Focus in Accounting

The doctoral program in Accounting covers the areas of Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, and Auditing. With PhD topics both relevant for companies and high-quality journals, graduates have started successful careers in practice and academia alike.

Research in the field of the accounting track targets towards the following overarching objectives:

The broad research area of Accounting has practical relevance with implications for e.g., standard setters, companies, and other stakeholders. Scientific analyses are expected to significantly matter to practice but also to be of utmost academic rigour complying with international academic standards. Doctoral students will not only learn how to design their own research project adequately but also how to review and critique other work in a constructive way. This is integrated within the ACA Research Seminar Series where doctoral students are exposed to international high-profile academics presenting papers on current topics in accounting. Besides the necessary methods to conduct research, the courses and colloquia further allow in-depth analyses and discussions on the specific institutional settings.. 

Prospective Ph.D. Students for the accounting track distinguish themselves ideally with the following profile:  

Doctoral students of the program are expected to have excellent understanding in financial reporting, financial analysis, management accounting, or auditing, respectively. Depending on the topic of the thesis, the competent use of a statistical software (e.g. STATA, SPSS) may be expected throughout the program. A keen interest in learning how to work scientifically is a prerequisite. 

Among others, the following scientific theoretical approaches and practical procedures are relevant in the accounting track: 

Empirical archival work relies on hand-collected data or databases containing firm-specific information. The University of St. Gallen has subscribed to a broad range of important databases to conduct large-scale accounting studies compatible with international standards (e.g. Compustat, CRSP, IBES, etc.). Survey-based work relies on access to interesting organisations or individuals willing to cooperate, which is facilitated by the university’s large network. Case-based work focuses on single or multiple in-depth firm observations or interactions allowing detailed insights in instrumental practices and applications. Experimental work with a focus on individuals’ (e.g. managers’, auditors’) behaviour can be conducted through the facilities of the university’s professional Behavioral Lab.  


Out of the two compulsory courses, at least one of the specialization-specific courses must be attended. The second compulsory course may also be selected from the set of compulsory courses of other tracks of the PMA. In addition to some track-specific method courses, the empirical research method courses of the Global School in Empirical Research Methods (GSERM) are recommended.


Eisenhardt, K. M., Graebner, M. E., Theory Building From Cases: Opportunities And Challenges, Academy of Management Journal (2007), 50(1), 25-32.

Labro, E., Tuomela, T.-S., On bringing more action into management accounting research: process considerations based on two constructive case studies, European Accounting Review (2003), 12(3), 409-442.

Libby, R., Bloomfield, R., Nelson, M. W., Experimental research in financial accounting, Accounting, Organizations and Society (2002), 27, 775-810.

Watts, R.L., Zimmerman, J. L., Positive Accounting Theory: A Ten Year Perspective, The Accounting Review (1990), 65(1), 131-156

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Tami Dinh

Prof. Dr.

Full Professor of Accounting

Büro 57-104
Tigerbergstrasse 9
9000 St. Gallen
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Büro 57-104
Tigerbergstrasse 9
9000 St. Gallen