People Accounting

Education Always Pays off. Even When You Write About It

, by Andrea Costa
Annita Florou and Peter Pope honored with EAR Best Paper Award for a study on the implications of auditor education on audit quality

This year's edition of the European Accounting Review Best Paper, awarded by the European Accounting Association, goes to Auditor University Education: Does it Matter?, a paper by Annita Florou and Peter F. Pope of Bocconi's Department of Accounting together with Jenny Chu of Cambridge University.

The Best Paper award is voted by the international membership of the Editorial Board of European Accounting Review. In their paper the authors take advantage of the UK audit setting, where relevant accounting or business degrees are not a prerequisite for entry to the auditing profession. They investigate the association between bachelor degree-level auditor education and the competences acquired, the quality of audits and the audit fees earned. The authors find that quantitative- and accounting-oriented degrees, in particular, are associated with a better audit performance and higher fees compared with other types of academic degrees.

The paper contributes new insights on the role of university education for the accounting and auditing profession. In a rapidly changing business environment, where human capital is a crucial driver of business success, the paper confirms that the academic curriculum is an influential factor determining the success of professionals in an important economic sector. It suggests that continued dialogue on curriculum design between university educators and prospective employers will be important for in shaping the career success of future graduates.