The PhD specialization in Accounting focuses on issues related to the use of accounting information by various users (i.e., investors, financial analysts), the effect of regulations and of changes in accounting practices and theory. These include financial reporting and disclosure, management accounting and control systems, and auditing.
The program emphasizes a firm theoretical base of economics designed to complement the student's practical training. Knowledge of mathematics, probability, statistics, economics, and finance are essential for success and are acquired through formal coursework during the first and second years of the program. The research orientation lends itself to a variety of research methods, which include empirical, and theoretical approaches as well as to field studies. Students may adopt specific approaches depending on their research interests. Integration of accounting with related disciplines such as finance, economics, and others is highly encouraged.
Current Area Research Topics
- Financial disclosure strategies of firms and their effects
- Internal controls over financial reporting
- Principle-based versus rule-based accounting
- International financial reporting standards
- Market reactions to financial analyst forecasts
- Value relevance of accounting information
- Financial reporting fraud
- Environmental accounting
- Real estate accounting
- Debt contracting and accounting information
- Audit quality
Expertise in research methodology is acquired through seminars and in direct collaboration with faculty members on current research endeavours. Twelve graduate level courses usually constitute the set of requirements.
- Steve Fortin
- Dongyoung Lee
- Seda Oz
- Jorien Pruijssers
- MaryJane Rabier
- Desmond Tsang
- Jingjing Zhang
- See full Faculty list
- Accounting Research: An Overview
- Accounting Research: Financial Reporting and Capital Markets
- Governance and Financial Accounting
- Management Accounting Theory and Managerial Tax
- Introduction to Financial Economics
- Corporate Finance
Typical Support Fields
- Behavioral Science
- Decision Theory
- Information Systems
SSHRC, Canadian Academic Accounting Association, American Accounting Association
Current research projects of Accounting faculty members are described below:
Professor Lee is currently working on the following research topics:
- Disclosure: This research focuses on the role of top management and firm employees in corporate disclosure decisions, including management forecasts and earnings quality.
- Analysts: This research investigates the impact of macroeconomic factors on analysts’ coverage decisions and the properties of analysts' forecasts.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: This research examines the interaction between corporate social performance and firm managers’ various decisions, such as disclosure and innovation.
- International Business: This research focuses on international business issues, such as the impact of foreign investors in equity markets and the role of business groups in labor markets.
Professor Rabier is currently working on the following research topics:
- The role of accounting information in merger pricing: This project investigates the relative valuation roles of earnings and book value in target pricing. The research suggests that the role of earnings and book value in valuing a target depends on anticipated adaptation. This research project also examines post-merger consequences when acquirers do not vary weight on earnings and book value according to theoretical predictions.
- Acquisition motives and variation in acquisition performance: This project examines how acquisition motives affect the distribution of merger performance. MaryJane uses SEC filings, conference calls and press releases to capture acquisition motives. This research suggests that approaches that emphasize average outcomes for acquirers and use industry classifications to capture acquisition motives may be incomplete.
- Strategic alliances and earnings comovements: This project examines whether strategic alliances create earnings commonalities between partner firms and whether these commonalities have capital market implications.
- Optimistic tone and corporate general counsels: This project examines a mechanism that may affect the use and credibility of optimistic language during earnings conference calls—the presence of a general counsel (GC) in top management.
Professor Tsang conducts research in both accounting and real estate, his current research themes include:
- Financial Reporting Fraud: The research looks into the fraud detection of different external and internal stakeholders before the public revelation of fraud. In the most recent project, we examine how debt-holders respond to the potential revelation of fraud by increasing their credit spreads. We show only some debt-holders would have the ability to detect fraud, while others react contemporaneously with the rest of the market. We seek to provide explanation of this phenomenon.
- Location Impact on corporate reporting decisions: The current projects look into (1) how the desirability and livability of a location can motivate managers to engage in earnings management and (2) how real estate transparency and liquidity affect the financial reporting decisions with regard to investment properties.
- Real Estate Investment Trusts: This line of research focuses on the unique characteristics in Real Estate Investment Trusts. The recent projects try to explain how heavy institutional investor involvement in the REIT industry has changed the impact of sentiment on asset pricing, and on how macroeconomic fundamentals can exert differential impact to the real estate securities as compared to the rest of the capital market.
Professor Zhang is working on the following three themes:
- Debt contracting: It is well known that lenders are using companies’ financial statements to make lending decisions and to monitor their loans. Prior studies examining lenders’ demand for conservative accounting only focus on conservatism reflected on the income statement in a given period. I have a project focusing on balance sheet and studying how understatement of net assets affects debt contract terms.
- Management traits: I study the effect of management on firm performance. In one project, using CEOs’ hobby of flying airplanes to proxy for their personality trait of adventure and novelty seeking, I study how this trait affects corporate innovation.
- Corporate governance: I am examining the reputational impact of financial scandals for top executives on their outside directorship.