Managing Interruptions in the Accounting Workplace

The CPA Journal, Vol. 82 (May)

Posted: 22 Feb 2016 Last revised: 23 Feb 2016

See all articles by James H. Long

James H. Long

Auburn University - School of Accountancy

Jonathan D. Stanley

Auburn University - School of Accountancy

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

CPAs are frequently interrupted while they complete work-related tasks. The authors surveyed 79 accounting professionals, 85% of whom indicated that they are interrupted by e-mails, instant messages, phone calls, or interpersonal (that is, face-to-face) interactions at least once per hour. Research from a broad array of professional and academic disciplines has documented that task interruption negatively impacts task performance, both in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Furthermore, research indicates that individuals are largely overconfident in their ability to manage the negative consequences of task interruption. These findings have important implications for CPAs because competitive market and regulatory pressures require them to perform tasks efficiently and effectively. This article describe the nature of task interruption in the accounting workplace and documents accountants’ self-identified preferred and actual responses to task interruption. It also describes several best practices that CPAs can employ to manage the negative effects of task interruption.

Keywords: task interruption, interruption, accounting

Suggested Citation

Long, James H. and Stanley, Jonathan D., Managing Interruptions in the Accounting Workplace (2012). The CPA Journal, Vol. 82 (May), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2735518

James H. Long (Contact Author)

Auburn University - School of Accountancy ( email )

301 Lowder Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849
United States
(334) 844-6214 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jameshlong.com

Jonathan D. Stanley

Auburn University - School of Accountancy ( email )

415 West Magnolia Avenue
Auburn, AL 36849
United States

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