Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Are great accountants born or made? This paper examines various factors and personality traits which lead to career success in accounting, as perceived by accountants with various levels of earnings and job satisfaction. The current literature indicates that a gap exists between employer expectations of potential employees and the skills and traits that accounting graduates prioritize as most important when they are about to enter the workforce (Muda 2009). This study extends the literature by attempting to identify the traits and characteristics of successful accountants by surveying accounting professionals, who are defined as those who have careers in accounting functions or supervisory roles over accounting functions. The study is unique in that it compares the views and traits of high earning or high satisfaction level accountants versus their counterparts with either lower earnings or lower satisfaction. The survey sample was primarily (>96%) composed of graduates of Bryant University with degree concentrations in Accounting. Survey data and analysis were used to test hypotheses that considered a variety of success factors and personality traits which could be related to success as an accountant. The effects of age and gender were also evaluated. Results of the study indicate that while there is general agreement in the importance of various factors linked to success in accounting, there are some topics where those who are more “successful” disagree with those who are less successful (based on earnings or job satisfaction) in determining how to achieve success. There are also differences in personality factors between those who are more successful and those who are less successful. Considering the implications of this study could help hiring managers find candidates that will have the ability to enhance profitability for firms.

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