2. Writing a thesis starts with research. Take a look at the primary sources you have to work with and get an idea of the angle you want to take with your paper: this will be reflected in your thesis. Since research will continue throughout the process of your paper or project, you may end up going in a different direction or being convinced your stance at the beginning was wrong. Do not be afraid to change your thesis. Topic and Road Map
3. The thesis tells the reader what you are planning to argue and how you are going to argue it. It not only gives a subject but makes the portion of the subject you will be arguing evident. The thesis lays out how you are going to argue your stance. Do not include your whole paper in the thesis, just the topic you will be covering and the way you will be approaching the subject. Your stance must be evident by reading the thesis. JEFFREY J. BURKS, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME
ACITO, A. A., BURKS, J. J., JOHNSON, W. B.
Materiality Decisions and the Correction of Accounting Errors (Forthcoming)
The Accounting Review, 84(3), May 2009
We test conjectures about the determinants of materiality judgments by examining a financial reporting choice made by firms that depends on an underlying materiality assessment. Specifically, from late 2004 to mid 2006, over 250 firms were required to correct errors in their accounting for operating leases. The method chosen to correct the errors reflects the assessed materiality of the errors, as restatements are required to correct material errors while catch-up adjustments can be used to correct immaterial errors. We test the role of materiality considerations outlined in authoritative guidance as well as factors outside the guidance in explaining the correction method chosen. We find that quantitative and qualitative materiality considerations cited in authoritative guidance explain a large portion of the variation in firms' error correction decisions. We also find that firms base their decisions on those of other firms.
BURKS, J. J.
Disciplinary Measures in Response to Restatements After Sarbanes-Oxley
Journal of Accounting and Public Policy (Forthcoming)
This study examines whether boards discipline CEOs and CFOs more severely for accounting restatements after passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The disciplinary actions I focus on are job termination and reductions in bonus payouts. Boards have incentive to take the highly visible action of terminating a manager to satisfy demands by outsiders for more vigilant corporate governance after SOX. However, terminating an executive entails the risk of hiring an inferior replacement and other costs. Imposing these costs on the firm and shareholders may not be justified after SOX because the severity of the restatements declines significantly. Despite the pressure on boards to appear vigilant, I find that when disciplining CEOs after SOX, boards gravitate away from termination and toward bonus penalties, a development commensurate with the less severe restatements of the post-SOX period. In contrast, boards appear to strengthen disciplinary action against CFOs after SOX despite the decline in restatement severity.
PETER D. EASTON, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME
EASTON, P., SOMMERS, G.
Effect of Analysts' Optimism on Estimates of the Expected Rate of Return Implied by Earnings Forecasts
Journal of Accounting Research, 45 Vol. 5, December 2007, p. 983-1016, 2007
Recent literature has used analysts' earnings forecasts, which are known to be optimistic, to estimate implied expected rates of return; yielding upwardly biased estimates. We estimate that the bias, computed as...