Digitalization in accounting-Warmly embraced or coldly ignored?

M. Jans, B. Aysolmaz*, M. Corten, A. Joshi, M. Peteghem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PurposeThe Accounting Information Systems (AIS) research field emerged around 30 years ago as a subfield of accounting but is at risk to develop further as an isolated discipline. However, given the importance of digitalization and its relevance for accounting, an amalgamation of the parent research field of accounting and the subfield of accounting information systems is pivotal for continuing relevant research that is of high quality. This study empirically investigates the distance between AIS research that is included in accounting literature and AIS research that prevails in dedicated AIS research outlets.Design/methodology/approachTo understand which topics define AIS research, all articles published in the two leading AIS journals since 2000 were analyzed. Based on this topical inventory, all AIS studies that were published in the top 16 accounting journals, also since 2000, are identified and categorized in terms of topic, subtopic and research methodology. Next, AIS studies published in the general accounting field and AIS studies published in the AIS field were compared in terms of topics and research methodology to gain insights into the distance between the two fields.FindingsThe coverage of AIS topics in accounting journals is, to no small extent, concentrated around the topics "information disclosure ", "network technologies " and "audit and control ". Other AIS topics remain underrepresented. A possible explanation might be the focus on archival studies in accounting outlets, but other elements might play a role. The findings suggest that there is only a partial overlap between the parent accounting research field and the AIS subfield, in terms of both topic and research methodology diversity. These findings suggest a considerable distance between both fields, which might hold detrimental consequences in the long run, if no corrective actions are taken.Originality/valueThis is the first in-depth investigation of the distance between the AIS research field and its parent field of accounting. This study helped develop an AIS classification scheme, which can be used in other research endeavors. This study creates awareness of the divergence between the general accounting research field and the AIS subfield. Given the latter's relevance to the accounting profession, isolation or deterioration of the AIS research must be avoided. Some actionable suggestions are provided in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-85
Number of pages25
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number9
Early online date1 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Accounting information systems
  • Accounting research field
  • Literature review
  • Digitalization
  • Technology

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