Starting Your Career at an Accounting Firm: The Role of Personality in Explaining Career Starts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

469 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates whether personality traits affect graduate business students’ decisions to start their career (a) in the accounting profession, and (b) at a Big 4 accounting firm. We analyze survey data from 348 graduate students. Results show that students with lower levels of openness to experience are more likely to seek careers in accounting. Further, results show that students with higher levels of narcissism are more likely to start their careers in a Big 4 firm. Additionally, we show that the effect of narcissism on students’ decision to seek career at a Big 4 is fully mediated by their attitudes towards the Big 4. Compared to students who seek careers at non-Big 4 firms, Big 4 career seekers believe that the Big 4 offer higher salaries, better opportunities for training, experience, and networking, more advancement opportunities, better career prospects, more interesting, challenging, and fulfilling work, more friendly colleagues, a better relationship with supervisors, more job security, and higher prestige.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-131
Number of pages27
JournalAccounting Horizons
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • careers
  • accounting firms
  • personality
  • Dark Triad
  • Theory of Planned Behavior


Dive into the research topics of 'Starting Your Career at an Accounting Firm: The Role of Personality in Explaining Career Starts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this