Accounting Conference 2018 – you’re invited!

Join Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business and CPA Canada on Friday, May 25 as we discuss Making Sense of the New Changes: Tax Planning for Private Companies and Estate and Succession Planning. 

Graduate students, academics, and practitioners alike will benefit from the diverse group of guest speakers that will be presenting.

Event details:

When: Friday, May 25, 2018
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel West Edmonton
16615-109th Avenue NW, Edmonton, Alberta
Cost: $30 + GST, includes a light breakfast, lunch and coffee/tea breaks

Get Tickets!

Guest Speakers:

Deborah MacPherson, KPMG

Mark Bernard, MNP

Michael Dolson, Felesky Flynn LLP

Interested in presenting?

If you are an academic or postgraduate student and would like to make a presentation, please contact: Dr. Aris Solomon

Funding available for accounting DBA and PhD students to present.

Presentations:

The Effect of Incentive Contract Type on Sabotage when Relative Performance Information is Provided

Weiming Liu

Athabasca University

Abstract

Organizations often provide relative performance information (RPI) to heighten competition and thereby increase employee effort. However, heightened competition may create a negative side-effect when employees sabotage their co-workers so as to outperform them. Using an experiment, we predict and find that when non-incentivized RPI is provided, sabotage is higher under a pay-for-performance piece rate incentive contract than a flat wage contract. Consistent with our prediction, this relationship between incentive contract and sabotage is fully mediated by participants’ desire to achieve a higher ranking of their earning status that is implied by RPI. Our result suggests that organizations which use pay-for-performance incentive contracts in conjunction with RPI to motivate effort should also consider the potential negative ramifications on sabotage.

Keywords: Sabotage, Incentive Contracts, Relative Performance Information

Accounting for Captive Belugas: A whale of a business

Aris Solomon & Margaret Clappison

Athabasca University

Abstract

This article is about the Vancouver Aquarium and how a nonprofit discharges its accountability towards its stewardship of captive belugas in its care. By 2017 the Vancouver Aquarium did not have any living belugas in its care in Canada but did have stewardship of five in the United States. It is estimated that a beluga can generate US$ 1,000,000 in revenue per year (Kestin:2017). There are approximately 620 whales and dolphins in human care in North America in 2017 (Ceta Data base:2017). Cetaceans in human care are indeed a whale of a business. In this article we begin with a statement of our views on the morality of captive sentient animals. We then go on to look at three aquaria in North America (a nonprofit, publicly listed and privately listed) investigating how they account for belugas in their financial statements. We found there was no consistent method of accounting disclosure for belugas across the three organisations and sectors and any disclosure was sparse at best. We go on to suggest some of the many readily available frameworks which can be used for accountability disclose, which are not used by the aquaria.

Our investigation did however suggest that legal form may well be a barrier to accountability disclosure. We concluded that some forms of disclosure should be above legal form. This one conclusion has ramifications throughout the accounting and accountability world.

Keywords: Accountability; Belugas; Financial Statements; Vancouver Aquarium

Learning Versus Memorization

Niharika Sreekumar CPA, CGA, M.A.

Abstract

In the ever-changing world of accounting and the improvements in technology, our students need to understand the reason behind how accountants find the right answer. In our quest to teach students an approach-based methodology is one that can provide a more reflective and analytical process than rote memorization and simply getting the right answer. This presentation focuses on two small case studies of a classroom-based analysis that was built upon a logical process and fact-based analysis to understand the methods behind the calculations. This conceptual approach is in its infancy as the understanding and value needs to be assessed over a longer period of time to see whether or not students gain additional skills in the areas of critical thinking and analysis. A simple research based analysis will be outlined detailing the background, purpose, scope, methodology along with a conclusion and future concerns will be presented in order to generate ideas and possibilities for future implementation and analysis of metrics to be used to determine validity and value.

Performance Information Use in the Canadian Higher Education Sector

Germaine Chan

Abstract

The problem with many performance management (PM) systems is that organizational members do not always use performance information, the result of performance measurement, in a rational manner to improve the decision-making process.   In other words, scholars have found that the adoption, design and implementation of PM systems, all of which can consume significant resources, will not automatically result in the use of performance data to inform organizational decision-making.  A number of PM academics assert that research in the area of performance information (PI) use is key in order to understand why PM systems sometimes fail.   As a result, there is a growing body of empirical studies that focus on identifying variables that foster or constrain PI use.  This mixed methods study, set in the Canadian higher education sector, continues in the same vein.   Faced with difficult financial constraints and growing demands for accountability universities around the globe are increasingly introducing PM systems and using the data derived from these systems to make a variety of institutional decisions.

Specifically, this study investigates the use of performance information (PI) to inform the decision-making process, stakeholder characteristics that may influence PI use and the strategies used to create a data driven culture.

The findings show that Canadian university leaders have an above-average level of PI use.   As well, the qualitative data indicate that a desire to demonstrate accountability and respond to accountability demands are the main factors driving PI use.    However, the regression results are surprising.   That is, even though faculty stakeholders are perceived to be very salient, there is no significant relationship between perceived faculty salience and PI use by university leaders.   The only significant stakeholder relationship is between perceived staff salience and PI use.   The findings also reveal a significant relationship between organizational size and PI use.   As well, the predominant stakeholder management strategies regarding PM and PI use are involvement, collaboration, and monitoring, and peer influence is used to encourage non-supportive members to become supportive of PM and PI use.

The problem with many performance management (PM) systems is that organizational members do not always use performance information, the result of performance measurement, in a rational manner to improve the decision-making process.   In other words, scholars have found that the adoption, design and implementation of PM systems, all of which can consume significant resources, will not automatically result in the use of performance data to inform organizational decision-making.  A number of PM academics assert that research in the area of performance information (PI) use is key in order to understand why PM systems sometimes fail.   As a result, there is a growing body of empirical studies that focus on identifying variables that foster or constrain PI use.  This mixed methods study, set in the Canadian higher education sector, continues in the same vein.   Faced with difficult financial constraints and growing demands for accountability universities around the globe are increasingly introducing PM systems and using the data derived from these systems to make a variety of institutional decisions.

Specifically, this study investigates the use of performance information (PI) to inform the decision-making process, stakeholder characteristics that may influence PI use and the strategies used to create a data driven culture.

The findings show that Canadian university leaders have an above-average level of PI use.   As well, the qualitative data indicate that a desire to demonstrate accountability and respond to accountability demands are the main factors driving PI use.    However, the regression results are surprising.   That is, even though faculty stakeholders are perceived to be very salient, there is no significant relationship between perceived faculty salience and PI use by university leaders.   The only significant stakeholder relationship is between perceived staff salience and PI use.   The findings also reveal a significant relationship between organizational size and PI use.   As well, the predominant stakeholder management strategies regarding PM and PI use are involvement, collaboration, and monitoring, and peer influence is used to encourage non-supportive members to become supportive of PM and PI use.

Thank you to our sponsor: