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Thursday, July 26, 2012

WHU conducts another “relevant” doctoral workshop

3rd WHU doctoral Summer Program in Accounting Research (SPAR)

During the week of 9 July 2012, 35 European doctoral students from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland attended the 3rd WHU Doctoral Summer Program in Accounting Research (SPAR) at WHU.

The SPAR was hosted by the Chairs of Accounting (Professor Thorsten Sellhorn) and Financial Accounting (Professor Igor Goncharov). The program, which is held once a year, introduces European PhD students in accounting to some central theoretical, methodological and practical issues involved in conducting high-quality research.

The 3rd SPAR, entitled “Current Issues in Empirical Financial Reporting Research”, was taught by

•    Prof. Laurence van Lent, Department of Accountancy and CentER, Tilburg University, Tilburg, Editor, The European Accounting Review
•    Prof. Dr. Daniel W. Collins, Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa, Iowa City, U.S.A.
•    Prof. Igor Goncharov, Professor of Financial Accounting, and Prof. Thorsten Sellhorn, Professor of Accounting, both at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Vallendar.

The focus of the first two days was on reading, critiquing and discussing research papers, some of which were co-authored by SPAR faculty, in the following topical areas:
•    IFRS adoption and earnings management (Prof. Collins);
•    Side effects of IFRS adoption (Prof. Sellhorn);
•    Measuring conditional conservatism (Prof. Collins); and
•    Capital market effects of accounting choice (Prof. Goncharov).

On the third day, Prof. Collins discussed and demonstrated presenting research in a workshop setting; he and Prof. van Lent (editor at Europe’s leading academic accounting journal, the European Accounting Review) then led the students through key aspects of the publication and review process. As a part of this format, Prof. Collins gave an actual research workshop presentation of his paper “The Effects of Firm Growth and Model Specification Choices on Tests of Earnings Management”, co-authored with Raunaq S. Pungaliya (Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul Korea) and Anand M. Vijh (University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA).

The fourth day saw students becoming actively involved in the actual conducting of an empirical financial accounting study. Prof. Goncharov walked students step-by-step through the process of data collection using common capital-market and accounting data bases, research design choices, and selected statistical analyses and related issues including the treatment of panel datasets, as well as selectivity and endogeneity.
In addition to classroom activities, students were given the opportunity to discuss their doctoral research projects in face-to-face settings with the SPAR faculty.

The participants earned 3 ECTS from the WHU doctoral program for four assignments: One brief research paper presentation or discussion; one written review of a current working paper; preparation of a research outline for the individual feedback sessions with the SPAR faculty; and practice of Stata data management commands.

Socializing certainly was not neglected. During coffee breaks, lunches, and evening dinners, participants took advantage of the opportunities to network and have fun with their fellow students as well as the faculty members. This aspect of the program arguably peaked in the restaurant Winninger Weinstuben.

At the end of the program, students were asked to complete a feedback questionnaire. Overall, the participants strongly indicated being very satisfied with the course.

The fourth SPAR will be held in July 2013.