Article

The expert systems life cycle in AIS research: What does it mean for future AIS research?

Accounting information systems (AIS) is the intersection of the accounting domains and the computer science and information systems domains. Periodically, new technology emerges that generates a new AIS research to explore the application of that technology to the accounting domains. AIS researchers compete with researchers in information systems, computer science, electrical engineering, plus other technology-related disciplines. AIS researchers are also frequently competing with the organizations (e.g., accounting firms) that have resources that far exceed academic resources. This paper explores the life cycle of expert systems research by accounting researchers to provide general insights into the roles of accounting researchers in technology domains. From 1980 through 2011, 233 accounting-related expert systems papers were published. Those publications generally transitioned through the industry life cycle stages. The peak years were the early 1990s. Although most of the expert system publications appeared in AIS-oriented publications, by the 2005-2011 timeframe, a little more than 50% appeared in non-system journals. There were 352 unique authors involved in writing the 233 articles. Interestingly, 14 (4%) authors wrote 30% of the papers and 303 (86%) authors wrote just one paper. In the practice community, Brown (1991) listed 43 expert systems in use or under development at the Big 6, all of which have disappeared.

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