Although Doctorate accounting courses and degrees aren’t as common as Master’s degree programs, they have excellent personal and career benefits. Graduates generally go on to either teach at a higher education organization or perform advanced financial research, analysis and reporting.
Doctoral Accountancy Programs
Doctorate accounting courses involve a full-time integrated program of both research and coursework. During the first year, the program will help build the student’s research skills and knowledge of practical tools. First-year classes will cover general topics, such as statistics, economics and advanced accountancy. There will also be seminars in analytical and behavioral research through controlled experimentation. As a result, the end of the first year will culminate in a comprehensive research paper that summarizes and synthesizes the prior year’s research. This will help the student gain hands-on experience through performing and communicating academic research. Subsequently, the second year will provide the student with ample opportunities to perform advanced research, publish papers and prepare their dissertation. Ph.D. students will also work teach one to two semesters during their final year. However, students must choose between an archival specialization, which will focus on finance and economics, and a behavioral specialization, which will focus on the psychology of financial decisions.
Students must take highly advanced math classes, such as integral, differential, sequential and multivariate calculus. Other required math classes will concern linear algebra, matrix theory and regression and correlation. This will touch on matrix algebra and multiple regression and correlation. Econometrics, probability, math statistics and advanced microeconomics are other core accountancy classes. For example, econometrics will investigate autocorrelation, variable errors, linear regression and distributed lag models. On the other hand, there will non-financial classes, such as cognitive and experimental psychology, for accountants who wish to research the empirical foundations of mental processes and decision making regarding finances.
Accountants pursing a Ph.D. must also take advanced research classes. For example, accountancy research methods will teach students how to identify and test research questions. This class will instruct students about research design, validity, ethics and evaluation. Conversely, accountancy empirical research classes will focus on empirical-archival methodologies related to capital market accountancy. There are also accountancy analytical research classes that train students how to create theoretical models and apply them to strategic financial planning. For students who focus on the psychological aspect of accountancy, there are behavioral research classes that introduce experimentation tools, methods and processes that are used to investigate how people make financial decisions. Related to this, there are market-based research classes that explore the motivation and cognitive processes behind standard empirical hypotheses. Students will learn how to evaluate and innovate new hypotheses for empirical examination.
Doctoral accountancy students may choose to study the relationship between finances and capital market behavior through examining accountancy characteristics, collective managerial behaviors and the impact of disclosures on capital markets. Students will also perform analytical and empirical research on earnings management, internal market structures and the impact of financial controls and changes. On the other hand, students may wish to examine the investment world, behaviors and motivations. This will involve a thorough review of ethical predicaments, risk assessments, incentive systems and information asymmetry. Other topics include tax incentives, quality controls, productivity measurements and financial operations and management.
To review, accounts who wish to pursue a lifelong career in financial research should consider taking Doctorate accounting courses that will prepare them to become teachers, researchers or consultants.