Events - 23.10.2017 - 00:00 

First ACA Research Symposium at the HSG: Does Accounting Need Brains?

From 8-10 November 2017, the first ACA Research Symposium will be held at the University of St.Gallen. Organised by the Institute of Accounting, Control and Auditing (ACA-HSG), the Symposium aims to bridge the gap between accounting research and practice.

23 October 2017. In the eyes of marketing specialists, physicians, chemists and even management researchers, accounting has merely the objective of "keeping the books" and producing the bottom-line numbers required by reporting standards. Some even dare asking if, in the light of increasing digitalisation and automatisation, the accounting profession is threatened by being replaced by machines.

While these thoughts are certainly exaggerated, discussing the current state and future potential of accounting is essential. Moreover, it is necessary to bring the practical and scientific world closer together. In the best case, this leads to important insights, which can be transformed, into impacts in the accounting profession.

Fortunately, there are accounting researchers and practitioners who serve as role models and who have made important contributions both in theory and practice. Three of them, Prof. Frank Hartmann, PhD, Prof. Dr. Margit Osterloh, and Dr. Konstantin Sauer will contribute with a keynote to the ACA Research Symposium.

Neurological accounting research

Through his neurological accounting research, Frank Hartmann has found a way to measure how accountants think, behave and work. Neuroscientists ask: Are we rational human beings or do we rather rely on gut decisions? Maybe gut decisions are not only undeniable, but also necessary. Thus, with his research, Frank Hartmann uncovers important aspects of accounting professionals. Neuro-accounting is one prominent example of the value that accounting research can add and, also, an advance for bringing the practical and theoretical world of accounting closer together.

Theory and practice

Margit Osterloh is a prominent example of how researchers can build bridges between theory and practice as well as raise their voice in the capital market, and even politics. Grounded on recent studies which find that company success is primarily determined by factors outside the control of managers and not by the top managers themselves, she called for a random appointment of top managers from a list of pre-selected candidates. She also lobbied for the adoption of an "integration fee" for refugees in return for a safe immigration and work permit. Furthermore, in 2012, she initiated a call for boycott against the individual Handelsblatt-Ranking, arguing that academic scholars shall not be assessed by rankings and impact factors only.

Role of CFOs in disruptive times

Third keynote speaker is Konstantin Sauer, CFO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, a world leading automotive supplier and technology leader with more than 130,000 employees. The Alumnus of the University of St.Gallen will give a keynote speech on the topic "Nothing endures but change - The role of a CFO in disruptive times". As a member of the board since 2010, he manages the tensions between the local city of Friedrichshafen as a major shareholder, the worldwide capital markets and strong competitors.

One of the Symposium's highlights will be the award ceremony for the ACA Prize in Financial Governance in the tradition of the Dr. Kausch-Prize. With CHF 20,000 the prize is one of the highest endowed prizes in Europe in this field, sponsored by the ACA-HSG and supported by a variety of companies and personalities. By this, the ACA-HSG acknowledges and enforces its responsibility to actively shape the further development in financial governance.

A variety of conference presentations from accounting researchers worldwide will round off the Symposium’s programme. People interested in joining the ACA Research Symposium can register until 25 October 2017 online.

Discover our special topics