WHU hosts the
6th WHU Doctoral Summer Program in Accounting Research (SPAR)

31 doctoral students from 13 different countries (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, USA) attended the 6th WHU Doctoral Summer Program in Accounting Research (SPAR) at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management from July 11 – 14, 2016. The SPAR was conducted by the Chair of International Accounting (Professor Martin Glaum) and the WHU Financial Accounting and Tax Center (FAccT Center). The program, which is held alternately at the WHU and the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, introduces (European) PhD students to theoretical, methodological, and practical issues involved in conducting high-quality financial accounting Research.

The doctoral students were taught by an impressive group of international accounting academics and high-level representatives from the accounting profession:

·         Prof. Dr. Andreas Barckow
President, Accounting Standards Committee of Germany, Berlin
·         Prof. Mary E. Barth, PhD
Stanford University, Graduate School of Business, U.S.A.
·         Prof. Dr. Martin Glaum
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany
·         Prof. Dr. Igor Goncharov
Lancaster University Management School, U.K.
·         Prof. Dr. Sven Hayn
Partner & Head of Public Affairs and Regulatory, Assurance – GSA, Ernst & Young
·         Prof. Dr. Martin Jacob
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany
·         Prof. Wayne R. Landsman, PhD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School, U.S.A.
·         Prof. Garen Markarian, PhD
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany
·         Prof. Dr. Maximilian Müller
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany
·         Prof. Steven Young, PhD
Lancaster University Management School, U.K.  
    

During the first three days, the seminar participants discussed topics in empirical capital-market-oriented financial reporting research. The students made presentations on influential, “landmark” papers in several areas of research and critically discussed with the faculty the research questions and the research designs of the papers, their primary findings and their limitations. Highlights of these sessions were presentations by Professors Barth and Landsman on their academic work on value relevance and international accounting, and a presentation by Professor Young on the use of textual analysis in financial reporting research.

The group also benefitted from stimulating presentations by Professor Andreas Barckow, President, Accounting Standards Committee of Germany, and by Prof. Dr. Sven Hayn, Partner at Ernst & Young. Prof. Barckow spoke about the challenges of financial reporting in the current world of extremely low interest rates, and Prof. Hayn shared his “practitioner views” on the current challenges in financial reporting and auditing, focusing on the consequences of the EU audit reform, the increasing complexities in corporate reporting, and the “digitalization” of business and reporting.

On the fourth day, the program concluded with a workshop conducted by Professor Goncharov on econometric issues and how to address them adequately, using the statistical package STATA. Prof. Goncharov talked about data management issues, important research design choices, and about commonly used empirical tests and their pitfalls.  

As in previous years, a main feature of the SPAR seminar was that students had the opportunity to discuss their own PhD research projects during face-to-face meetings with the SPAR faculty. Each student had two such meetings with different professors. These meetings provided an opportunity for students to give brief, informal presentations of their projects and to discuss critical aspects with the professors.

The participants earned 6 ECTS from the WHU doctoral program for their assignments (research paper presentation and discussion, written review of a paper, preparation and presentation of research outline, and practical implementation of STATA data management commands).

Last, but not least, the SPAR seminar provided amble room to socialize. Starting with a welcome reception on Sunday night and during coffee breaks, lunches, and evening dinners, the participants took advantage of the opportunity to network and have fun with their fellow students and with the faculty members. A special event in this regard was a guided tour through the “old city” of Koblenz, followed by a dinner and wine tasting in a traditional “Weinstube” (wine tavern).