If that sort of study program is acceptable to you, then your next step is to look for a Doctoral program.

Meyer and Titard provide lots of advice to those who are interested in an academic career in accounting. For example, questions you need answered before you enter a Doctoral program. Here are a few:

1. What's offered in the area of financial aid, i.e., assistantships, tuition waivers, loans and grants?

2. What is the length of time the program is expected to take?

3. What are the entrance requirements, i.e., prior courses, degrees (some require a Master's degree and some don't), practical experience, GPA, and admission exam scores (GMAT, TOEFL), and letters of recommendation?

4. What are the residency requirements (most programs have a residency requirement), requirements for minors, and how much time is expected to be spent on the dissertation?

Meyer, M. J. and P. L. Titard. 2000. Those who can ... teach. Want to exchange your Palm Pilot for a blackboard, get a PhD and go back to college as a teacher? The time to do it is now. Journal of Accountancy. (July): 49-58. (Note).

The following article by a doctoral student is full of advice. It's on the JOA site.

Bergner, J. 2009. Pursuing a Ph.D. in accounting: Walking in with your eyes open: Here's how the doctoral track looks through the eyes of one student. Journal of Accountancy web-exclusive article. (Mentioned in the March issue as an AICPA resource on page 40). (JOA Link).

I have mentioned the Beyer, Herrmann, Meek and Rapley paper before, but it's a good one.

Beyer, B., D. Herrmann, G. K. Meek and E. T. Rapley. 2010. What it means to be an accounting professor: A concise career guide for doctoral students in accounting. Issues in Accounting Education (May): 227-244. (Summary).

The paper below is also on the JOA site and provides more advice to those interested in an academic career in accounting.

Ruff, M., J. C. Thibodeau and J. C. Bedard. 2009. A profession's response to a looming shortage: Closing the gap in the supply of accounting faculty. Journal of Accountancy (March): 36-41. (JOA Link).

8. Progress including AACSB and AICPA Programs

The AACSB Bridge Program helps practicing accountants make the transition to become professionally qualified faculty. To date, 304 PQ faculty have been added. Their Post-Doctoral Bridge Program certifies Ph.D.s from non-business related disciplines to teach as academically qualified business school faculty. So far, 181 faculty have been certified as AQ.

http://www.aacsb.edu/bridgeprograms/

http://www.aacsb.edu/bridge/

http://www.aacsb.edu/BridgetoBusiness/graduates.asp

AICPA Accounting Education and Outreach - http://www.aicpa.org/about/affiliates/aicpafoundation/pages/accountingeducationoutreach.aspx

AICPA Scholarships and Fellowships - http://www.aicpa.org/about/affiliates/aicpafoundation/pages/scholarshipsfellowships.aspx

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References Including Additional Articles related to the Accounting Doctoral Shortage and Opportunities to Teach Accounting

AACSB International. 2003. Sustaining Scholarship in Business Schools. AACSB.

Albrecht, W. S. and R. J. Sack. 2000. Accounting Education: Charting the Course through a Perilous Future. Accounting education Series (16): American Accounting Association.

Baldwin, A. A., C. E. Brown and B. S. Trinkle. 2010. Accounting doctoral programs: A multidimensional description. Advances in Accounting Education: Teaching and Curriculum Innovations. (11): 101-128. (Link).

Behn, B. K., G. A. Carnes, G. W. Krull Jr., K. D. Stocks and P. M. J. Reckers. 2008. Accounting Doctoral Education - 2007 A Report of the Joint AAA/APLG/FSA Doctoral Education Committee. Issues in Accounting Education (August): 357-367.

Behn, B. K., W. F. Ezzell, L. A. Murphy, J. D. Rayburn, M. T. Stith and J. R. Strawser. 2012. The Pathways Commission on Accounting Education: Charting a national strategy for the next generation of accountants. Issues in Accounting Education (August): 595-600.

Bennis, W. G. and J. O'Toole. 2005. How business schools lost their way: Too focused on "scientific" research, business schools are hiring professors with limited real-world experience and graduating students who are ill equipped to wrangle with complex, unquantifiable issues - in other words, the stuff of management. Harvard Business Review (May): 96-104. (Summary).

Bergner, J. 2009. Pursuing a Ph.D. in accounting: Walking in with your eyes open: Here's how the doctoral track looks through the eyes of one student. Journal of Accountancy web-exclusive article. (Mentioned in the March issue as an AICPA resource on page 40). (JOA Link).

Beyer, B., D. Herrmann, G. K. Meek and E. T. Rapley. 2010. What it means to be an accounting professor: A concise career guide for doctoral students in accounting. Issues in Accounting Education (May): 227-244. (Summary).

Bishop, C. C., D. M. Boyle, B. W. Carpenter and D. R. Hermanson. 2016. Transitioning into academia: A new pathway for practitioners. Journal of Accountancy (March): 48-53.

Bishop, C. C., D. M. Boyle, R. R. Clune and D. R. Hermanson. 2012. A different model for doctoral education in accounting and auditing: Student and faculty reflections. Current Issues in Auditing 6(1): A1-A16. (Note).

Black, W. H. 2012. The activities of the Pathways Commission and the historical context for changes in accounting education. Issues in Accounting Education (August): 601-625.

Bonner, P. 2010. New pathways to accounting excellence. Journal of Accountancy (October): 56-60. (Interview with Pathways Commission Chair Bruce Behn related to charting a national higher education strategy for the next generation of accountants).

Bonner, P. 2012. Bolstering the future of accounting education. Journal of Accountancy (October): 38-39.

Boyle, D., D. Hermanson and M. Mensah. 2011. Addressing the accounting and auditing faculty shortage: Practitioners' perceptions of academia. Current Issues in Auditing 5(1): A70-A85.

Boyle, D. M., B. W. Carpenter, D. R. Hermanson and M. O. Mensah. 2013. The accounting doctorate shortage: Opportunities for practitioners. Strategic Finance (May): 30-36. (Note).

Boyle, D. M., B. W. Carpenter, D. R. Hermanson and M. O. Mensah. 2013. Transitioning from practice to academia: Examining the interest of accountants. Management Accounting Quarterly (Fall): 1-10.

Campbell, T. L., J. R. Hasselback, R. H. Hermanson and D. H. Turner. 1990. Retirement demand and the market for accounting doctorates. Issues in Accounting Education (Fall): 209-221.

Fogarty, T. J. and G. Markarian. 2007. An empirical assessment of the rise and fall of accounting as an academic discipline. Issues in Accounting Education (May): 137-161.

Fogarty, T. J., D. V. Saftner and J. R. Hasselback. 2011. Knowing one’s place: The distribution of new accounting academics into a segmented labor market. Journal of Accounting Education 29(2-3): 89-99.

Gary, R. F., C. A. Denison and M. L. Bouillon. 2011. Can obtaining an accounting Ph.D. provide a positive financial return? Issues in Accounting Education (February): 23-38. (Summary).

Grasso, L. 2008. The accounting Ph.D. shortage: Crisis or opportunity? Cost Management (March/April): 15-25. (Note).

Hopwood, A. G. 2008. Management accounting research in a changing world. Journal of Management Accounting Research (20): 3-13. (Summary).

Hunt, S. C., T. V. Eaton and A. Reinstein. 2009. Accounting faculty job search in a seller's market. Issues in Accounting Education (May): 157-185.

Kachelmeier, S. J., S. Madeo, D. Plumlee, J. H. Pratt, G. Krull and G. Thornton. 2005. Report of the AAA/AAPLG Ad Hoc Committee to assess the Supply and Demand for Accounting Ph.D.s. A joint project of the American Accounting Association and the Accounting Programs Leadership Group. (Note).

Leslie, D. W. 2008. Accounting Faculty in U.S. Colleges and Universities: Status and Trends, 1993-2004. A Report of the American Accounting Association. American Accounting Association. (Note).

Martin, J. R. Not dated. Notes to those considering an Accounting Ph.D. Management And Accounting Web.  https://maaw.info/ArticleSummaries/NotesforAccountingPhDStudents.htm

Martin, J. R. 2016. AACSB International 2013 and 2016. 2012-2013 and 2015-2016 Salary Survey Reports: Executive Summary. AACSB. Management And Accounting Web. https://maaw.info/ArticleSummaries/ArtSumAACSB2013SalaryReports.htm

McNair, C. J. and B. Richards. 2008. Unintended consequences: Death of the teacher-scholar. Cost Management (January/February): 21-28. (Summary).

Meyer, M. J. and P. L. Titard. 2000. Those who can ... teach. Want to exchange your Palm Pilot for a blackboard, get a PhD and go back to college as a teacher? The time to do it is now. Journal of Accountancy. (July): 49-58. (Note).

Meyers, R. 2006. Teaching for the love of it. Journal of Accountancy (June): 30-38.

Miller, P. B. W. 2003. The five-year program debate continues: An updated analysis of the supply of and demand for master's degrees in accounting. Issues in Accounting Education (May): 211-220.

Noland, T. G. and G. L. Prescott. 2013. Blazing a different path - A career in academia. Strategic Finance (October): 35-41.

Plumlee, R. D. and P. M. J. Reckers. 2014. Lessons not learned: Why is there still a crisis-level shortage of accounting Ph.D.s? Accounting Horizons (June): 313-330.

Plumlee, R. D., S. J. Kachelmeier, S. A. Madeo, J. H. Pratt and G. Krull. 2006. Assessing the shortage of accounting faculty. Issues in Accounting Education (May): 113-125.

Prescott, G. L., T. G. Noland and C. E. Vann. 2017. Universities need you! Strategic Finance (April): 46-53.

Reigle, D. 2008. Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits. AICPA.

Ruff, M., J. C. Thibodeau and J. C. Bedard. 2009. A profession's response to a looming shortage: Closing the gap in the supply of accounting faculty. Journal of Accountancy (March): 36-41. (JOA Link).

The Pathways Commission. 2012. The Pathways Commission on Higher Education: Charting a National Strategy for the Next Generation of Accountants. American Accounting Association and American Institute of CPAs. (Note).

Trapnell, J. E., N. Mero, J. R. Williams and G. W. Krull, Jr. 2009. The accounting doctoral shortage: Time for a new model. Issues in Accounting Education (November): 427-432. (Note).