Emily Shafron is a 6th-year doctoral student in accounting at the University of Georgia, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2019. Emily focuses on financial archival research. Much of Emily’s research is informed by her professional experience with accounting regulators and standard setters. Her research interests include international accounting and capital markets, linguistics, investor tastes, audit, and Islamic finance.
Knowing she wanted to pursue a PhD in accounting, Emily tailored her work experience to gain a broad understanding of the accounting industry. Emily first worked at the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, where she helped develop the derivatives and hedge accounting standard (GASB 53), and subsequent implementation guide. Emily then moved into an advisory role in KPMG, consulting with audit and non-audit clients on the appropriate accounting treatments for highly-technical areas within a company’s operations (e.g., derivatives, asset securitizations, and consolidations). Here, Emily noticed that she was drawn to complex international accounting issues, where accounting outcomes were influenced by things such as differences in regulation and cultural norms. This lead Emily to move to the Malaysian Accounting Standards Board, where she applied her standard setting and auditing knowledge to assist Malaysia in adopting IFRS.
In 2012, Emily decided it was time for her to pursue her PhD. Emily is passionate about making a difference—researching questions that are not only publishable, but more importantly, could support more-informed decision making. For example, her dissertation examines the role language translations of IFRS may play in impacting financial statement comparability, as intended by the IASB. Emily designed this study to both document the impact translations have on comparability and identify country-, language-, and firm-specific characteristics that moderate this relation. Through the later, Emily hope to identify areas where more translated guidance may be helpful. Her ultimate goal is to serve as an academic perspective for the FASB, GASB, or IASB, bringing research into discussions of how US GAAP/IFRS should evolve.
Emily’s first year summer paper, entitled “Investor Tastes: Implications for Asset Pricing in the Public Debt Market”, was recently accepted at the Journal of Corporate Finance, in a special edition covering Islamic finance. Her paper examines the impact of a specific non-monetary preference, a taste for Shariah-compliant assets, on bond prices. She learned about the Islamic finance industry while working in accounting standard setting in Malaysia. While prior research has largely used noisier settings to examine the impact of non-monetary preferences on price, such as home bias and social responsible investing, her paper examines a cleaner testing environment – the Islamic finance industry – which has been designed for the explicit purpose of targeting a specific religious preference. Exploiting the regulatory environment in Malaysia, which sets Islamic finance products on par with their conventional counterparts in terms of tax, regulatory oversight, legal enforcement, bond pricing, credit rating, and accounting standards, Emily is able to better isolate the price impact of a non-monetary religious preference.
Outside of Emily’s sole-authored work, she is actively working on three working papers with co-authors from various universities. One paper “Is Accounting the ‘English’ Language of Business? The Role of Language in IFRS Adoption” serves as the foundation for Emily’s dissertation. In this paper, the authors hypothesize and find that a language barrier hinders a country’s decision to adopt IFRS. Building on these findings, Emily’s dissertation explores if translations of IFRS help to overcome the language barrier.
Emily believes her students deserve high-quality teaching that incorporates standard accounting theories and principles, examples of how those principles are applied in practice (e.g., current events), and summaries of relevant research that informs students what we really know about how accounting information is created, disseminated, and used. Emily teaches with a lot of enthusiasm and conveys her love and mastery of the subject matter while in the classroom. Emily also try to make learning fun. For example, when she taught Introduction to Financial Reporting for non-Business Majors, Emily ran an in-class game of virtual monopoly and instructed her students to create journal entries and financial statements, based on how they progress through the game. Finally, Emily incorporate technology within the classroom when she felt it would reinforce concepts and assist in facilitating the learning process. For example, Emily include short video segments that enhance the content Emily taught in class and recorded short videos that walked her students through key cases that they needed to review to prepare for their exams. Emily also recorded all her lectures, so her students could go back and re-learn the concepts at their own pace. Integrating different sources into lively class-discussions, Emily aims to give her students a richer understanding of both the fundamentals of accounting, as well as how accounting shapes the economy we all are a part of. Even if her students do not choose accounting as their career path, she wants them to know the information they learn in her class has a usefulness that extends well beyond the classroom walls.
Masters, Applied Economics, University of Michigan, 2015
Masters, Business Administration, University of Michigan, 2016
Masters, Professional Accounting, University of Texas, 2007
Bachelors, Business Administration, Finance, University of Texas, 2005
Prior Professional Positions
Malaysian Accounting Standards Board, Assistant Manager, 2011 to 2013
KPMG, LLP, Senior Associate - Accounting Advisory, 2009 to 2011
Governmental Accounting Standards Board, Project Research Associate, 2007 to 2009