Date of Award

12-17-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)

Department

Business

First Advisor

Danny Bellenger

Second Advisor

Wesley Johnston

Third Advisor

Siva Nathan

Abstract

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and its state accounting boards across the United States of America are aware of practitioners’ difficulty in recruiting and retaining young and qualified certified public accountants (CPAs), but researchers have not examined the reasons why or the effects or recruitment issues on the peer review program (PRP; aicpa.org, (2019)). Some literature has addressed reasons why college students choose accounting as their major discipline, but no research has ventured to examine the choices community CPAs make on joining the Peer Review Program (PRP).

In this study, I argue that younger CPAs choose whether to join the PRP differently from their older counterparts. This addresses the dwindling enrollment in the AICPA’s PRP by looking at the rewards that motivate CPAs, especially CPAs born after 1964, to join the PRP. Primary data used for analysis were collected using surveys completed by CPAs from the Georgia Society of Public Accountants (GSCPA; N = 185). The survey results were quantitatively analyzed. SEM and SPSS (ver. 26) were used for the analysis and to test the hypothesis. To determine whether increased engagement fees, prestige, recognition, retention of clients, peer review process, growth from professional feedback, sense of accomplishment, increased client base, and enhanced knowledge and competency significantly affected CPAs’ decisions to join the PRP, using SPSS ver. 26.

My findings show that age has no significant effect on the decision to join the PRP, contrary to my hypothesis. However, I found that CPAs perceived a low level of involvement: PRP activities negatively affect their perceived worth of the program, as shown by the negative words and rankings of attributes they returned.

The academic contribution of this study is the pioneering empirical application of expectancy theory on CPAs’ perception of the PRP. The practical contribution of this study is that the PRP’s worth to CPAs is better understood through the eyes of CPAs, and this information can be used to modify the program to better serve CPAs.

This increase in the body of knowledge and understanding on the rewards CPAs value most will help to incentivize their participation, involvement in the design and valuation of the outcomes, and the worth of those outcomes and their effects in joining the PRP. Future research is needed to explain how best to meet the needs and implications of the findings.

Age may not be an effective variable to determine why a particular CPA chooses to join the PRP; however, race is a significant predictor of the choices CPAs make in joining the PRP. It is my recommendation that efforts be intensified as early as high school to improve diversity in membership and to show CPAs the clear benefits of the PRP—that is, to effectively address the dwindling enrollment numbers currently witnessed in many areas of the accounting profession. Accountants must be encouraged to speak for themselves, to fully participate in the profession, and must be driven to create and see value in membership. The PRP should be effectively re-marketed to large employers of accounting professionals, demonstrating the real value of the PRP to them and to CPAs.

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