Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Anne Kelly


The two main career paths within public accounting are auditing and tax accounting. Auditors render an opinion as to whether a client’s financial statements are fairly presented, while tax accountants provide tax-planning services and prepare tax returns. This study examines the personality traits and non-accounting skill sets of practicing auditors and tax accountants to determine whether there are significant differences between the types of people working in each field. Prior research has analyzed the personality and skill sets of accountants in relation to marketing professionals or financial analysts, but little research has compared the two types of public accountants directly. This behavioral study uses the Holland Code to assess participants’ responses in six dimensions: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. Using a sample of 84 practicing public accountants, the results reveal the qualities important to each field. The results are useful to incoming accounting professionals who want to assess their strengths and pick the route best suited to their personality and skill sets.

Included in

Accounting Commons