Investigating Accountants' Resistance to the Adoption of Data Analytics Technology

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Church, Kimberly Swanson
Riley, Jennifer
Schmidt, Pam J.
Washburn University. School of Business
Kaw Valley Bank
Issue Date
September 2019
Alternative Title
Some time ago, a call to action in the accounting profession was sounded: become a profession founded on data analytics or become a profession bound for the history books. Accounting firms and corporations are investing to the development of data analytics capabilities, but it is not clear whether accounting professionals are leading or are following the charge. Practitioner press indicates accountants resist the move away from Excel even as organizations hire data scientists rather than accountants. This paper uses Status Quo Bias Theory to examine the resistance to emerging data analytics technology by accounting and finance professionals. Deviating from the predictions of the theory, the results indicate the perceived value of a new technology does not mediate the effect of switching benefits and costs on resistance. Rather, switching benefits and perceived value are aligned as a single factor to reduce resistance, while switching costs directly increase resistance. This calls for a deeper investigation into the way these professionals apply cost-benefit analyses and other intangible factors when resisting or accepting a change in technology. Researchers have focused substantial effort toward data analytics in education and business, this study suggests that a troubling number have not, and may not adopt.