The Center for Audit Quality and the American Accounting Association have issued a request for proposals for a joint program to facilitate the ability of accounting and auditing academics to get access to audit firm personnel to participate in their research projects.

The CAQ and the AAA Auditing Section established the program in 2012 to generate research on issues that are relevant to audit practice, while providing doctoral students and those professors seeking tenure with access to audit firm personnel to complete the research study protocols (see Program Aims to Give Academic Researchers More Access to Auditors).

“This joint venture with the AAA Auditing Section has helped to bridge a gap between accounting and auditing researchers and the profession,” said CAQ executive director Cindy Fornelli in a statement. “We are excited to continue this valuable program, which aims to encourage accounting scholars to focus their interests on topics that are relevant to the public company auditing profession.”

The RFP for the Access to Audit Personnel program seeks proposals submitted by doctoral students and tenure-track faculty. A committee of senior academics and audit practitioners will evaluate the proposals based on factors such as ability to address important research questions that are relevant to practice, contribution to academic literature, and methodological soundness.

“This innovative program provides an important mechanism for accounting scholars to collect data from professionals, thereby enabling the completion of timely and critical research related to the judgments and decisions made by audit professionals at the largest public company auditing firms,” said AAA Auditing Section president Jay Thibodeau. “With the CAQ serving as the catalyst, the program has already had a significant effect on the academic community and the auditing profession. We thank the CAQ and its member firms for their continued support of this valuable program.”

Earlier this year, four projects received the go-ahead from the program, entailing the participation of nearly 580 audit personnel. The estimated level of effort for the research awards is over 355 hours. The number of participants requested in these projects ranges from 120 to 160 audit firm personnel. The personnel requested includes all levels, from audit seniors (those with three to five years of experience) to audit partners. Protocols were administered through various formats: in-person at firm training sessions, online, or hard copy distributed directly to participants. The eight CAQ Governing Board firms worked closely with CAQ staff to ensure successful implementation of these projects.

Unlike the CAQ’s other research grant program, where academic scholars are seeking funds to develop a research topic, the applicants in this program must submit a data collection protocol that is ready to be fielded. The expectation is that the data collection will be completed within five months of award, before the start of the profession’s “busy season.”

The RFP is available on the CAQ’s Web site. Proposals may be submitted using a new online application process. The deadline for submitting a proposal is Feb. 2, 2015.

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