What Is Accounting Research?

Many of the most crucial decisions companies make rely on the status of their accounts. Without understanding their current and past financial positions, organizations may struggle to make important decisions. Through accounting and accounting research, companies can gain a clearer picture of where they stand and how to shape their futures.

Accountants can develop plans for the future by analyzing an organization’s financial data, performance and cash flows. Their plans are based on careful and thorough research of accounting standards and tax laws to discover the most effective approach to each financial transaction, as well as alternative approaches to the structure of transactions. Through higher education and specialization in programs such as a Master of Accountancy, graduates can develop the necessary skills to help organizations choose the best financial paths forward.

Why Accounting Research Is Important

The research conducted by practicing accountants is intended to determine the appropriate way for an organization to report transactions in its financial statements and tax returns. Accounting research is part of the process of reviewing and auditing the firm’s financial information to convert the data into insights on complex financial issues that help companies choose the best course of action.

The development or recovery of a business often relies on the information gained from accounting research. The research serves as the foundation for an accountant’s work to support their clients’ financial plans by studying their current financial situation and suggesting ways to enhance their financial position.

Skills Needed for Accounting Research

The most important skill for an accountant to possess is the ability to communicate clearly with clients:

  • First, an accountant must determine the client’s needs by working with them to get a complete and accurate picture of their financial operations.
  • Next, an accountant must present the accounting options that are available to the client in a way that supports their financial decision-making.

It is also essential for accountants to have a strong knowledge of how to use primary sources of accounting law, rules and regulations, such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Accounting Standards Codification and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Internal Revenue Code (tax code).

Through advanced degree programs, accountants can learn general accounting principles and skills, as well as how to take creative and innovative approaches to solving accounting problems. They can also build the skills required to analyze complex financial information and effectively communicate their results back to company officials.

These are some of the skills needed to conduct accounting research:

  • Networking and communication skills: Accounting research often involves coordinating with others to compile data for research, as well as communicating findings and making recommendations to firms, thus requiring strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Organizational skills: Any accounting inquiry requires strong organizational skills, as improper data management can easily lead to skewed results. Accountants must be meticulous in their attention to detail to ensure findings are accurate.
  • Time management: As data, information and research techniques continue to evolve, research requires the timely compilation and completion of projects.
  • Technological/program knowledge: For many projects, the most efficient way to conduct research is using programs to organize and analyze data.
  • Creative thinking and problem-solving: To conduct research and use it to formulate plans of action, accountants need to decide on the best course of action for a firm.

Using the information garnered from their research, accountants can advise firms on what they believe is the best course of action. For those looking to advance in a company, the ability to take the lead on research projects with these skills could demonstrate that they can handle the responsibility of a supervisory role.

Accounting Research Methods

Accounting research has been transformed by the arrival of automated accounting tools and techniques. Accountants must now be adept at using such accounting applications as Sage Intacct, Xero and FreeAgent. A growing number of accounting firms are adopting cloud-based systems that help them streamline their accounting workflows.

An accountant doing research at a desk with a laptop, smartphone and paperwork.Automation also makes data analytics skills more important for accounting research, especially in maximizing the value of the client organization’s financial information. Analytics delivers new insight into a company’s financial and other processes that helps them streamline operations and improve their profitability. The data is applied by corporate managers to reduce risk at a time of rising uncertainty about the future of markets and industries.

The technology that is likely to have the most profound impact on accounting research methods is artificial intelligence, which promises to make accountants more productive while improving the accuracy of their financial analyses. Rather than replacing human accountants, however, AI is being applied to support human financial decision-making by making possible more in-depth and more timely analyses.

Weighing options and choosing the best course of action may require policy shifts. Beyond theoretical planning, accountants must ensure they remain current on tax law and on the accounting policies and standards from the IRS, FASB, and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). This ensures that any financial decisions are not simply practical but are fully legal and can stand up to financial reporting and auditing.

Modern Accounting Drives Business Success

The ability to conduct in-depth research for a company can set accounting candidates apart as valuable assets. With the know-how to take on difficult or independent projects, advise a firm on its future and find innovative ways to adapt to a changing market, candidates can earn a coveted place in an organization and the increased salary that often comes with it.

For accountants looking to gain more job autonomy, pursuing an advanced degree such as the online Master of Accountancy from the University of Nevada, Reno could be a step toward exciting new career opportunities. The curriculum includes courses such as Accounting Research and Business Analysis Methods to help students succeed in the professional world. By taking advantage of a program created to prepare students for the CPA exam, graduates can build the practical skills needed to hit the ground running in the competitive business landscape. Discover what you can do by learning from the experts at the University of Nevada, Reno and pursue a Master of Accountancy today.

Recommended Readings:

Master’s in Accounting Salary and Career Outlook

What Are the Skills Needed to Be an Accountant?

What Is the Difference Between Accounting and Accountancy?


Accounting Tools, “What Is the Purpose of Accounting?”

CPA Journal, “The Future of Accounting Education”

CPA Journal, “Making the Jump From Accounting Practice to Academia”

FinancesOnline, “11 Accounting Trends for 2021/2022: New Forecasts and What Lies Beyond”

Financial Accounting Standards Board, FASB Accounting Standards Codification

Houston Chronicle, “Accounting Business Skills”

Houston Chronicle, “Qualitative Methods of Research Assessment in Accounting Research”

International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, List of IFRS Standards and IFRIC Interpretations

Journal of Accounting Research, “Reproducibility in Accounting Research: Views of the Research Community”

Study, “What Is Accounting? Purpose, Importance and Relationship to Business”