The LI PhD Program
The LI PhD program aims at offering a broad scope research training in areas that are relevant for researchers in accounting and auditing. The aim of the LI PhD program is:
- to provide students with an understanding of current research issues in accounting and auditing,
- to introduce students to methodological and statistical methods used in accounting and auditing research,
- to improve students’ ability to critically evaluate the quality of Accounting and Auditing research,
- to enable students to develop a research proposal and select the method appropriate to study the research question of interest,
- to help students in the publication process.
Students graduating from the LI PhD program should haved gained basic knowledge of research in all Accounting and Auditing areas, and being able to create, analyze, and critique such research.
We expect students to have already followed sufficient courses in statistics, mathematics and research methodology, since we do not offer courses in these areas. Our program is designed to follow up on these courses and to give PhD students both sufficient breadth and depth in research in Accounting and Auditing. The LI PhD program consists of six courses:
- Financial Accounting 1: Capital Markets
- Financial Accounting 2
- Auditing Research
- Management Accounting Research
- Accounting Information Systems
- Design and Analysis of Experiments (this course is taught once in two years)
We will briefly describe each course’s main focus and content.
Financial Accounting 1: Capital Markets
This course is intended to prepare students for the Financial Accounting 2 course and it mainly discusses two closely related areas: (1) studies of the usefulness of accounting information to security market participants, and (2) use of the security returns as a tool for validating accounting procedures. Studies that relate accounting information and stock market metrics (e.g., volume of shares traded, return-based measures of risk (e.g., beta), share prices, abnormal returns at the time of the announcement of information, returns over very long intervals (such as a year) etc.,) are discussed in this course. This research literature is the core of at least half of the research effort in accounting over the past three decades. Although the reading list is considerable, it represents the set of papers that must be well known by all PhD graduates in accounting.
Financial Accounting 2
In this course, several main topics in financial reporting research are addressed:
- The influence of accounting systems on cost of capital
- Scale and scale effects in studies of the relation between returns and earnings
- The quality of financial statements
- Conservative accounting (in 2008 replaced by the topic International Accounting)
This course is mainly concerned with empirical research in auditing. The contents of this course was structured along the following main themes:
- Overview of Empirical Audit Research
- Earnings Management and Audit Quality
- Audit Report Research
- International and Cross-country research
- Research in Audit production
- Auditing standards and standard setting
Management Accounting Research
The subject draws primarily on theoretical frameworks developed in the economics and behavioural research literature. This literature provides the foundation for analyzing the factors that influence the effectiveness of management accounting systems. Management accounting systems are conceptualized as systems that are designed to serve two roles – the decision facilitating role and the decision control role. For this reason, this courses also covers topics that are generally considered to be in the management control area. The main subjects in this course are the following:
- Determinants of Control System choices: a behavioral perspective
- Determinants of Control System choices: an economic perspective
- Budgets and Budgeting (only until 2005)
- Management Accounting in Health Care (only in 2005)
- Non-financial Performance Measurement (frequently renamed)
- Performance implications of Compensation Plan Design (frequently renamed)
- Cost Accounting
- Target Setting (from 2008 onwards)
- Interorganizational Research
During the years, some of these topics have been relabled, some of them have come in later in The LI PhD program (see the comments between brackets).
Accounting Information Systems
In this course, students are introduced into the main topics in AIS research, as well as into the use of the different research methods generally applied in this ares. The following main topics are addressed:
- The current state of AIS Research
- Designing and assessing the quality of Accounting Information Systems
- Information systems and incentives
- The impact of information systems on organizations and stakeholders
- Accepting and implementing information systems
- AIS decision aids and expert systems
- Knowledge-based and group support systems
- AIS and auditing
- AIS and judgment and decision making
- AIS and human performance
- AIS and continuous assurance
Design and Analysis of Experiments
This course is taught once in two years in order to attrackt sufficient student numbers. The course focuses on the theoretical, methodological and statistical issues faced by those who conduct experimental research, as well as the practical implications of the research. The following main topics are discussed in each course:
- Methodological issues in experimental research
- Analyzing experimental data
- Experimental research in Accounting
The content of each of the courses for every year that they have been taught are reproduced in appendices 3 to 8. Each of the appendices also conveys more about the background of the course, its orientation and teaching methodology used. The courses are ordered in the same way as they have been presented in this section.
The teaching methodology followed in the LI PhD program is a relatively unique feature of the program, mainly inspired by the fact that this program is a joint program, actively supported by all seven economics and business administration faculties in the Netherlands. Each course consists of two parts: the first one is a series of preparation courses in which students get acquianted with the literature. The second phase is a seminar in which an internationally well-known expert in the field works with the student group to discuss the latest developments in the area and to help them developing their own research plans.
Each course starts with between 4 and 6 work group meetings in which students discuss the literature. Each meeting takes a full day, and the students are assisted by experienced Dutch (but increasingly also Belgium) experienced senior researchers. The teaching methodology is not classroom teaching, but merely a seminar-style discussion in which students make presentations and other students comment. The teacher makes sure that the relevant issues are being discussed and sufficiently explained.
The preparation courses are held on the same day in 4 to 6 consecutive weeks at the teacher’s institution. This schedule offers students ample study time between sessions and gives them suffcient time to get fully acquainted with the literature. This puts each student in the optimal condition to participate in the seminar.
When the preparation course is finished, students are invited to attend the seminar. The seminar is a five-day intense workshop in which students participate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The seminar is taught by an international expert in the field. Also in these sessions, students are required to participate by presenting summaries of and critiques on published papers, and by presenting their own work. The expert typically offers an overview of the field, discusses the current state of research in his area and participates in group discussions.
Each seminar is held in one place, mostly Tilburg University, Maastricht University or Nyenrode Business University. Students who are not in the position to commute stay overnight in order to make this week as productive as possible.
If you wish to participate in the LI PhD program, please send an email to the program director Prof.dr. J. Bouwens. His contact information is:
Prof.dr. J.F.M.G. (Jan) Bouwens
University of Amsterdam
School of Business and Economics (SBE)
Plantage Muidergracht 12
1081 TV Amsterdam
 These are: University of Maastricht (UM), Tilburg University (UvT), Erasmus University (EUR), University of Amsterdam (UvA), Nyenrode Business University (NN), University of Groningen (RUG) and VU University (VU).