GETTING AN ACCOUNTING RESEARCH TOPIC

Writing a research in accounting is usually one task that appears laborious to researchers probably because of the nature of the course. Many researchers face a variety of problems in writing an accounting research paper. Some of which include choosing a researchable topic, getting data for analysis, finding reliable sources etc. In this write up, I will be sharing practical and feasible strategies to getting a good accounting research topic.

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The essence of a research is not just to re-write what has been written or rephrase what has been researched but to identify a gap in a particular concept, refer to existing literature relating to the concept, comment on existing literature to prove the existence of such gap and engage adequate measures to collect, analyze and interpret data to give sufficient suggestions that can close up the identified gap and in extension add to the body of knowledge.

It is therefore necessary to engage on an accounting research project with the intention of closing up an existing gap in major accounting concepts. This will set the basic guide for choosing a research topic. Choosing an accounting research topic has been one of the major issues that stare at the face of students or researchers. Two basic rules of thumb for choosing a research topic is researching something you are familiar with or choosing something completely different and new.

I suggest the 3Rs formula as a checklist for choosing or deciding on a project topic. Consider a topic that is:

  1. Really Relevant
  2. Really Researchable
  3. Really Interesting

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Relevance
Ask yourself of what is really relevant in accounting today? Many issues in accounting are no longer relevant today. For instance, you can’t choose a topic that will be talking about the Statement of Accounting Standards (SASs) as Nigeria has now adopted the International Accounting Standards (IASs).

Office accounting like clerical work is almost being replaced by digital accounting and we have the likes of accounting software, blockchain and other digital platforms that seem to extinct primitive accounting. Therefore, consider a topic that is relevant with the age.

For instance:

  • The Impact of Accounting Software on Effective Financial Reporting in Small Enterprises in Nigeria.
  • The Effect of Adopting IFRS for Small Businesses on the Performance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria.
  • Cloud Accounting and its Impact on the Efficient Management of Business Records. A Case of Consulting Firms in Nigeria

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All these and many more are recent trends not just in accounting as a course or profession but in the world of technology and business. This will indeed expose the researcher to many views on these relevant areas and add to the body of knowledge already existing.

Think about some relevant accounting research topic and write them down; you’ll make a great deal with that!
Researchable
After considering what is relevant in today’s body of knowledge, ask yourself is it really researchable? Choosing a relevant topic that is not researchable is signing up for frustration! A researchable topic is one that you can have access to existing materials as well as gather data that will assist in your analysis and recommendation.

A simple instance is this: product pricing or price change reporting is a relevant issue in the body of accounting but one could be restricted in data gathering about environmental accounting when primary data gathering approach is employed because needed input for such topics can only be provided by management staff like the accountant and in most cases, you can’t easily get access to these top staff in an organization. It is better to choose a research topic that can enable you use secondary data for your analysis and conclusions.

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To determine whether a topic is researchable or not;

  • consider the availability of existing literature on this area;
    determine the surety of data collection (whether primary or secondary);
  • consider the suitability of models for analysis.

Consider the following instances of a researchable topic:

  • The Impact of Personal Accountants on Financial Management of Individuals. A case of investors in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Financial Forecasting, a Measure to Improved Performance in Businesses. A case of Small Business Enterprises in Nigeria.
  • Auditing for Small Businesses, an Approach to Improving the Performance of Small Businesses in Nigeria.

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Interesting
After determining a topic’s relevance and possibility to research on it, ask yourself is it really interesting to me? Writing is all about expression of your passion in an organized flow of words. To write about what is not really interesting to you is like going against your will and you know what that means! It is therefore important to consider your interest before choosing your topic.

I have so much interest in audit/tax consulting in accounting as well as ICT in accounting and therefore if I am to choose a research topic, it would basically be around these areas. Outline the areas of accounting – financial reporting, management accounting, cost accounting, tax consulting, auditing, ICT in accounting, public sector accounting etc. and ask yourself which is of interest to you. After that, determine what issue in these areas interest you the most. Then consider choosing a topic in that line.

Conclusion
As a general guide to choosing an accounting research topic, brainstorm for ideas, choose a topic that will enable you to read and understand the literature, ensure that the topic is manageable and that material is available, make a list of key words, be flexible, define your topic as a focused research question, research and read more about your topic; and then formulate a thesis statement. Don’t forget the 3Rs – is it really relevant? Is it really researchable? Is it really interesting? If you do this, you’ll have no trouble getting an interesting accounting research topic.

Consider the following list of researchable topics for your accounting research project:

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  1. The Role of ICT in Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria.
  2. Price Stability Measures and its Effect on Nigeria’s Export Sector.
  3. The Impact of ICT on the Performance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
  4. The Impact of Environmental Accounting and Reporting on the Performance of Oil and Gas Companies in Nigeria.
  5. Sustainability Reporting, an Aspect of True and Fair Financial Reporting. A Case of Manufacturing Companies in Nigeria.
  6. Price Change Reporting, A Measure of Assessing Firms’ Performance. A Study of Manufacturing Companies in Nigeria.
  7. Accounting for Bad Debt Reduction, an approach to Improving Firm’s Performance. A Case of Service Companies in Nigeria.
  8. Public Sector Accounting and Expenditure Control in Federal Universities.
  9. Integrity and Discipline, The Core Traits and Character of Auditors. A Case of Major Audit Firms in Nigeria.
  10. The Impact of Personal Accountants on Financial Management of Individuals. A case of investors in Lagos, Nigeria.

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