Journal of Accounting and Management Information Systems (JAMIS)

Accounting and information systems in Irish family SME: professionalisation effects

Vol. 20, No. 3/2021 ,   pp454..476

Martin Quinn
Peter Cleary
Catherine Batt
Pall Rikhardsson

Keywords:   information systems (IS), accounting, family businesses, professionalisation

Abstract:   Research Question: Does the use of IS in family businesses differ significantly from non-family businesses? Does professionalisation of accountants positively impact the use of IS, and is there a difference between family and non-family businesses? Motivation: Research indicates family businesses have more limited implementation and use of information systems (IS) coupled with less accounting and control. As accounting is a primary user of IS, this paper explores if professionalisation of accounting may explain such reported differences in IS use. Idea: This study tests two hypotheses around IS use and professionalisation of accounting. Using a more refined measure of professionalisation of accounting than previous. Data: Data was collected from a survey of CFOs in a country with a strong family business tradition and strong professional accounting bodies. A response rate of 30% was achieved. Tools: A Mann-Witney test coupled with binary and multi-nominal regressions were used to test the hypotheses. Findings: Although professional accountants’ presence is a significant explanatory variable, the results show no significant difference in IS use between family and non-family-owned firms. However, contrary to similar studies in countries without strong professional accounting bodies, the analysis suggests that professionalisation is a significant explanatory factor in the similarities found. Contribution: By applying a more refined measure of professionalisation of accounting, this study provides a useful basis for further exploration of the professionalisation of the accounting function in family firms and links to IS use.