After completing her MBA, Dr. Biyu Wu took a job as an intellectual properties (IP) auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Her experience in audit fueled a desire to connect the dots between financial data and translate those numbers into insightful research people could understand.
“My work was very interesting because I found it critical to have properly designed and effective internal controls over the accounting process when working with computerized accounting systems. Working with these systems and clients made me think about what factors influence an auditor’s judgment and how to improve the company’s internal controls over financial reporting,” she said.
The longer she stayed at PwC, the more she saw a greater need for using research to tell the stories of effective internal auditing control. The research she wanted to pursue could potentially positively impact the whole field, beyond her immediate workplace.
“Those questions about improving controls inspired me to pursue my Ph.D.,” said Wu. “I believe my on-the-job experience is why my first co-authors invited me to join a research project as a Ph.D. student. I found it very intuitive. I continue to use my prior work experience in my research and it remains fascinating to me.”
Since joining Nebraska Business in 2015 as an assistant professor of accountancy, she found the School of Accountancy as the perfect environment to make her research matter. She examines topics ranging from the consequences of failing to report internal auditing weaknesses to influences in price formation during initial public offerings (IPOs). With two initial publications in the Journal of Accounting Research and The Accounting Review, her ability to collect and turn data into insightful research shows a willingness to do the hard work.
“Biyu is very precise and does a lot of work in hand-collected data,” said Dr. Tom Omer, professor and Delmar Lienemann Sr. Chair of Accounting. “In her IPO research, not all that data is readily available, so she has to go and collect that before it can be used in her study. It’s very difficult to pull off, but somebody has to keep up the data collection in order to do new studies and she’s one doing it.”
As an editor for five academic journals, Omer helps Wu and others in the college work toward tenure by advising on editorial responses that may not always provide clear direction to a younger researcher. Wu is currently collaborating with Omer on a paper related to why companies go public and another on the impact of IPOs to peer companies.
“I really appreciate Tom’s guidance,” said Wu. “He knows the accounting field and he creates a welcoming environment to ask questions. If I have questions on an econometrics issue I know he’s an expert in that area and can point me in the right direction.”
Wu teaches cost accounting during the fall semesters. Just like her faculty peers at Nebraska help to stretch her strengths, she enjoys challenging students, especially the critical thinking skills they will need to lead the future of business.
“Nebraska students are eager to learn. Regardless if they work in public or private accounting, they will all encounter different issues and they can’t learn everything from school. My goal is to help them apply the logic and methodology they learn in class, so they can take those skills and implement them in their life and careers,” she said.