Research

General – Research 

Thought Leadership, Funding Specific Research Projects

Research Ranking 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Our global rank in AIS research productivity per the BYU rankings is #8 at the end of 2022. It is important to recognize that the BYU rankings are based on a small set of 12 accounting journals that omit the top tier MIS journals such as MIS Quarterly and ISR, and other highly rated accounting information systems journals such as IJAIS that members of the Centre have published in. 
  • BYU Main University Rankings for Accounting Information Systems 2022

Research Symposium 


Assurance - Research 

Thought Leadership, Funding Specific Research Projects 

Assurance Innovation 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Assurance Solutions and Services: Current and Future Opportunities  

  • Research team: Tim Bauer, Efrim Boritz, Krista Fiolleau, Brad Pomeroy, Adam Vitalis, Pei Wang.  

  • Objectives: The evolving expectations of stakeholders in a data- and technology-driven economy will dramatically reshape the services CPA auditors are expected to provide. In order to ensure that the CPA profession is viewed and well equipped to be a leading provider of trust in the digital world, we must consider future forms and uses of information and explore new ideas for assurance services and how those services are being delivered. 

  • The primary purpose of this project is to research the marketplace of assurance services and solutions currently being offered by CPA firms and non-CPAs.

  • In Phase 1 the research team completed an initial review of practitioner-oriented sources and academic literature to compile a database of the evolution of assurance-related services, and tools and technologies used in such services, to date. The research team also conducted 20 interviews with practitioners addressing issues related to the development of new assurance services. Two papers and one preliminary summary of findings document this phase of the project. Each separate report is discussed in the three rows below. The research team presented a summary of their findings to the AICPA's Assurance Services Executive Committee on October 18, 2022.
  • Phase 2 is underway. Data collection involved conducting 1) a survey with mainly CPA firm representatives about technologies and tools used in assurance services (emailed to CPA Canada membership; accessible January 24, 2023 until the end of February 2023 with assistance from CPA Canada), 2) roundtable discussions with assurance leadership in Canada (January 27, 2023 with assistance from CPA Canada) and the US (February 1, 2023 with assistance from the AICPA) about priorities and competition for emerging assurance service areas, and 3) eight interviews with CPA and other professionals about the development of emergent assurance services (conducted throughout December 2023). This data is being added to the various reports started in Phase 1.
  • Status: In process 

 

Emerging Assurance Service Areas 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Cataloguing the Marketplace of Assurance Services 

  • Research team: Tim Bauer, Efrim Boritz, Krista Fiolleau, Brad Pomeroy, Adam Vitalis, Pei Wang. 

  • Objectives: Identify emerging assurance service areas and report on CPA firm market presence (or not) in these areas. 

  • A full report is available at the link below. An initial version of the report was submitted to Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory (AJPT), the top audit and assurance journal in accounting, in December 2023. Results of the roundtable discussions in January 2023 have been included in a revised version of the paper in an effort to validate findings and conclusions made in the report. The revised version is now available and was conditionally accepted by AJPT in September 2023.

 

Emerging Technologies and Tools Related to Assurance 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Cataloguing Emerging Technologies and Tools for Assurance Services  

  • Research team: Tim Bauer, Efrim Boritz, Krista Fiolleau, Brad Pomeroy, Adam Vitalis. 

  • Objectives: Identify emerging technologies and tools related to assurance services. 

  • A full report is available at the link below. This paper was presented at the 2023 Joint Midyear Meeting of the AIS, SET and International Sections of the AAA  held in Las Vegas, NV in January 26-28, 2023. Results from the survey are included in the most recent version of the report in an effort to provide additional insight from practitioners and CPAs into the use of emerging technologies and tools used in assurance services. The paper is scheduled to be presented at the AAA Audit and AIS/SET Midyear Meetings in January 2024.

  • Status: In process 

 

Assurance Innovation 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Developing New Assurance Services 

  • Research team: Tim Bauer, Efrim Boritz, Krista Fiolleau, Brad Pomeroy, Adam Vitalis. 

  • Objectives: Investigate how new assurance services are developed via interviews with CPA and other professionals. 

  • A preliminary report is available at the link below. Additional interviews were conducted in December 2022 and will be combined with the initial interview data in a full report that will describe the development of new assurance services as reflected in interview participant responses. This report is being drafted in Summer/Fall 2023.

  • Status: In process 

 

Business Model Descriptions and Assurance 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Business Models and Business Model Descriptions: A Research Synthesis. 

  • Research team is Efrim Boritz and Louise Hayes, University of Guelph.  

  • Objectives: This paper addresses a series of research questions aimed at exploring the nature of business models and business model descriptions to better understand how they are and can be used in accounting and auditing.  

  • It was presented at the AAA Annual Meeting in New York, NY, August 2016; the International Symposium on Accounting Information Systems (ISAIS) in Valencia, Spain, May 2017;  the AAA SET Midyear Meeting in Orlando, FL, January 23-25, 2020. 

  • It was submitted to IJAIS but reviewers requested changes that were not acceptable to the authors. It is being revised for submission to a different journal.

  • Status: In process

Professional Skepticism – Neuro-Cognitive Measures 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Neuro-Cognitive Measures of Professional Skepticism. 

  • Research team is Efrim Boritz, Katharine Elizabeth Patterson, Kristian Rotaru, Monash University, and Carla Wilkin, Monash University. 

  • The objective is to examine the moderating role of neurocognitive measures such as risk taking propensity, cognitive (inhibitory) control and social cognition during the decision-making process to reveal the impact of these neurocognitive traits on professional skepticism during individual decision-making processes associated with audit risk judgments.  

  • This paper was presented at the Annual Congress of the EAA in Paphos, CY, May 2019.

  • Rejected by Behavioral Research in Accounting (BRIA) mainly due to use of student subjects. Revised to use MTurk subjects and rerun in Q3 of 2020. Pilot tests of 70 participants were conducted. Some issues were identified with Qualtrics that were resolved and new data was gathered. MTurk data proved unreliable and additional data was gathered in Winter 2022.

  • Status: In process 

Professional Skepticism – Neuro-Physiological Measures 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Neuro-Physiological Measures of Professional Skepticism. 

  • Research team is Efrim Boritz, Katharine Elizabeth Patterson, Kristian Rotaru, Monash University, and Carla Wilkin, Monash University.  

  • The objective is to examine the mediating role of neurophysiological measures commonly associated with the degree of cognitive and/or emotional arousal experienced during the decision-making process to reveal the mechanism through which professional skepticism affects individual decision-making processes associated with audit risk judgments.  

  • This paper was presented at the AAA Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA, 2019.

  • Data was collected from practitioners at Big 4 firms during 2019. Paper was rejected by TAR and CAR. Additional analyses will be conducted based on the review comments received.

  • Status: In process 

Professional Skepticism

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): How Does Depletion Interact with Auditors’ Skeptical Dispositions to Affect Auditors’ Challenging of Managers in Negotiations? Research team is Lori Bhaskar, Indiana University, Tracie Majors, University of Southern California, and Adam Vitalis.
  • The objective is to explore the interaction of depletion and auditor skepticism on auditors’ challenging of managers during negotiations, and to develop a new, more nuanced measure of auditors’ client service-skeptic disposition for professionals and academics to leverage.
  • This paper has been accepted for publication and will appear in print in 2024 at Contemporary Accounting Research, the premier Canadian (and internationally recognized) journal for the Canadian Academic Accounting Association.

Use of Specialists in Auditing 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Improving Specialists’ Contributions to Audits of Fair Values. 

  • Research team is Tim Bauer, Cassandra Estep, Emory University, and Emily Griffith, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

  • The objective is to examine how to motivate specialists to deliver high quality work and communication to auditors even in situations where specialists may otherwise feel coerced or compelled to contribute in a limited fashion.  

  • Invited in September 2022 to revise and resubmit manuscript for review at Contemporary Accounting, Research. As part of this revision, survey data was collected from approximately 30 valuation specialists in November & December 2022. A revised manuscript should be completed in April 2023.

  • The paper is under second round review at Contemporary Accounting Research. The revised manuscript is available at the link below.

  • Report: Improving Specialists' Contributions to Audits

  • Status: In process 

Use of Specialists in Auditing

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): How Are Goodwill Impairments Audited? A Study of Auditors and Valuation Specialists. 

  • Research team is Efrim Boritz and Lev Timoshenko, University of Calgary.  

  • The objective is to examine how auditors and valuation specialists perform the audit of goodwill/cash generating unit (CGU) impairment under IFRS, focusing on both interpretation and application of fair value (FV) accounting and auditing standards by the two groups.  

  • The paper is being revised for resubmission.

  • Status: In process


Cybersecurity - Research 

Thought Leadership, Funding Specific Research Projects 

 

Anti-Phishing Countermeasures 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Anti-Phishing Countermeasures
  • Research team is Efrim Boritz.
  • Objective: To explore countermeasures to phishing.
  • Met with MITACS and Richter to discuss funding possibilities
  • Status: Early development stage 

Cybersecurity

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Cybersecurity Fatigue. 
  • Research team is Alec Cram, Jeff Proudfoot and John D'Arcy. 
  • The objective is to understand how employees become tired and disillusioned with security-related initiatives in organizations.  
  • A paper from this project was published (Volume 31, Issue 4) in the Information Systems Journal (ISJ). 
  • A supplementary survey (research team is Alec Cram, John D’Arcy, and Alex Benlian) was conditionally accepted to MIS Quarterly.
  • Status: In process 

Cybersecurity

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Show-and-Tell or Hide-and-Seek? Examining Organizational Cybersecurity Incident Notifications. 
  • Research team is Alec Cram and Rissaile Mouajou-Kenfack.  
  • Included in the proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (January 2022). 
  • An updated manuscript was presented at the Cybersecurity Emerging Research Symposium at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in May 2022.  
  • A further updated manuscript is forthcoming in the Organizational Cybersecurity Journal.

  • Status: In process 

Cybersecurity

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Out with the Old, In with the New: Examining National Cybersecurity Strategy Changes Over Time.  
  • Research team is Alec Cram and Jonathan Yuan.  
  • Presented and included in the proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (January 2022). 
  • An updated manuscript is forthcoming in the Journal of Cyber Policy.
  • Status: In process 

Cybersecurity

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): “What a Waste of Time”: A Longitudinal Examination of Cybersecurity Illegitimacy. 
  • Research team is Alec Cram and John D'Arcy. 
  • This research introduces employee judgements of cybersecurity illegitimacy as a new angle for understanding employee compliance with cybersecurity policies over time. 
  • Manuscript is forthcoming in the Information Systems Journal.
  • Status: In process 

 

Cybersecurity

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Weathering the Storm: Charting a Course for Organizations to Navigate the Raging Tempest of Cybersecurity Regulations. 
  • Research team is Jeff Proudfoot and Alec Cram. 
  • This research aims to clarify how cybersecurity regulations are operationalized in organizations, as well as reveal the compliance and performance consequences of cybersecurity regulations. 
  • A manuscript is under second review at MIS Quarterly Executive. An earlier version of the research was presented at the MISQE Workshop on 'Boards of Directors and the Governance of Digital Technology' at ICIS 2022 in Copenhagen.

  • Status: In process 

Cybersecurity

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Conceal or Communicate? Organizational Notifications to Stakeholders Following Ransomware Attacks
  • Research team is Alec Cram, Albert Chan (UW undergrad student), Jonathan Yuan (UW Phd student), and Dennis Joo (UW undergrad student).
  • This research examines the organizational communications following 101 ransomware attacks.
  • A manuscript has been conditionally accepted to the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS).
  • Status: In process 

Cybersecurity

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Evaluating a Cybersecurity Operations Center Implementation Program in a Regional Healthcare System: Challenges and Lessons Learned
  • Research team is Alec Cram and Ian McKillop.
  • This research examines an early-stage program to establish a series of cybersecurity operations centers within a large, regional, publicly funded healthcare system.
  • A manuscript has been accepted to the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS).
  • Status: In process

Data Analytics - Research

Thought Leadership, Funding Specific Research Projects

Anomalies 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Addressing Anomalies in Audit Data Analytics 
  • Research team is Efrim Boritz, Greg Shields and Adam Vitalis.  
  • Objective: To investigate how auditors assess which anomalies to investigate in an audit data analytics context. 
  • Data was collected from MAcc students in March 2023. Analysis is in progress.
  • Status: In process 

 

Ethics of data analytics

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative):Reducing the incidence of biased decisions through data analytics transparency
  • Research team: Sepideh Ebrahimi, Esraa Abdelhalim (University of Windsor), Khaled Hassanein (McMaster University), Milena Head (McMaster University)
  • As firms move toward data-driven decision making using algorithmic systems, concerns are raised about the lack of transparency of these systems which could have ramifications related to users’ trust and the potential for provoking discriminatory decisions.
  • This study investigates the effectiveness of feature importance (FI), a common transparency-enhancing approach, which illustrates the nature and the weights of features used by an algorithm in the context of algorithmic advice that include different types of discrimination.
  • Status: In process 

 

Information Integrity 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Information Integrity Control Guidelines
  • Project team is Efrim Boritz and Malik Datardina, Auvenir. 
  • The objectives are to: 1) define information integrity and to identify information integrity risks and controls for mitigating those risks; 2) define assurance practices for information integrity services; 3) interview or survey audit team members about their views on information integrity risks, controls and assurance practices. 
  • The Framework for Information Integrity Controls was published by CPA Canada in April 2019. In addition, Efrim Boritz assisted the AICPA to develop a guideline on data integrity assurance. 
  • Links: 

 

Data Value Creation

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): JIS Workshop:Data Value Creation Research: Views from Industry Leaders and AIS Researchers
  • Research team: Efrim Boritz and Theo Stratopoulos
  • Published in Journal of Information Systems 37 (1) 2023: 1–6.
  • Status: Completed

Emerging Technologies - Research

Thought Leadership, Funding Specific Research Projects

IT Budgets 1 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Does Industry Classification Matter: Evidence from IT Budgets 
  • Research team: Duane Kennedy, Byron Song, and Theo Stratopoulos 
  • The objective is to discover if the industry classification and/or the level of aggregation within a selected classification matter. Empirical studies tend to control for industry structure using proxies from one of the common industry classifications (e.g., SIC, Fama-French, NAICS) and select a level of aggregation within this classification (e.g., SIC2 or SIC3). Given these choices are not justified, one could assume that they do not seem to matter. 
  • Prepare for submission to JIS.
  • Status: In process 

 

Algorithmic Management

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Does the effect of management style on auditors’ propensity to underreport time differ depending on the nature of the manager (human vs. algorithm)?
  • Research team is Tim Bauer, Samantha Seto, Simon Fraser University, and Jenny Ulla, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • The objective is to examine how auditors respond to varying management styles (e.g., more passive, more micromanaging) and whether this depends on whether the manager is a human or an algorithm. In particular, we investigate whether higher levels of micromanagement motivate auditors to underreport the time they spend on their audit tasks, and whether such behavior is lessened when the manager in charge of time/budget is al algorithm.
  • The research team has been conducting pilot test experiments in Winter and Spring 2023. The main experiment is being conducted with UW MAcc students in July 2023. Researcher Samantha Seto presented the research idea at the Canadian Academic Accounting Association’s annual Craft of Accounting Workshop (for junior scholars) in June 2023.
  • Status: In process 

 

Gamification - Crowdfunding

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Does Gamification of Crowdfunding Lead to Higher Success?
  • Research team of Theo Stratopoulos and Jonathan Hua Ye investigates the effect of addition of leaderboard of top donors (i.e., gamification) increases the success rate (amount raised/goal).
  • Paper was presented at the Rutgers AIS Research Seminar (May 2023) and the 17th ICESALM (June 2023). Currently under journal review.
  • Status: In process 

 

Platform Policy - Online Contest

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Designing Contests for Data Science Competitions: Number of Stages and the Prize Structures
  • Research team: Keehyung Kim, and Jialu Liu (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
  • Firms have been proactively holding data science competitions via online contest platforms to look for innovative solutions from the crowd. When firms are designing such competitions, a key question is "What should be a better contest design to motivate contestants to exert more effort?" We experimentally investigate two commonly observed contest structures (one-stage and two-stage) and two widely adopted prize structures (high-spread and low-spread). This paper was published in the Production and Operations Management, 32(11), 2023.
  • Report: Designing Contests for Data Science Competitions: Number of Stages and the Prize Structures
  • Status: Completed

 

Use of AI/ML

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Does Use of AI Tools Affect a Decision-making Behavior: An Experimental Study
  • Research team: Keehyung Kim, and Yige Chen (CUHK - Ph.D. student)
  • Over the past years, there has been a rapid increase in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to acquire information while others may still rely on getting information in a traditional way (e.g., from human experts). The objective is to experimentally investigate how the source of information may affect a decision-making behavior in various scenarios. We have completed an early pilot study and we are currently in designing further experiments.
  • Status: In process 

 

Large Language Models (LLMs)

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): From VisiCalc to ChatGPT: Unraveling the Perfect Storm of Emerging Technologies and its Implications for the Accounting Profession
  • Research Team: Theo Stratopoulos, Ivee Che and Yifei Kuang (SAF - Ph.D. students)
  • The rapid evolution of technology in the past 30 years has transformed various industries, including accounting. The aim of the paper is to explore the interconnectedness and evolution of emerging technologies and their profound implications for the accounting profession.
  • Status: In process 

 

Conversational agents

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): The impact of anthropomorphism on users’ adoption of conversational agents’ recommendations
  • Research Team: Sepideh Ebrahimi, Christian Matt (University of Bern), Izak Benbasat (University of British Columbia)
  • This research intends to investigate whether the anthropomorphism of CAs impact users' perception of the quality of their recommendation and whether participants are likely to be more forgiving of low quality recommendations when they are given by anthropomorphized agents.
  • Status: In process 

 

Conversational agents

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): A meta-analysis of the factors influencing users' acceptance of conversational agents' advice
  • Research Team: Sepideh Ebrahimi, Samira Farivar (Carleton University), Kamran Eshghi (Laurentian University)
  • Status: In process

Internal Audit - Research 

Thought Leadership, Funding Specific Research Projects

Internal Audit Competencies         

  • Objective: This survey of Canadian practitioners from CPA, IIA and ISACA
  • Research Team: Adam Vitalis,  Efrim Boritz and Laura Simeoni

Internal Audit Competencies         

  • Objective: Survey of IIA Toronto chapter members' familiarity with emerging technologies and tools
  • Research Team: Efrim Boritz

On Risk                    

  • Objective: Produce a Canadian extract from this international survey.
  • Research Team: Adam Vitalis, Laura Simeon and Efrim Boritz
  • Planning has started
 

ESG - Research

Thought Leadership, Funding Specific Research Projects 

CFO Competencies, Firm Performance and Reporting Quality 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Do Differences in CFO Background Matter to Financial Statement Quality? An Application of Machine Learning and Textual Analytics. 
  • Research team is Louise Hayes and Efrim Boritz.  
  • The objective is to explore uses of machine learning technologies with applications to accounting and auditing. This paper was presented at the CAAA Annual Conference in Montréal, QC, June 2017; the AAA Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, August 2017; and the EAA (European Accounting Association) Annual Conference in Milan, IT, May 30-June 1, 2018.  
  • Applied for CAAA research grant to extend paper. Received $8,000  towards this project.
  • Applied for UW SAF grant for database. Received $7,500  towards licensing BoardEX database for this project.
  • Received contribution from Andy Bauer of $5,500  towards licensing BoardEX database for this project.
  • Received a grant from ICPAO of $17,500 towards this project.
  • Data is being gathered but progress has been delayed due to lack of human resources.

Extended External Reporting 1 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Communicating Value Creation in Integrated Reporting. 
  • Research team is Efrim Boritz. 
  • The objective is to review and evaluate the presentation of value creation information in integrated reports. This project is in pilot testing but has been stalled due to lack of human resources.

 

COVID-19 1 

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): “Corporate Disclosures under Extreme Uncertainty: Evidence from COVID-19 Pandemic” 
  • Research Team: Changling Chen and T. Stratopoulos 
  • Grant Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC); $97,544. 2020-2024.

ESG

  • Activities during current fiscal period (cumulative): Greenhouse Gas Disclosure Research: A Look Back and Look Forward
  • Research team: Johnson, J., Theis, J., Vitalis, A., Young, D.
  • Project builds on our current research and our combined experiences as a multi-country research team (Europe, U.S., and Canada) to provide a summary of research questions.
  • Currently scheduled for inclusion of the 4th issue of the Journal of Accountability in a Sustainable World Quarterly.