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    The O*NET: A Challenging, Useful Resource for Investigating...
    research summary posted November 17, 2014 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 05.0 Audit Team Composition, 05.04 Staff Hiring, Turnover and Morale, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.05 Training and General Experience 
    The O*NET: A Challenging, Useful Resource for Investigating Auditing and Accounting Work
    Practical Implications:

    By exploring the O*NET database, the authors discover its potential professional accounting applications. Because of its extensive listing of required occupational skills and knowledge, the O*NET provides a useful starting point for writing accounting job descriptions. The O*NET’s focus on entry-level positions makes it an important resource for recruiting accounting professionals. Its data can help structure and clarify the recruiting process by helping to build descriptions of required knowledge, ability and skills and required competencies. Data can also contribute to designing compensation and performance evaluation systems by defining the required knowledge, skill and abilities required for accounting positions, and, in determining appropriate compensation. Existing or proposed accounting positions can be assessed, i.e., benchmarked, against the standardized O*NET occupational categories of accounting work, as a means of determining their minimal requirements, organizational rank, or compensation.

    For more information on this study, please contact Dan N. Stone.


    Scarlata, A. N., D. N. Stone, K. T. Jones, and C. C. Chen. 2011. The O*NET: A Challenging, Useful Resource for Investigating Auditing and Accounting Work. Accounting Horizons. 25 (4): 781-809

    auditor employment, entrants, occupations, professional accountancy, recruiting
    Purpose of the Study:

    This paper introduces a data resource, the O*NET, that partially fills the need for a publicly available database that is relevant to investigating accounting and auditing work. The O*NET is a unique occupational data resource regarding U.S. worker attributes, attitudes, knowledge and skill, and job characteristics.  The O*NET was released in 1998, with subsequent annual updates. It provides detailed occupational information from multiple sources both within and outside each profession. Unfortunately, the O*NET is an underused resource, potentially due to complexity and user “unfriendliness”. The authors describe the database and share potential applications for professional accountants and academic researchers.

    Design/Method/ Approach:

    The Occupational Information Network database (O*NET), a publicly available employment and occupation resource created and maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor, contains considerable relevant data on accountants’ and auditors’ work and employment. The authors explore data from the O*NET database (Version 15.0, released in June 2010), which includes about 1,100 occupations. They consider the history, organization and validity of the O*NET, as well as its potential value in non-accounting, professional accounting, and scholarly accounting applications. 

    • The O*NET provides an important publicly available, longitudinal and cross-sectional resource for investigating accountancy employment and work. 
    • The content model, around which the O*NET is organized, includes six “domains” or categories of data, each of which identifies a related set of activities and characteristics of workers and occupations. Data is in the following domains: 1) Worker characteristics, 2) Worker requirements, 3) Experience Requirements, 4) Workforce Characteristics, and 5) Occupation-Specific Information.
    • Data is collected and updated annually from multiple sources including job analysts, surveys of employers and employees, and labor economists’ employment projections.
    • Users of the O*NET include scholars, state employment agencies, employers, career counselors and job seekers.
    • The O*NET provides research opportunities for both accounting professionals and academics.
    • The limitations of the O*NET include overly broad categories of accounting work, issues related to biases and construct validity, and poor organization and unfriendly interface. 
    Audit Quality & Quality Control, Audit Team Composition
    Staff Hiring - Turnover & Morale, Sustainability ServicesTraining & General Experience