Initial Retention of External Accountants in Startup Ventures

42 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2008 Last revised: 16 Nov 2011

See all articles by Gavin Cassar

Gavin Cassar

INSEAD

Christopher D. Ittner

University of Pennsylvania - Accounting Department

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 27, 2008

Abstract

This study investigates the determinants of the initial retention of external accountants by new U.S. start-ups. We test several arguments related to agency and credibility needs, financial activity and complexity, and accounting support and advice. Consistent with financial activity and complexity arguments, we find that intended scale and bank account activity are positively associated with both the actual and intended retention of an accountant. Comparing the decision to retain an accountant with the retention of another professional service, retaining a lawyer, we find many of the same factors to be significant. However, we find that lawyers are more likely to be retained during heightened uncertainty, primarily given the role of lawyers with patent and intellectual property assistance. Overall, these results suggest that some of the determinants of external accountant retention contrast with the determinants of internal accounting resource adoption, which are primarily related to decision-making needs and uncertainty.

Keywords: accountants, adoption, entrepreneurs, professional services, retention, start-ups

JEL Classification: M4, K00

Suggested Citation

Cassar, Gavin and Ittner, Christopher D., Initial Retention of External Accountants in Startup Ventures (December 27, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1320697 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1320697

Gavin Cassar (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
Fontainebleau, 77305
France

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.insead.edu/faculty-research/faculty/gavin-cassar

Christopher D. Ittner

University of Pennsylvania - Accounting Department ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States
215-898-7786 (Phone)
215-573-2054 (Fax)

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