Accounting and Information Systems in Irish Family SME: Professionalisation Effects

Martin Quinn, Peter Cleary, Catherine Batt, Pall Rikhardsson

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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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Accounting and Management Information Systems
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)454-476
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Information systems (IS)
  • Accounting
  • Family businesses
  • Professionalisation

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