Accounting Professor Receives AICPA Award to Study the Influence of “Tone at the Top”

Veena BrownVeena L. Brown, Assistant Professor of Accounting, has been awarded funding and access to auditing professionals to study how the “tone” set by top leadership at public accounting firms with regard to audit quality initiatives is communicated, internalized and filters through the firm, and how this may influence auditors’ attitudes and actions.

The award was one of two projects funded this year by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) that will delve into the behaviors and factors that can influence private company auditing.  Brown will collaborate on the project with Christine E. Earley of Providence College and Kerri-Ann Sanderson of Bentley University.

Leadership tone has been identified by many organizations as a key element in audit quality, including the AICPA and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.  The authors believe that the results of this study will help firms to evaluate their leadership tone and communication effectiveness to comply with regulatory requirements.  Further, the study will probe best practices in communicating with the “next generation” of auditors (Millennials).

The AICPA is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with members representing many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments.