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PricewaterhouseCoopers Awards Bentley College Two Grants for Auditing and Tax Research

May 7, 2008

For the second consecutive year, Bentley College researchers were awarded two grants from PricewaterhouseCoopers as part of its international PwC INQuires program, established to assist faculty and PhD students seeking to increase the knowledge base that contributes to the practice of auditing and tax.

Jean Bedard, Timothy B. Harbert Professor of Accountancy; Associate Professor of Accountancy Christine Earley; and PhD student Kim Westermann, received a grant for their research entitled "Apprenticeship in Professional Services Firms: Then and Now."

As a premise to the project, Bedard explains, "In the auditing profession, incoming professionals have traditionally acquired knowledge from more senior individuals through an apprenticeship model. However, there is some evidence of a shift away from this model in the 1990s, which may be due to changes in training, technology and audit methodology."

The team's current research will solicit the views of different generations of audit partners (current and recently retired) on whether the apprenticeship model of professional development has changed, and if so, whether this model should be brought back into their firms' organizational cultures.

A second grant was awarded to Assistant Professor of Accountancy Tracy Noga for the project, "Exploring the Implications of Specific Book-Tax Difference Components as Related to a Company's Financial Health."  Noga's co-investigator is Anne Jones of the University of Massachusetts-Boston. 

Noga's research is an extension of her previous findings that differences in book income (recorded in accordance with financial accounting rules) and taxable income (recorded in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code) are indicators of certain financial characteristics of a company.

"Firms with large book-tax differences are more likely to go bankrupt in the following three years," Noga says. "With our current research, we aim to determine specifically what book-tax differences are likely to increase the probability of bankruptcy or be an indicator of bankruptcy."

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit

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