The O*NET: A challenging, useful resource for investigating auditing and accounting work

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The Occupational Information Network database (O*NET), a publicly available employment and occupation resource, contains considerable relevant data on accountants' and auditors' work and employment. Created and maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor, the O*NET is organized into six categories; annual updates derived from multiple sources including job analysts, surveys of employers and employees, and labor economists' employment projections. The extensive resources supporting its creation and maintenance have resulted in statistically defensible sampling methods but considerable variability in the validity of O*NET conceptual constructs and measures. Users of the O*NET include scholars, state employment agencies, employers, career counselors, and job seekers. Although we are unaware of current applications of the O*NET in professional accounting, we suggest ten applications. A small body of accounting research uses the O*NET; we suggest additional future research applications. The limitations of the O*NET include overly broad categories of accounting work, issues related to biases and construct validity, and poor organization and ease-of-use. But for scholars with patience and tenacity, the O*NET provides an important publicly available, longitudinal, and cross-sectional resource for investigating accountancy employment and work.

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Accounting Horizons

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