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A stakeholder approach to the development of a framework for forensic accounting education within the Jordanian context

Abstract
If there is one business theme that has emerged over the last decades, it is financial corruption in the form of scandals. Billions of dollars in financial losses and an erosion of public confidence in financial reporting have been the result of high-profile corporate financial scandals (Markham, 2006). These scandals raise questions about the role of the audit industry in alerting a broad spectrum of stakeholders to the realities of corporate wrongdoing (Cooper & Neu, 2006; Trompeter, Carpenter, Desai, Jones, & Riley, 2012). The problems exposed by the financial scandals are of such magnitude that the total financial reporting system has been called into question (Huber, 2012). These scandals have also highlighted the need for forensic accounting practice and education (Ronen, 2002; Stephens, 2005). Nevertheless, Heitger and Heitger (2008) accuse academia of not having a “wide understanding and appreciation” (p. 561) of forensic accounting as both a profession and a field of practice. Where limited academic studies into forensic accounting have been undertaken, the research has tended to consist of either survey studies that examine the perception of academics and practitioners regarding the importance, relevance, and delivery of forensic accounting education (e.g., Daniels, Ellis, & Gupta, 2013; Kramer, Seda, & Bobashev, 2017; Rezaee, Crumbley, & Elmore, 2004) or of studies that examine the role of forensic accountants in detecting and preventing fraud (e.g., Luke, 2013; Alabdullah, Alfadhl, Yahya, & Rabi, 2014). Some forensic accounting studies such as Efiong (2012) and Ramamoorti, (2008) have also focused on cultural and contextual influences on forensic accounting practice and education. Such study of the various aspects of forensic accounting has contributed to improving understanding of its application, form, and characteristics. However, despite the steady growth in academic knowledge about forensic accounting, limited background information exists with respect to forensic accounting education in the context of developing countries and, in particular, in relation to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Elitas, Karakoç, & Görgülü, 2011; Alkubaisi, 2016; Alabdullah et al., 2014). In aiming ‘to develop a framework for forensic accounting education compatible with Jordan’s unique culture and business environment’, this study, therefore, contributes significantly to practical knowledge in this area. In addition, this study contributes significantly to theoretical knowledge in forensic accounting by developing a comprehensive definition of forensic accounting that reflects an accurate picture of how the concept is perceived by a range of stakeholders. This study also enriches the extant literature by examining: accounting curricula reform; culture-sensitive curriculum development; links between culture and fraud and corruption; and, accounting for the public good. Finally, this study makes a further significant contribution to studies on forensic accounting education because of its attempt to garner the perceptions of a wide range of forensic accounting education and services stakeholders on a framework for forensic accounting education. In this way, this study extends beyond the traditional ‘academics and practitioners’ approach followed in most research (e.g., DiGabriele, 2007; Daniels et al., 2013; Rezaee et al., 2004). Stakeholder theory provided the theoretical basis for selecting participants who are argued to be representative of the wide range of forensic accounting education and services stakeholders in Jordan. In order to investigate particular requirements that should be taken into account in relation to forensic accounting practice and education in Jordan, 40 Jordanian participants, representing accounting academics and practitioners and decision makers from the private and public sector in Jordan, lawyers and legal experts, as well as Islamic theologians, were interviewed. Additionally, thematic analysis was used to review relevant documents, websites, and reports of oversight and government agencies in Jordan as along with professional literature. In addition to the theoretical and practical contributions they make, the findings of this study have implications for three key stakeholder groups: (1) the Jordanian leadership, policy makers and civil society associations (2) oversight agencies and the Jordanian Association of Certified Public Accountants, (3) curriculum developers and education providers. It is hard to disentangle the overall impact of religion and culture in shaping Jordanians’ perceptions, behaviours, and actions from the wider context and primarily from the political, economic, and regulatory factors. The findings of this study highlight a gap between the citizens’ ideas of morality, rights, and responsibilities that stem from the dominant culture and beliefs, on the one side, and the rules and regulations imposed by the state on the other. This gap has created many political and economic issues, and continues to cause tension between citizens and the state. The study recommends that the state must consider the dominant beliefs and cultural norms when shaping its policies, laws, and regulations. In the fight against fraud and corruption, it is essential that Jordanian oversight agencies win the respect of businesses and the public. Real and perceptible legislative revisions and reforms are required to build public trust and business-government-civil society partnerships. The broader the partnership the better. Unless there is a political will to change the philosophy of the political and administrative entrepreneurial leadership in Jordan, anticorruption efforts and forensic accounting knowledge and techniques may fail to yield fruitful results. Reform in accounting education is needed in Jordan. This reform should consider the integration of forensic accounting into the universities’ accounting curricula. As financial scandals have created a crisis of credibility for the accounting profession, this study suggests that forensic accounting has the potential to restore the credibility of the profession through addressing three key matters: first, enhancing graduates’ skills and competencies to meet market needs; second, raising future graduates’ ability to make ethical decisions; and, third, taking accounting education beyond its technical dimension and re-establishing its connection with the political and social world.
Type
Thesis
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Saadeh, A. (2019). A stakeholder approach to the development of a framework for forensic accounting education within the Jordanian context (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12945
Date
2019
Publisher
The University of Waikato
Rights
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.