From Student to Accounting Professional: A Longitudinal Study of the Filtering Process

52 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2015

See all articles by Monte R. Swain

Monte R. Swain

Brigham Young University - School of Accountancy

Kari Olsen

Utah Valley University

Date Written: August 27, 2011


Over a 15-year period, we observe the pattern of personality types of students that come into introductory accounting classes, into the accounting major, into the accounting profession, and that remain in accounting as a long-term career. While most research has concentrated on either education or professional careers, our study represents perhaps the first significant longitudinal study employing a within-subject design to examine both the accounting education decision and the decision to pursue and remain with an accounting career. By employing mediational analysis techniques, our study examines the filtering process that leads to the personality makeup of practicing accountants. Our analysis extends beyond descriptive correlations of MBTI personality types majoring in accounting to provide evidence of how MBTI personality type preferences influence career decisions through mediated measures of attitude, intent, and performance. In particular, we demonstrate clearly both the nature and the preponderance of personality types in both the accounting major and accounting profession who prefer gathering information based on observations of concrete data versus gathering insight based on an intuitive exploration of meanings and relationships — classified in the MBTI personality literature as Sensors versus Intuitors, respectively.

Keywords: Introductory Accounting, Career Choice, Education Choice, MBTI, Personality

Suggested Citation

Swain, Monte R. and Olsen, Kari, From Student to Accounting Professional: A Longitudinal Study of the Filtering Process (August 27, 2011). Issues in Accounting Education, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2012. Available at SSRN:

Monte R. Swain (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University - School of Accountancy ( email )

Provo, UT 84602
United States

Kari Olsen

Utah Valley University ( email )

800 West University Parkway
Orem, UT 84058
United States

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