Starting Your Career at an Accounting Firm: The Role of Personality in Explaining Career Starts

Kerckhofs, L., Hardies, K., Vandenhaute, M.-L., & Ceustermans, S. (2020) Starting Your Career at an Accounting Firm: The Role of Personality in Explaining Career Starts. Accounting Horizons doi: https://doi.org/10.2308/HORIZONS-2020-001

44 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2020

See all articles by Linde Kerckhofs

Linde Kerckhofs

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Accountancy, Auditing and Business Financing (ACCO)

Kris Hardies

University of Antwerp

Marie-Laure Vandenhaute

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Stefanie Ceustermans

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Accountancy, Auditing and Business Financing (ACCO)

Date Written: August 20, 2020

Abstract

This study investigates whether personality traits affect graduate business students’ decisions to start their career (a) in the accounting profession, and (b) at a Big 4 accounting firm. We analyze survey data from 348 graduate students. Results show that students with lower levels of openness to experience are more likely to seek careers in accounting. Further, results show that students with higher levels of narcissism are more likely to start their careers in a Big 4 firm. Additionally, we show that the effect of narcissism on students’ decision to seek career at a Big 4 is fully mediated by their attitudes towards the Big 4. Compared to students who seek careers at non-Big 4 firms, Big 4 career seekers believe that the Big 4 offer higher salaries, better opportunities for training, experience, and networking, more advancement opportunities, better career prospects, more interesting, challenging, and fulfilling work, more friendly colleagues, a better relationship with supervisors, more job security, and higher prestige.

Keywords: careers; accounting firms; personality; HEXACO; Dark Triad; Theory of Planned Behavior

Suggested Citation

Kerckhofs, Linde and Hardies, Kris and Vandenhaute, Marie-Laure and Ceustermans, Stefanie, Starting Your Career at an Accounting Firm: The Role of Personality in Explaining Career Starts (August 20, 2020). Kerckhofs, L., Hardies, K., Vandenhaute, M.-L., & Ceustermans, S. (2020) Starting Your Career at an Accounting Firm: The Role of Personality in Explaining Career Starts. Accounting Horizons doi: https://doi.org/10.2308/HORIZONS-2020-001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3686556

Linde Kerckhofs (Contact Author)

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Accountancy, Auditing and Business Financing (ACCO) ( email )

Brussels
Belgium

Kris Hardies

University of Antwerp ( email )

Department of Accounting and Finance
Pleinlaan 13
Antwerp, 2000
Belgium

Marie-Laure Vandenhaute

Vrije Universiteit Brussel ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
Brussel, 1050
Belgium

Stefanie Ceustermans

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Accountancy, Auditing and Business Financing (ACCO) ( email )

Brussels
Belgium

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