Tilburg School of Economics and Management
Department of Accountancy
Jan Bouwens is professor of accounting at Tilburg University, The Netherlands and is appointed as a visiting professor at Harvard Business School. He will be working full time at HBS from 1 July 2013- 1 July 2014. He also holds a visting position at the University of Melbourne.
His research focuses on the working of accounting systems in firms. Specifically he studies how accounting practices in firms support or impede cooperation and coordination between units making up a firms. He has done research studying the retail sector, banks, and the transportation sector.
Among his findings in the retail sector were studies on store managers who are doing very well compared to the sales target. These managers had a tendency to mute their efforts by the end of the year so as to prevent their subsequent targets from being too difficult to achieve.
In the banking sector his studies found that lower-level decision makers as compared to higher-level decision makers charge on average a higher interest rate to firms, while it is less likely that the loan they granted needs to be downgraded at some point.
He is currently investigating how accounting systems help to re-direct the emphasis of sales managers from selling tangible products to a mix of tangible and intangible products in a B2B environment. He also examines how organizational structure affects the use of decision-making information in the insurance industry. In another study he examines how people identify with the firm and whether this affects their inclination to manipulate accounting numbers.
Jan Bouwens has advised the Dutch parliament on education, finance and compensation topics. He also advised the Dutch Ministry of Finance and the AFM (Dutch equivalent of the SEC).
He writes editorials for Dutch newspapers on a regular basis. He -for instance- wrote an editorial on why and how a close relation between the auditor and the audited firm may affect auditor independence. This idea was adopted by the national accounting organization in The Netherlands.
He holds his doctorate from Tilburg University and has published in several top academic journals, including Accounting, Organizations and Society, The Accounting Review, and Journal of Accounting Research, and recently in the Journal of Accounting & Economics. In his research he administers survey as well as archival methods to examine how accounting choices affect the synergy potential residing between organizational units making up the firm. He has taught both financial and managerial accounting at Melbourne, Nyenrode, and Tilburg University. On behalf of the Dutch Inter-University Limperg Institute he organizes the Limperg Ph.D. courses in accounting. He serves on the board of Contemporary Accounting Research, and he serves on the editorial board of JMAR.
Jan Bouwens studied finance at Tilburg University. He finished his Ph.D in managerial accounting in 1998.
In 1999 he was appointed at Nyenrode university as a full professor of accounting. He holds a research fellow position at Melbourne University and is research fellow of CentER. As from 1 August 2004 he works as full professor at Tilburg University.
Jan Bouwens teaches in executive programs as well as in degree programs (Msc, MBA). The courses he runs are designed to develop an informed critical attitude towards the basic practices and theories available. This approach helps managers to decide which accounting system is likely to be the best in terms of goal achievement. In many cases this may lead to the conclusion that the use of EVA or Balanced Scorecard is not called for at all.
Room K 813
PO Box 90153
5000 LE Tilburg
Last amended: 06 April 2014