Accounting as a professional practice plays a profound, unavoidable, and often unnoticed role in the lives of all citizens. As members of the Public Interest Section of the American Accounting Association, we explicitly explore the myriad social roles of accounting and promote its use to improve the general well-being. In this forum, to say accounting matters is to state the obvious and uncontested. Accounting's important social role imposes responsibilities on those defining and studying that role; as academics we are obligated to promote the highest standards in our research on accounting practice and its social implications. However, the dominant accounting research that explores and attempts to underlay accounting practice does not consistently adhere to the basic precepts of good scientific research practice. To serve the public interest, researchers in accounting can and must do more than award and distribute status via publication in journals whose prestige is high but whose requirements fail to meet scientific standards of reproducibility. We look first at the importance of accounting's role in society. Then we evaluate existing research practices in accounting and find them inadequate to the demands of scientific standards. We provide examples accounting academics could adopt from related disciplines in pursuit of more reliable research findings.

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