Internal controls play critical roles in all organizations. Internal control weaknesses that have resulted in accounting fraud have global and local ramifications including job and investment losses. The ramifications have been felt globally in the United States, Britain, China, and locally, in Northern Virginia. Weak internal controls or the lack thereof was the most preeminent factor contributing to accounting fraud. Many studies have discretely and narrowly examined either internal control weaknesses or fraud. Consequently, there was a dearth of research on internal control failures that have resulted in accounting fraud. The problem addressed in this study was the need to understand accountants’ perspectives on how they detected and handled internal control weaknesses within their organizations and their perceptions of their preparedness to detect and prevent fraud based on the academic and on-the-job training they have received. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to describe how accountants in the Northern Virginia area detected and handled internal control weaknesses within their organizations and their perceptions of their preparedness to detect and prevent fraud based on the academic and on-the-job training they received. In this study, informal face-to-face, open-ended semi-structured interviews and document review were conducted. Purposive snowball and criterion sampling were used to recruit 15 professional accountants. Lists maintained by professional accounting organizations were used to identify members who met the study criteria. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analyses to identify themes related to the research questions. Results indicated that lack of monitoring preeminently contributed to fraud. However, accountants shared strategies they used to detect and prevent internal control weaknesses and accounting fraud within their organizations. Additionally, accountants received inadequate internal control and fraud training both in college and from their employers. Recommendations for practical application include providing accountants with adequate internal control and fraud training in college and by employers. Future research should explore organizational managements’ perspectives on internal control weaknesses that resulted in accounting fraud to shed more light on the pervasiveness of the deficiencies identified. This study was limited to accountants in Northern Virginia, future research may replicate this study, but in different geographic locations.
|Commitee:||Avena, Nicole, Bearden, Frank|
|Department:||School of Business and Technology Management|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Accounting, Business administration, Business education|
|Keywords:||Accountants training, Accounting education, Accounting fraud, Employer training, Fraud education and training, Internal control|
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