Steven is a Professor of Accounting and Deputy Head, Research and Innovation in the School of Accounting.
What are your non-academic interests?
I have two non-academic interests that I cherish greatly. First and foremost is my family. I enjoy spending quality time at home with my wife and children. I particularly want to know: what my children are up to at school; their friends; likes/dislikes, and their interests (it is mostly Minecraft and The Vamps; it used to be One Direction and the Beibster). In part, this is my way of keeping abreast of popular culture.
When I am seeking a break, I spend time at my beachfront property looking out over the horizon sipping on a drink - the variety of which (cold or hot) is determined by the weather. I retain these moments by divesting myself of the media that keeps us connected but distracts us from private time. My mobile is disconnected and access to wifi is carefully avoided.
Monday arrives and it’s back to reality.
Tell us briefly about your current research and what drew you to this topic?
I would describe my research as eclectic. I pursue topics that have inherent interest to me. This approach to research is self-motivating and productive but there is also a downside; starting new projects that are disconnected from one another means that I am continually approaching each project as a novice. I must learn new literatures, make new contacts and find new audiences for my work. Whilst exhausting, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Labelling my research is difficult because of the eclectic nature of my projects. Generally, my research falls under the broader notion of ’professional ethics in accounting’ and education. I have published papers on ethics education, experiential learning, mobile learning, codes of conduct, management accounting, social and environmental accounting, governance in charities, professional reintegration, fraud and the notion of ’serving the public interest’ in accounting.
My current research is focused on understanding deviant behaviour in the accounting profession. I am interested in understanding why ’good people make bad decisions’ and how professional accountants use their positions to gain a personal advantage. As part of this research, I was fortunate enough to interview accountants convicted of white-collar crimes. Whilst the motivation to commit crime varied between individuals, usually stemming from a financial strain, it was their inability to share their problems that prevented them from desisting from such behaviour.
What research problems and areas are you likely to explore in the future?
I am always open to new ideas as such my research agenda is constantly changing. At this point in time, I am focused on two areas of research that will keep me occupied in the short term:
Stereotypical perceptions in accounting and impression management
- Along with colleagues from Deakin University, I am also involved in a project examining burnout in the accounting profession.
An area of research that I would like to engage in the near future is:
- Professional discipline and the extent to which disciplinary processes in the profession contributes to reoffending rather than desistance.
- You may notice from this brief description that my research interests rests in understanding the accountant rather than the practice of accounting.
How do you balance your teaching, supervising, and your own research time?
Balancing the demands of teaching and research is always difficult, I don’t think I have ever felt in absolute control ’all of the time’. The ever increasing demands and responsibilities arising from our work means that the ability to perform all tasks within reasonable time is difficult. I manage this tension by prioritising and allocating a minimum amount of time to each task. In this way, I do not allow one task to dominate another. I also find it useful to perform particular tasks at certain times of the day. For example, I find that I am better able to think analytically in the morning, so whenever possible, I start my day with research then move to other less taxing tasks later in the day (e.g. emails).
Any other comments you would like to add?
I would like to end this interview with one pearl of wisdom relating to the academic publication process. I have found in recent years that the number of manuscripts submitted to high raking journals has grown exponentially. One side-effect of this growth is the high proportion of rejections at the editor’s desk before the paper is sent out to review. In my experience, many of these papers have great potential but represent missed opportunities because they have been submitted to the journal prematurely. My advice, to new authors in particular, is that they polish, repolish and workshop their papers before they send it to a journal. This is an arduous and time consuming process but one that will enhance the chance of success.
Best wishes with your teaching and research careers.