Lecture Series

The Department of Accounting at the Lindner College of Business welcomes internationally-recognized accountants, professors, authors and thought leaders for expanded educational and engagement opportunities.


February 25

Zachary T. Kowaleski, University of Notre Dame

Financial institutions’ compliance-driven investments in technology — or “RegTech” — have grown rapidly in recent years. To understand these investments, we study how certain financial institutions respond to new internal control requirements. First, we show that affected firms make significant investments in enterprise resource planning, data management and hardware. We then show that these investments allow for complementary expenditures on customer relationship management tools that rely upon information quality and availability. As a result, affected firms experience a decline in customer complaints, particularly those most easily detected by technological monitoring. Finally, we find evidence that RegTech investments increase labor market concentration. Our results illustrate how regulation can have direct and indirect effects on technology adoption, that in turn affect non-compliance functions and labor market structure.

January 28: Breaking Barriers to Change: The COVID-19 Pandemic's Impact on Attitudes toward and Willingness to Pay for Audit Innovation

Derreck Barr-Pulliam, Assistant Professor, University of Louisville

Accounting firms have begun infusing their engagements with technology that enables innovation. While accounting firms and clients report that the COVID-19 pandemic has hastened the adoption of audit innovation, it is unclear whether clients’ historical lack of willingness to pay (WTP) higher audit fees for such innovation has similarly shifted. We conduct a survey of 141 auditors and client managers examining pre- and mid-COVID attitudes toward managers’ WTP for audit innovation. We develop our predictions based on interdisciplinary crisis response and WTP research. We hypothesize and find that client managers demonstrate a greater willingness to pay for audit innovation and that auditor participants similarly expect their clients will be willing to pay more for audit innovation in the mid-COVID period. Our study introduces the concept of WTP to the U.S. audit literature and provides insights into factors that influence audit innovation adoption. We offer insight into why and how the pandemic is helping accounting firms (and their clients) break through historical barriers related to audit innovation. Further, we explore and report how the pandemic has impacted individuals, organizations, interactions among professionals.


Customer Shopping Behavior and the Persistence of Revenues and Earnings

Steve Stubben, Accounting Professor and David Eccles Faculty Fellow, University of Utah

Using GPS location data from customers’ mobile devices that encompasses nearly 2.9 billion visits to over 1 million retail locations belonging to 286 U.S. companies, we develop new measures of customer shopping behavior and find these to be associated with revenue and earnings persistence. Specifically, revenues and earnings are more persistent when a firm’s customers (a) have less variable shopping patterns, (b) live closer to stores, (c) are repeat rather than one-time customers (d) shop during the week rather than on weekends, and (e) spend more time in stores.

We use these measures to explore the implications of customer shopping behavior for managers, investors, and analysts. We find that decisions by managers align with customer shopping behavior; customer shopping behavior explains levels of capital investment and inventory. However, investors and analysts do not immediately incorporate customer shopping behavior into trading decisions and revenue forecasts, which leads to predictable stock returns and forecast errors. Our results illustrate the value of customer data for understanding the conditions under which revenues and earnings are sustainable.