February 07, 2008

Grant aids accounting faculty member's research

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Jake M. Rose, associate professor of accounting at in Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Business and Administration, along with Stewart Leech, professor of accounting at University of Melbourne, have been awarded an Australian Research Council grant, valued at $384,000 over three years, to develop a highly sophisticated expert system for accounting practitioners.

An expert system is a computer system that allows novices to make decisions and judgments like experts. The grant will make it possible to develop a system that trains novice accounting practitioners to quickly develop expert-like knowledge. The research will benefit a wide range of professionals including auditors, lawyers, securities analysts and engineers.

"I am delighted about receiving this substantial funding for our research," said Rose. "The grant will allow us to develop a real system and deploy it in the field. In addition to conducting laboratory experiments, the funds will allow us to see the benefits of the actual use of our expert system by accounting professionals. It is wonderful to be involved in research with direct effects on business practice and professionals. We hope that accounting firms will become so excited by the outcomes of this project that there will be greater links between research institutions and business practice in the future."

Prior research has found that traditional decision aids, expert systems and training interventions fail to accelerate the ability to organize knowledge into expert knowledge structures. Research also indicates that knowledge structure, rather than knowledge quantity, is the key to expertise.

The grant project will employ new data-capturing methods, software and analysis techniques developed and tested by Rose for rapidly collecting expert knowledge in complex decision domains and displaying these knowledge structures to system users. In his preliminary research, Rose found that decision aids and expert systems can significantly enhance expertise development when expert knowledge structures are captured and displayed by the systems.

Rose is the winner of the 2007 College of Business and Administration Research Excellence Award. He is a three-degree graduate of Texas A& M University, earning a bachelor's degree in accounting, a master's degree in accounting and a doctorate in accounting information systems.