The European Doctoral Colloquium in Accounting has established itself as an important part of the infrastructure of European academic accounting. Attracting some of the brightest younger minds in the subject area, it provides a facilitative environment for discussing research in progress whilst at the same time enabling the next generation of accounting scholars to establish networks and contacts that transcend their own countries. The Colloquium thereby provides an important stimulus for the creation of a new, more European, accounting research community.

From its earliest days, the European Colloquium has emphasized the importance of scholarly dialogue rather than mere instruction. Special emphasis has been placed on illustrating the diversity of the accounting research community rather than any currently fashionable mainstream. Empirical economic and capital markets research has been discussed alongside organizational and sociological modes of inquiry. Regardless of perspective, the emphasis has been placed on academic quality rather than the prevailing political acceptability of different schools of thought. In a European setting, where there is a diversity of national traditions of inquiry, this approach has been both appropriate and important.

The Colloquia have largely consisted of student presentations followed by round-the-table discussions. Almost invariably the approach has been a facilitative one. Recognizing different national approaches, different supervisory contexts and different intellectual backgrounds, the discussions have tried to respond to what has been presented, suggesting ways in which the research could be developed, elaborated and shaped by different ways of looking at the research questions. In the vast majority of cases, students have gained appreciably from the process and the faculty has enjoyed contributing to it.

Over the years, we sense that the Colloquia have succeeded in creating an active group of younger researchers who are now part of a network of pan-European contacts. A high percentage of past students regularly attend the annual congresses of the European Accounting Association (EAA), as well as the research workshops and doctoral seminars organized by the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM). Many of the new generation of people active in the organization of European research events in accounting emerged from the Doctoral Colloquia. A few former students have become faculty members of the Doctoral Colloquium.

For enabling the events to achieve so much, we are grateful to: the faculty who have contributed their efforts over the years; the accountancy firms, the host universities and the research funds which have provided financial support; and the organizing skills of the people at the EIASM. Thanks to all of them – and to the students who have contributed with their projects, their enthusiasm and their commitment. Together they have created an important means for taking forward a European dimension of accounting inquiry.

John Christensen
University of Southern Denmark