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Accounting Newsletter Fall 2023

Price College of Business | John T. Steed School of Accounting | Fall 2023 Newsletter
Karen Hennes

Greetings to all of our friends of the Steed School of Accounting. Here on campus, we are in the last few weeks of the fall semester and final exams are looming. This fall has been busy but productive for the Steed School. We are working diligently to find new ways to promote accounting opportunities to students, and we are pleased to see enrollment tick up accordingly. Our faculty are innovating online and in the classroom while continuing to succeed in research, and our students and alumni continue racking up career successes with key roles in business and society. Enjoy this semester’s newsletter as we highlight some of our amazing faculty, students and alumni.

I wish you all the best as we wrap up 2023.


Karen Hennes

Director of the John T. Steed School of Accounting
Associate Professor and W. K. Newton Chair of Accounting


Research Survey

We are excited to extend an invitation to you from OU Instructor of Accounting Hayden Deberry in collaboration with the Illinois CPA Society and the Center for Accounting Transformation. They are conducting research on the pursuit of the CPA credential and are eager to gather insights from accounting students and professionals under 35 years of age.

Whether survey participants have chosen the CPA path or not, their perspective is invaluable and will help shape the understanding of the decision-making process, current perceptions, and the perceived value of the CPA credential. Thank you in advance for your participation.

Are you under 35?  Complete the brief survey at the link below. 
Are you over 35? Help broaden the reach by sharing the survey link below with your qualified network.

Alumni Survey

Student Outreach Boosts Growth in Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

a faculty member volunteers at a table with accounting degree information.

Academic year 2023-2024 has marked across-the-board growth in the Steed School of Accounting’s undergraduate and graduate programs. In the Master of Accountancy program, Fall 2023 enrollment includes 119 Residential students and 128 Online students. When compared to the prior year, total graduate enrollment has increased by 4 percent. At the undergraduate level, Fall 2023 enrollment includes 558 declared accounting majors—a 4 percent increase over the prior year. Given the national concerns about the accounting pipeline, we are working hard to show students the wide range of opportunities available in accounting. Student interest and retention continue to benefit from our outreach initiatives, which include career fairs, major information sessions, mentorship opportunities, professional development programs and accounting homework parties.

Scholarships Awarded to Students

a group of students walking down the stairs to Adams Hall.

Over $450,000 in scholarships were awarded to 130 undergraduate and graduate accounting students for the 2023-2024 academic year. Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to all of our sponsors. See a full list of our 2023-2024 accounting awards and recipients.

These scholarships provide an important source of financial support and help us attract and retain the best students. We are grateful to the many generous individuals, families and firms who make these scholarships possible. You can donate to our general scholarship fund to help future students at the OU Foundation website or by contacting Jared McDuffey, executive director of advancement at Price College’s Office of Advancement, at (405) 325-6723 or

Financial Accounting Part of Inaugural Pathways to Price Summer Program

a group of students participating in the Pathways to Price program sitting at desks in a classroom

The Pathways to Price program—an initiative of the Center for Student Success—exists to increase the number and success of underrepresented students who choose to major in business. The program was expanded to include a residential experience in 2023 and featured a dedicated section of Fundamental Financial Accounting (ACCT 2113) in July. In response to ACCT 2113 being chosen as a pilot course for the program, SOA faculty member and Pathways course instructor Jonathan Kern states, “This foundational course, a cornerstone of Price's curriculum, has not only equipped our students with the bedrock of accounting principles but has kindled a spark of curiosity for the wider world of business.” Outside of the classroom, students in this program can build community with their peers through extracurricular activities. According to Kern, “From bowling and laser tag at HeyDay to the thrilling white-water rafting escapade at River Sport, these adventures fostered more than camaraderie; they cultivated a holistic approach to education.” The program features scholarships, corporate-sponsored internships and career readiness opportunities to ensure students’ success at OU and in their future careers.

Study Abroad Offers Intersection of Classroom and Cultural Experience

a group of students sitting at desks in a classroom in Arezzo, Italy.

During a three-week period in Summer 2023, a cohort of thirty Price College students joined SOA faculty member Joe Dulin to study Managerial Accounting in Arezzo, Italy. In addition to studying accounting, students had the opportunity to visit Italian companies and explore Italian art and culture. Libby Barnes, accounting major and Study Abroad participant, notes that sharing the unique cultural journey with her professor and peers was very memorable. In her words, “Getting to know your professor as a person makes learning in the classroom feel more valuable. [Professor Dulin’s] lessons held greater importance to me and led me to strive to a higher level of academic achievement.”


Kurtas Edmonds and Ella Little Awarded PCAOB Scholarships

Kurtas Edmonds and Ella Little

Accounting students Kurtas Edmonds and Ella Little were recently named by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board as 2023-2024 PCAOB Scholars and will each receive a $10,000 scholarship. The PCAOB aims to strengthen investor protection by attracting talented and diverse individuals to the accounting and auditing profession. 

Price College Outstanding Senior

Kayla Nguyen with Dean of Students David Surratt (left) and SOA faculty member Joe Dulin (right) at the campus-wide ceremony in November to recognize recipients.

Congratulations to Kayla Nguyen, B.B.A./M.Acc. student from McKinney, Texas, for being named the overall Outstanding Senior from Price College. Recipients are chosen based on their exceptional achievements in scholarship, honors, awards, leadership and service. Pictured here is Nguyen with Dean of Students David Surratt (left) and SOA faculty member Joe Dulin (right) at the campus-wide ceremony in November to recognize recipients. 

Jessica Cook and Ashley Schwarz Selected to Participate in Global Programs

Jessica Cook and Ashley Schwarz

Accounting students Jessica Cook and Ashley Schwarz were selected to attend global leadership programs hosted by KPMG this past summer. Cook participated in KPMG’s Global Internship Program in Aberdeen, Scotland in July, while Schwarz participated in KPMG’s Global Advantage Program in Brussels, Belgium in June. Both programs offer professional training and leadership development opportunities.

When asked about her favorite aspect of the internship program, Cook pinpoints “the opportunity to work in another country without having to worry about lodging or transportation (as it was covered by the firm). Aberdeen was one of the most culturally diverse places I have been to in many years, so it was great to collaborate with people with very different backgrounds from myself.” Cook worked 35 hours per week (the norm in the U.K.) and was able to explore other places in Scotland on the weekends. 

Congratulations to OSCPA Scholarship Recipients

Logo - OSCPA Oklahoma Society of CPAs

The Oklahoma Society of CPAs Educational Foundation awarded over $40,000 in scholarships to accounting students in Oklahoma, with six of these scholarships being awarded to Steed School of Accounting Students. Kurtas Edmonds received the Oklahoma City Chapter Scholarship. The following students received OSCPA General Scholarships: Edison Chen, Ashlyn Guerrieri, Nike Knight, Zayna Siddiqui and Andrew Truong.

Andrew Truong Awarded Volunteerism Scholarship

Andrew Truong

Andrew Truong, B.B.A./M.Acc. student, was chosen as the recipient of the 2023-2024 Jim Small Volunteerism Scholarship. The scholarship is sponsored by the Tulsa Chapter of the OSCPA. Truong cites his service with Habitat for Humanity in Tulsa and Norman, Price College Service Day, homeless shelters and The Big Event as particularly meaningful outreach activities.

Mentorship Program Kicks Off Semester with Trivia

a group of people sitting at tables in a meeting

The Board of Advisors Accounting Mentorship Program kicked off this year’s program with a TV-style quiz show competition (with Accounting being the first category completed!) and networking session. There are approximately 100 students and 65 mentors participating in the mentorship program this year. Students range from freshmen to graduate level, and many are returning participants, which is a testament to the program’s value. As the program grows, we welcome new alumni mentors. To express interest in being a possible mentor in future years, please complete the form here

Beta Alpha Psi Update

Nike Knight and faculty advisor Ashley Davis attending at the BAP national meeting in Las Vegas, NV.

The BAP national meeting was held in July in Las Vegas, with BAP president Nike Knight and faculty advisor Ashley Davis (pictured right and left, respectively) attending. This fall semester, BAP events have been well attended and have focused on a variety of topics, including one meeting devoted to non-profit accounting issues. BAP is led by fall 2023 officers Nike Knight, president; Jessica Cook, vice-president; Brianna Castro, treasurer; Kayla Nguyen, philanthropy chair; and Derek Dicketts, social chair.

Accounting Majors Selected for JCPenney Leadership Program

The 2023 JCPenney Leadership Program Associates.

Congratulations to the following accounting majors who were selected for the 2023 cohort of JCPLP: Madison Barlow, Cara Burwell, Caitlin Cotteleer, Brett Gilbert, Selma Kocaeli, Madison Lake, Ashley Newsom, Felicity Seaton, Natalie Smith, Courtney Treadwell, Wesley Whitworth, Evangelos Moros, Peyton Prideaux and Daisy Solorzano.

Steed SOA Welcomes New Ph.D. Students

Campbell Thomasson and Andrew Zilles.

This fall, the Ph.D. program welcomed two Ph.D. students, Campbell Thomasson and Andrew Zilles.

Thomasson received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics and a master’s degree in accounting from Baylor University. Prior to beginning the Ph.D. program, he worked as a tax compliance senior for EY and as an associate financial planner at Cain Watters & Associates. Thomasson’s research interests include tax and financial reporting, tax compliance and tax policy. In his free time, Thomasson enjoys spending time with his wife, Melanie, and dog, Luka, as well as running, reading history books, going to the movies and playing the saxophone.

Zilles received bachelor’s degrees in accounting and economics and a master’s degree in accounting from Utah State University. Prior to joining the Ph.D. program, he worked in various industry accounting positions for public and private companies. His research interests include tax and financial archival research. In his free time, Zilles enjoys running, hiking, biking, playing racquetball and pickleball and sitting on the couch instead of doing any of those things.

Ph.D. Student Accomplishments

Ph.D. student Mengyang Davila stands at a podium in front of a room of people at the PCAOB conference.

Steed SOA maintains an active Ph.D. program with 13 full-time students in Fall 2023. In October, Ph.D. student Mengyang Davila (pictured) presented research co-authored with SOA faculty member Chenxi Lin and Brant Christensen of BYU at the PCAOB Conference on Auditing and Capital Markets. Also in October, Ph.D. students Brady Hearing and Lucas Swider presented and discussed research at the AAA’s Accounting Behavior and Organizations Research Conference.

Research by Yue (Mark) Ma and co-author Gabriele Lattanzio entitled “Cybersecurity Risk and Corporate Innovation” was recently published in the Journal of Corporate Finance. The study presents a new measure of cybersecurity risk based on 10-K disclosures that is used to evaluate the relationship between cybersecurity risk and companies’ innovation policies.

Additionally, the following Ph.D. students were recently recognized with awards:

  • Becky Crouse received the Fran L. Ayres Partners in Learning Scholarship

  • Lucas Swider received the Outstanding Doctoral Student Teaching Award

  • Ling Zhang received the Outstanding Doctoral Student Research Award.


OU Honors Frank Hill with Regents’ Alumni Award

Frank Hill receiving the OU Regents Alumni Award with Regent Natalie Shirley and OU President Harroz.

Frank Hill (B.B.A., Accounting, 1963) was recognized with an OU Regents’ Alumni Award at a campus ceremony on September 29. Hill was one of 11 recipients selected from nominations made by alumni, friends and OU faculty and staff. Hill, a native Oklahoman and veteran real estate and business attorney, has contributed to many high-profile metro projects including the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Oklahoma City’s National Basketball Association franchise, Devon Tower, 21c Hotel and First National Center. At OU, Hill served as president and director of the Bizzell Library Society, outside general counsel for the OU Foundation, and has been a generous supporter of students and faculty.

Alumni Selected as NextGen Under 30

Logo - NextGen Under 30 Oklahoma

The following accounting alumni were selected as NextGen Under 30 Award Winners for 2023: Catey Brim (B.B.A., Accounting, 2016) and Brock Jones (B.B.A., Accounting, 2016; M.Acc., 2019). NextGen Under 30 recognizes “rising young professionals who demonstrate talent, drive and service to their Oklahoma communities.”


Below is a selection of alumni updates since the spring 2023 Steed SOA newsletter:

  • Tyler Burgin (B.B.A./M.Acc., 2017) joins the PCAOB as an Inspections Specialist.

  • Hannah Dalthorp (B.B.A./M.Acc., 2019) joins the University of Georgia as an Accounting Ph.D. student.

  • Andrew DeWitt (M.Acc., 2022) was elected treasurer of the OKC chapter of COPAS (Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies).

  • Emily Dillard (B.B.A., Accounting, 2012) starts a new position at Continental Resources as Treasury Supervisor.

  • Bradley Lail (Ph.D., 2009) starts a new position at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs.

  • Lindsey Loveday (B.B.A., Accounting, 2009) joins the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center as Assistant Controller.

  • Hally Pembrook (B.B.A., Accounting, 2016; M.Acc., 2017) starts a new position at PwC as Audit Manager.

  • Aaron Puiszis (B.B.A./M.Acc., 2010) starts a new position at EY as Partner.

  • Alli Reynolds (M.Acc., 2009) starts a new position at KPMG as Audit Partner.

  • David Woodman (B.B.A., Accounting, 1992) joins Bakery Bling as Chief Financial Officer.


Wayne Thomas Receives AAA Teaching Award

Wayne Thomas receiving the AAA Teaching Award.

Wayne Thomas was presented the American Accounting Association/J. Michael and Mary Anne Cook/Deloitte Foundation Prize at the AAA annual meeting in August in Denver, Colorado. The award recognizes an individual who consistently demonstrates the attributes of a superior teacher in accounting. Thomas was selected as one of just three winners and earned the prize in the undergraduate category.

Richard Price Receives Best Discussant Award

Richard Price

Richard Price received the Best Discussant Award at the Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance Conference in May for his discussion of the paper “Quantifying the Role of Industry, Firm, CEO, and CFO Effects in Financial Reporting Quality: A Hierarchical Linear Modelling Approach.”

Yun Fan Receives Fellowship Award

Yun Fan

Yun Fan was named the 2023 Frances L. Ayres Partners in Learning Fellow. The fellowship honors Professor Emerita Fran Ayres by providing funds to support the research efforts of faculty and students, with a particular focus on junior faculty, and female or underrepresented faculty and students.


Below are some of the latest publications from our accounting faculty to see how we’re fulfilling the Purpose of Price® by tackling important business issues, generating valuable insights and preparing students as leaders.

Ervin Black

Professor Emeritus Erv Black and co-authors F. Greg Burton and Joshua Cieslewicz published “Improving Ethics: Extending the Theory of Planned Behavior to Include Moral Disengagement” in the Journal of Business Ethics. This research examines theories of ethical behaviors and interventions. The findings reveal that professional ethics training and years of professional experience help to improve ethical intentions.

Also, research by Black and co-authors Dante Baiardo C. Viana, Jr., Isabel Lourenço and Orleans Silva Martins entitled “Macroeconomic Instability, Institutions, and Earnings Management: An Analysis in Developed and Emerging Market Countries” was recently published in the Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation. The authors construct an index of macroeconomic instability to investigate the impact of macroeconomic factors on accounting quality. The findings indicate that greater macroeconomic instability is accompanied by lower levels of real earnings management and lower (higher) levels of accruals-based earnings management in developed (emerging market) countries.

Agnes Cheng

Research by Agnes Cheng and co-authors Chunfang Cao, Changyuan Xia, Jing Xie and Cheng (Colin) Zeng was accepted for publication in The Accounting Review. The study, entitled “Corporate Tax Benefits from Hometown-Connected Politicians,” examines whether companies that are connected to hometown politicians experience favorable tax treatment. Results indicate that companies enjoy favorable corporate income tax rates when they share hometown connections with incumbent politicians. The effect is intensified when politicians have strong hometown preferences, suggesting that social incentives are the primary driver behind the favorable tax treatment.

Additionally, Cheng organized two conferences on ESG issues in accounting: the Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance Conference at Fordham University and a symposium at Brock University.

Yun Fan

Yun Fan and co-authors Xiaozhe Gu and Nandu Nagarajan published “The Founder Certification Effect, Firm Disclosures, and the Cost of SEO Financing” in the Journal of Business Finance & Accounting. The research examines firms’ financing costs for seasoned equity offerings (SEOs) and whether founder control mitigates such costs. Consistent with predictions, the authors find that founder control offers a certification effect that reduces information asymmetry, agency conflicts, and the resulting cost of issuing SEOs.

Meng Li

Meng Li and co-authors Stanimir Markov and Susan Shu published “Motivational Optimism and Short-Term Investment Efficiency” in The Accounting Review. The research examines the impact of management’s performance goals and expectations on corporate investment efficiency. The authors find that managers are overly optimistic in their earnings guidance and that this tendency is associated with less efficient investment outcomes, as evidenced by an overinvestment in inventory. The findings are consistent with the theory that managers’ strong preference for good performance distorts their ability to make sound investment decisions. 

Chenxi Lin

Research by Chenxi Lin and co-authors Xi Ai and Nate Newton entitled, “The Value of Auditor Verification amid Economic Uncertainty: International Evidence from Small Businesses" was accepted for publication in Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory. This research examines how audits provide value to small businesses during an economic hardship (i.e., COVID-19). Specifically, the authors investigate and find that an audit was useful to businesses and enabled them to obtain funding according to their financing preferences. The study’s findings also indicate that audits were most valuable when lenders had relatively few options to obtain information about the company, and in countries facing the most severe economic conditions and the least government-provided liquidity support. 

Mark Ma

Ph.D. Student Yue “Mark” Ma and co-author Gabriele Lattanzio (a graduate of the OU Finance Ph.D. program) published “Cybersecurity Risk and Corporate Innovation” in the Journal of Corporate Finance.

The authors study how firms switch from trade secrets to filing more patents in order to protect their intellectual property from cyberattacks. The paper documents that this strategy influences investment returns from research and development due to the proprietary costs of revealing ongoing research projects sooner than desirable. The research findings help in redesigning the legal protection of intellectual property from cyber risks. 

Wayne Thomas

Wayne Thomas and Kelly Ha (a graduate of the OU Accounting Ph.D. program) published “Classification Shifting and Earnings Predictability” in the Journal of Accounting, Auditing, and Finance. The research investigates managers’ strategic classification of expenses in the income statement. Managers have some discretion in reporting expenses as either part of core profitability or as special items. The study’s findings suggest that managers use their reporting discretion to better signal future performance to investors. Those firms that exert their discretion in classifying expenses have more predictable earnings.

Wayne Thomas

Devin Williams and co-authors Eldar Maksymov, Jeffrey Pickerd and T. Jeffrey Wilks published “The ICFR Process: Perspectives of Accounting Executives at Large Public Companies” in Contemporary Accounting Research. The authors survey 145 and interview 35 accounting executives at large U.S. public companies. The research offers insights based on management’s perspective of internal controls over financial reporting (ICFR) and include the desire for more applicable ICFR guidance; frictions among managers, auditors and the audit committee; as well as the business conditions that most affect ICFR.

Also, research by Williams and co-author W. Robert Knechel entitled “The Effect of Client Industry Agglomerations on Auditor Industry Specialization” was accepted for publication in the Journal of Accounting Research. The research examines auditor industry specialization in geographic areas with high client industry concentration. The results reveal that specialist and non-specialist audit offices in these concentrated areas have higher audit fees than their counterparts in other areas that are not concentrated. The authors also address whether or not this expertise can be shared among offices in the same firm as those offices in the concentrated market. Findings indicate that audit offices that have easy connections to a within-firm office in an agglomerated market can earn a fee premium relative to more distant offices (measured by flight and drive times), suggesting a benefit from knowledge transfer.

Spencer Young

Spencer Young’s dissertation, entitled “Are Financial Statements More Comparable When GAAP Restricts Managers’ Discretion?,” was accepted for publication in Management Science. When the FASB provides the reasoning for issuing a new standard, the most common reason for issuing a standard is to “reduce diversity in practice” with the aim of enhancing the comparability of financial statements. Young examines whether reducing diverse accounting practice achieves comparability and if not, when doing so might be more likely to improve comparability. Overall, the findings reveal that reducing diversity in practice most often results in financial statements that are more difficult to compare. The results also isolate areas where the FASB has or could be successful in improving comparability via reduced diversity in practice.

Additionally, Young attended (by invitation) the FASB Academic Program in 2023.

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307 West Brooks
Norman, OK 73019-4004
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John T. Steed School of Accounting
307 W. Brooks
Adams Hall, Room 200
Norman, OK 73019-4004
(405) 325-4221