Back in 2009 Professor Anthony Hopwood wrote an article for ICAEW on management accounting systems, based on his research. I had the job of editing the piece for publication. It was no surprise the substance of the piece was excellent but I did have some concerns about the way it was written and whether it would connect with practitioners. I made some changes but was nervous about sending these back to such a distinguished scholar. My covering email was suitable humble!
I needn’t have worried. Anthony was very complimentary about my work and, I think tongue in cheek, suggested I could help edit a book he was writing. This did wonders for my confidence in working with academics on articles and reports designed for practitioners. I have also had a little experience of writing for an academic audience in journals and books.
Some of the things I have learned:
Please comment below to provide your ideas.
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I like this initiative to shape professional accountants' thoughts on communicating research by accountants in practice. I am a Certified Public Accountant of Kenya now doing Msc. in Quantitative Research Methods with a keen interest on qualifying as an ACA. We are under challenge by other professionals like medics who also have access to data from their daily work like accountants and doing a great deal of work in communicating their research findings to the society. Four ways through which they have answered the question above are: continuous learning/training in conducting and communicating quality research; owning and maintaining high quality peer reviewed research journals; leveraging on partnerships with academia and other professional bodies to conduct and communicate research; leveraging on technology to conduct and communicate research.
This is such an important area, Rick. However you are communicating you have to engage with your audience. A few years ago I was at the same time writing a book and a journal article. The book editor wanted lots more examples and stories whereas the journal editor and reviewers wanted no stories at all! There was a lot of constructive feedback from both groups that I had to respond to. I'd had real trouble when I began writing the book because I just could not work out what style I needed. In the end I got round it by imagining I was writing for one of my MBA students. They were the best proxy I could think of for my potential audience. Does anyone else have any writing experiences to share?
As someone making the transition from practice to academia I would recommend the following to those seeking to publish in an academic journal
- target a specific journal and ensure you know the types and structure of articles it publishes
- linking up with a more experienced co-writer if possible
- seeking a mentor who can help you through the writing process
- taking the opportunity to review for journals as the exposure to a wide range of articles helps you to identify good and bad writing
- attend conferences and watch others present their work and take the opportunity to present your own
Finally always to take criticism in a constructive manner. It is part of the academic world.