Accounting: Academic and professional accounting journals

Academic and professional accounting journals: characteristics

What are they, and how do they differ?

Academic journals

Go to the What are academic sources tab in this guide to learn about the characteristics of academic articles, then enhance your understanding by viewing the following examples from academic journals in the Business Source Complete database:

Article from the Journal of Accounting, Auditing & Finance

Article from Accounting Horizons

Professional journals

  • Include journals published by professional accounting bodies, e.g.  CPA Australia, Chartered Accountants
  • Focus on current issues and news relevant to practicing accountants
  • Adopt a magazine format,  usually including images and advertising
  • Articles are relatively short (1-2 pages)  and typically do not include references

Some examples of professional journal articles, from the Business Source Complete database:

Article from Accounting Today (US professional journal)

Article from CA Magazine (Journal of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada)

Local examples of professional journals:

Search on Business Source Complete to identify relevant articles. Full text articles are available in print, for details click the following link:

Article from Acuity (journal of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand)

Articles from the journal   Intheblack  the journal of CPA Australia are only available in print,
however abstracts of these articles are available on ProQuest - search ProQuest

Searching for academic and professional journal articles

Click the Searching effectively tab above, where you can learn about how to plan a journal database search, and then try the interactive tutorial introducing Business Source Complete.

Then, to actually search Business Source Complete, click the Databases tab (above).

Try other potentially relevant databases listed under the Databases tab, notably ProQuest. Their search screens differ slightly from Business Source Complete, but the same principles of searching apply.

Note that the Source type section of each database will allow you to limit your search results to particular types of journals.

In Business Source Complete, professional journals can be found under Trade Publications or Magazines, and in ProQuest under Trade Journals or Magazines.

In ProQuest academic articles are referred to as Scholarly Journals.

Business Source Complete                                   Proquest


Steps for reading an academic article

Academic articles are typically long and detailed. Use this strategy fo efficiently navigate them.

  1. The Abstract is a summary of the article. From it you can quickly get an idea about whether it is relevant to your research. If it seems promising, read the Introduction section, or opening paragraphs.
  2. Don't bother reading the main part of the article in any detail, but note the section headings for an overview of the content. In particular at first year undergraduate level, it is not usually necessary to read the methodology and detailed technical sections.
  3. When you arrive at the Conclusion or final section of the article, read it in detail. This is where the content and arguments of the article should be drawn together.
  4. If you need more detail on a particular aspect, go to the relevant part in the main body of the article.