Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

School of Accountancy’s research ranking cracks top 50 worldwide


Climbing in the national rankings has been a common occurrence for all things Clemson in recent years.

Widener, accountancy, research, rankings, top 50
Sally Widener

But the School of Accountancy’s rapid ascent in a worldwide evaluation of academic research makes their achievement one to behold.

A recently released study by Brigham Young University ranks the Clemson University College of Business accounting program’s research efforts as 50th in the world. Just seven years ago, the program ranked 275 in that same study. And, what makes the ranking even more significant is that Clemson is one of only three institutions in the top 50 that aren’t Ph.D.-granting programs.

“To crack the top 50 in the world in accounting research is significant on several fronts,” said Sally Widener, director of the School of Accountancy and a Trevillian Distinguished Professor. “First, it shows we are a leader in cutting edge research so we are able to bring that knowledge into the classroom, which benefits our students. Also, we are among only a few in the world achieving this level of research who don’t offer a doctoral program within the discipline.”

Derek Dalton, accountancy, research, rankings, top 50
Derek Dalton

The BYU study ranked universities on the productivity and quality of research across all topics and methods of accounting research. Methods are the various types of research such as surveys or archival-based, and topics are sub-disciplines within the profession that include audit, managerial and financial, to name a few.

Clemson’s top 50 ranking was driven in part by the program’s researchers who scored highest in BYU’s individual worldwide rankings, ranking in the top decile of accounting researchers worldwide.

Derek Dalton, an associate professor, ranked No. 57 of accounting researchers worldwide across all methods and topics in the last six years. His research focuses on work-life balance and turnover in the accounting profession.

Nancy Harp, accountancy, research, rankings, top 50
Nancy Harp

Widener, a full professor, ranked No. 79 in all methods and topics in that six-year period, and was the 3rd highest ranked accounting researcher worldwide for managerial accounting research across all methods. Her research focuses on the interplay between management control systems and employee behaviors.

Nancy Harp, an associate professor, ranked No. 130 of accounting researchers worldwide across all methods and topics in the six-year period. Her research focuses primarily on auditing issues, including implications of SOX reforms and professional skepticism.

Widener said the department’s priority on research aligns closely with the university’s focus on being among the top-tier research institutions in the country.

“I think it is fair to say that we are following suit with the university by placing more of an emphasis on our research,” she said. “It is part of the department’s strategy to be on the forefront of the profession with a healthy mix in the quality and productivity of the research we produce.”

There are approximately 360 majors in the School of Accountancy and about 150 graduate annually. The master’s program, based in Greenville, has more than 140 students enrolled.

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