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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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May 7, 2021

Accounting Faculty Update

Resiliency Shown During COVID-19 Pandemic
Accounting Faculty Update
School of Accountancy faculty recap their accomplishments during the past year.
Dr. Herita Akamah, ’07
Assistant Professor

I taught Intermediate Accounting II (ACCT 314) in fall 2020 with about two-thirds of the students opting to attend class online. Teaching both online and in-class students was challenging. My current research projects seek to provide insights into the costs and benefits of several accounting regulatory initiatives. I published “Financial Constraints and Future Tax Outcome Volatility,” in the Journal of Business Finance & Accounting and “The PCAOB Part II Inspection Report Disclosure of Income Tax Deficiencies and Auditor Provided Tax Services,” in the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy. I was invited to speak on a panel session and served as a breakout session leader at the 2021 American Accounting Association FARS Mid-Year Meeting. I continue to serve on the board of Lincoln Literacy Center, using my accounting knowledge to help with financial literacy.

Dr. Arthur Allen
Raymond C. Dein Professor of Accountancy and Associate Professor

I taught Intermediate Accounting I (ACCT 313) and Advanced Accounting (ACCT 804) as a stand-alone course rather than in conjunction with ACCT 404 for the first time in fall 2020. Students were not required to attend class in person. In response, I adapted and greatly enhanced my delivery of online content. Classes included multiple cases covering emerging unsettled issues. One Intermediate Accounting I case covered the accounting treatment of cryptocurrency. My research into nonprofit accounting continues and my most recent publication in the Journal of Government and Nonprofit Accounting investigated how private foundations use accounting information in making grants for capital campaigns. Currently, I am investigating how the presence of nonprofit affiliates affects the quality of accounting information.

Dr. Dirk Black
Assistant Professor

I enjoyed teaching students in Seminar in Financial Accounting (ACCT 803) and Business Valuation and Financial Statement Analysis (ACCT 808) in the MPA program in person in fall 2020. Our students performed admirably while masked and socially distanced. My research papers were accepted for publication in Contemporary Accounting Research, Management Science, and the Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance. My ongoing research examines issues in financial reporting, including income smoothing, analysts’ book value forecasts and other comprehensive income, and associations between regulatory attention and earnings management. I currently serve on the editorial boards of The Accounting Review and Advances in Accounting. I was recognized as an outstanding reviewer by the American Accounting Association’s Financial Accounting and Reporting and Management Accounting Sections at the 2020 Annual Meeting.

Deb Cosgrove, ’88 & ’89
Associate Professor of Practice

In spring 2020, I taught Accounting Information Systems (ACCT 309) and had no desire to teach online. The class is discussion-based, more like a seminar, rather than using PowerPoint and lecture. Transitioning was difficult. Mutual kindness and flexibility was key. In fall 2020, teaching some students physically in class and most students participating through Zoom was more difficult because I never felt like either group received the level of focus and interaction that I pride myself on providing. Spring of 2021 showed improvement! I teach two completely in-person sections and one completely Zoom section. I’m still don’t enjoy teaching online, but I know I can handle it if necessary. I also made some changes I will keep. Snow days are now a thing of the past for students. I heard this last semester, “I’ll be so glad to go back to a classroom. I will never skip class again.”

Dr. Aaron Crabtree
Director of the School of Accountancy, Associate Professor

This year the SOA offered a new, cutting-edge course, Research and Communication in Accounting (ACCT 455) for the first time. I am excited to report that our students enjoyed the course, especially the improvisation part (see pages 4-6). I was recently selected to be the associate dean for graduate programs and executive education, and am currently transitioning to that position. I look forward to serving the college in this new capacity.

Dr. Stuart Dearden
Assistant Professor

I have been teaching senior and master’s level audit courses since 2018. This year I pre-recorded many of my classroom lectures, allowing more class time for developing and reinforcing theoretical and practical auditing skills. Before academia, I enjoyed many busy seasons as an auditor for KPMG, auditing clients in a variety of industries, sizes and regulatory environments. My research focuses on audit quality, auditor bias and audit-office issues. My recent research examined how audit-office exposure to distressed clients can affect going concern opinions and how institutional investors demand higher quality audits even when other monitoring mechanisms are available. In addition, I have been a reviewer for the audit sectional, regional and annual accounting meetings.

Dr. Jimmy Downes
Assistant Professor

I received the college’s Distinguished Teaching Award this year for my instruction in Intermediate Accounting II (ACCT 314) and Advanced Accounting (ACCT 804). My current research examines debt investors’ use of accounting information and how firm investment changed due to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. In the past year, my research was published in Contemporary Accounting Research and Review of Accounting Studies. Read Story

Dr. Amanda Gonzales, ’03
Assistant Professor of Practice

This year, I developed and launched Research and Communication in Accounting (ACCT 455), a new capstone course for our undergraduate students Read Story. Students apply skills in improvisation, professional writing, critical thinking and professional presentations. I am especially thankful for the valuable input from our advisory boards and employer partners. It is exciting to help prepare students to thrive in their future careers. I also presented posters at the University Teaching and Learning Symposiums on leveraging natural talents in team projects and creating inclusive assignments. I continue working with colleagues to examine the influence of work experience in jurisdictions with high corruption norms on company insiders’ corporate misconduct.

Dr. Ling Lin Harris
Assistant Professor

In fall 2020, I taught Financial Accounting (ACCT 809) for our MBA@Nebraska program for the second time. Though the pandemic created some challenges, it also provided opportunities for creativity in restructuring the course. I utilized various technologies to facilitate instructor-student and student-student interactions. Two of my papers were accepted for publication - “Does Information about Gender Pay Matter to Investors? An Experimental Investigation,” is online at Accounting, Organizations and Society and “Recruiting Dark Personalities for Earnings Management” is forthcoming at the Journal of Business Ethics. I currently serve on the SOA Workshop Committee, the Undergraduate Grade Appeals Committee and the CoB Inclusive Excellence Advisory Board. I also was a discussant at the American Accounting Association’s ABO sectional meeting.

Dr. Steven Hegemann, ’97 & ’99
Assistant Professor of Practice

I have been teaching Introductory Accounting I (ACCT 201) for the last few years. This is the first experience most students have with accounting. I leverage my experience – growing up in small town Nebraska, entering UNL as a non-traditional student after serving in the Army, completing my BSBA and MPA at UNL, and working as an auditor and forensic accounting consultant in New York City for over 15 years – to challenge students’ perceptions about what an accountant is and does. This year, I was nominated for the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Tony Kang
Deloitte Haskins & Sells Chair and Associate Professor
I currently teach Financial Accounting (GRBA 809) and Capital Market Research Seminar (ACCT 991) to MBA and Ph.D. students. My main research interests are international capital markets and corporate governance. I am serving on several committees at the school, college and university. Externally, I am on the editorial board of the Contemporary Accounting Research and the Journal of International Financial Management and Accounting.

Dr. Tom Kubick, ’05, ’08 & ’11
Ellsworth L. Fulk Chair of Accountancy and Associate Professor

I taught undergraduate tax principles, a graduate course in corporate taxation, and a Ph.D. seminar in empirical tax research. I continue to research topics in the areas of financial accounting, incentives, governance, and taxation. My papers have appeared or have been accepted for publication in The Accounting Review, Review of Accounting Studies, National Tax Journal, Financial Management, Journal of Management Accounting Research, Journal of the American Taxation Association and Contemporary Accounting Research. I also started co-authoring an undergraduate tax textbook titled, “Principles of Taxation for Business and Investment Planning,” and I’m serving on the editorial boards of Accounting Horizons, Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, and Journal of International Accounting Research.

Kathryn Maresh, J.D., ’85
Assistant Professor of Practice, Executive in Residence

This year, I have been busy incorporating the tax provisions in the CARES Act and related legislation in my tax courses. Students had an opportunity to research and present on these recent changes and discuss policy implications. In January, I presented on the new tax changes for the UNL Office of Admissions and in March, I was interviewed for a Channel 10/11 TV News tax segment. I serve as faculty advisor for the UNL tax competition team and they won first place at the regional Deloitte FanTAXtic case competition and placed second at the national competition. This was the inaugural year of the UNL chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), and I am faculty advisor. It has been exciting to work with the students as they started and grew the membership. Externally, I serve on the board of the Great Plains Tax Institute and the Nebraska Society of CPA’s Continuing Education Committee.

Dr. Sam Melessa
Assistant Professor

This year I am teaching Intermediate Accounting I (ACCT 313) to junior-level accounting and finance students. This is my first experience teaching primarily accounting majors and it has been very enjoyable, despite the hurdles due to the pandemic. This year my research efforts include a new project with Dirk Black, assistant professor, and Mike Yuan, Ph.D. student, on how the adoption of the new revenue recognition standard affected earnings management decisions and a project solicited by the Journal of Financial Reporting on the use of two-step research designs in accounting.

Jina Morris, ’94 & ’98
MPA Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Practice
My days are filled with Zoom meetings. Besides answering questions about homework or topics in Introductory Accounting II (ACCT 202), many students reached out about the accounting major. We have many great accounting students enrolled and many switching over! I also keep busy meeting with MPA students with various types of admission, and summer and fall enrollment questions. We are also working on providing the majority of our MPA students with graduate assistantships in college. It is great to see them helping out and benefiting from an assistantship.

Dr. Thomas Omer
Professor, Delmar Lienemann Sr. Chair of Accounting, Ph.D. Coordinator and Professor

I taught Accounting and Data Analytics (ACCT 850), its lab, Corporate Taxation (ACCT 813), and the Audit Research Seminar for Ph.D. students in accountancy. I received the CoB Distinguished Research Award for tenured faculty. For SOA, I also served as personnel chair, Ph.D. program director and graduate director. Additionally, I serve on the CoB committees for promotion and tenure as chair, research and professorship review, and Ph.D. programs. My research focuses on corporate taxation, capital and organizational structure choices, factors influencing audit and non-audit fees, and earnings quality. I serve as an editor for four journals – Contemporary Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting Auditing and Finance, The International Journal of Accounting and Journal of International Accounting Research. I recently published or had accepted articles in The Journal of the American Taxation Association, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, and the Journal of Accounting Auditing and Finance.

Dr. Tom Omer Ranked #1 (tied)
Research Producer in the World
by BYU Accounting Research Productivity Ranking (May 4, 2021)

Dr. Kelli Saunders
Assistant Professor

Rolling with the punches this fall resulted in some fun discoveries that I am excited to carry forward to future semesters. In undergraduate Auditing (ACCT 410), students submitted their group projects, a comprehensive case in video format rather than the traditional written project. Not only did this provide an opportunity to develop presentation skills, but I observed that many of our students excel in combining professionalism and creativity. Students enrolled in Seminar in Auditing (ACCT 831) chose topics and I assisted them in planning related curriculum. They led classroom discussions and activities, which proved to be both informative and engaging. Those students graduate fully prepared to instruct 1.5 hours CPE on their chosen topics. The new year started off positively for my co-authors and me when our research paper “Re-examining the Outcome Effect: Are Auditors Penalized for Exercising Professional Skepticism?” was named Best Behavioral Paper at the American Accounting Association Auditing Section Midyear Meeting.

Dr. Marjorie Shelley
BKD, LLP Professor of Accountancy

My recent courses include Accounting and Data Analytics (ACCT 850), Seminar in Managerial Accounting (ACCT 858), and Contemporary Research Methods (ACCT 916), a first-year Ph.D. seminar. Recent publications are in Management Science and Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory. My research work in progress relates to the effect on financial reporting quality of appointing a lead independent director to the board of directors. Recent service includes the University Faculty Senate and the School of Accountancy’s Personnel and Ph.D. Committees. A significant amount of my time this past year was spent redesigning the data analytics course and developing new materials to increase students’ uptake of visualization skills.

Dr. Todd Thornock
Assistant Professor

I teach Introductory Accounting I (ACCT 201H) to the Honors Academy and Managerial Accounting (ACCT 308) and still love it! My research was published in the Journal of Management Accounting Research with various additional projects (10) being considered for publication at top journals. I served as a reviewer for six journals this past year, including two of our top journals – Contemporary Accounting Research and The Accounting Review. I continue to work with our excellent Ph.D. students, learning much from them and hopefully teaching much to them.

Jill Trucke, ’99 & ’00
Assistant Professor of Practice

This past year had many changes for all of us but the courses I taught stayed the same and include Accounting for Business Decisions (ACCT 200) for business minors, Using Accounting Information (ACCT 301) for non-accounting majors and an accounting course for the Raikes School of Computer Science and Management. However, the format was different for each course: 100% online, 100% in person, or a blend of online and in-person. The learning objectives remained the same but there were new skills gained in technology, flexibility and empathy by students and me. We hosted two virtual Professional Development Days for accounting majors in the fall. Students had the opportunity to meet in small groups with professionals on different topics. Students also heard how to have a successful interview and internship from a panel of recruiters. I am currently planning our fourth annual Discover Accounting Pre-College Program for June 2-4, 2021.

Dr. Biyu Wu
Assistant Professor

I teach Managerial Accounting (ACCT 308) and Intermediate Accounting I (ACCT 313). My main research interests include initial public offerings (IPOs), financial reporting quality, securities regulation and auditing. My current research focuses on the consequences of poor financial reporting quality to IPO firms and their intermediaries, the effect of significant IPO firms on industry incumbents and the effect of market competition on firms’ financial reporting quality. In the last year, my research was published in Management Science. In 2020, I presented my research at the American Accounting Association (AAA) Annual Meeting and attended the Contemporary Accounting Research Conference and the PCAOB Conference on Auditing and Capital Markets. I also volunteered as a referee for journals and serve as a discussant at the AAA meetings.