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Contemporary Issues in Accounting Conference

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The faculty of the Department of Accounting will host the 18th annual Contemporary Issues in Accounting Conference during a live virtual event on the mornings of Thursday, December 10, and Friday, December 11.

Nine credits of continuing professional education on a variety of topics will be offered, including three hours of ethics education. CPE credits from this conference are accepted by the Iowa Accountancy Examining Board. Out-of-state participants should check with their state board of accountancy to determine eligibility.

Registration Cost:  $225
Registration Deadline:  December 7, 2020


Registration Closed

Agenda for Thursday, December 10

8:00-8:10 AM Greeting from William Dilla, chair of the Department of Accounting
8:10-9:50 AM Session 1 (see options below)
9:50-10:00 AM Break
10:00-11:40 AM Session 2 (see options below)
11:40-11:50 AM Break
11:50 AM-12:40 PM Session 3: Accounting Ethics — Profitability in the Pharmaceutical Industry (Ethics CPE)

Agenda for Friday, December 11

8:00-8:10 AM Morning Kick-off
8:10-9:50 AM Session 4 (see options below)
9:50-10:05 AM Break
10:05 AM-11:45 AM Session 5: CPAs Gone Bad (Ethics CPE)
11:45 AM Closing

Session and Presenter Details

Session 1A: Research in Disaster Response Logistics and Its Implications

Disasters pose many challenges to relief and response agencies, and as such, it has become a great opportunity for applied research in logistics and operations. This talk will discuss disaster response logistics (DRL) in connection with the functions conducted by relief agencies, and identifies under-studied areas where research could enhance operational effectiveness. The discussion relays the chief findings of fieldwork research conducted, which supports the development of policies to improve preparation and coordination of disaster response activities.

Johanna Amaya is an assistant professor of supply chain management at Iowa State University. She received her B.Sc. in industrial engineering from Universidad del Norte, Colombia. She earned a M.Sc. in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Florida and completed her PhD. in transportation engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). She is an expert in disaster response logistics, sustainable urban freight transportation, and supply chain management.


Session 1B: Data Visualization: Best (and Worst) Practices

Data visualization now permeates the world of business communication. We’ll discuss the dos and don’ts of data visualization, how to produce good visualizations, when to use them, and why they have become increasingly important in the field of accounting.

Christine Denison, CPA, CMA, is an associate professor of accounting at Iowa State University and holds the Roger P. Murphy Professorship. She earned her Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Iowa. Christine teaches primarily in the area of managerial accounting, emphasizing communication and data visualization in her courses. Her research focuses on managerial accounting and accounting education.


Session 2A: Employee and Accounting Information Quality

Employees are important stakeholders of a firm and play a critical role in the financial reporting process. On one hand, employees affect accounting and reporting quality by reducing accounting errors, better applying accounting principles and making accurate accounting estimates, and monitoring and discipling managerial accounting decisions. On the other hand, employees bear the consequences of accounting failures by losing their jobs and retirement benefits. The relation between employee and accounting information quality demonstrates the interaction between human capital and financial reporting.

Yonghong Jia earned her Ph.D. in business administration from Wayne State University and joined Iowa State University in 2016. She experienced rigorous academic training in computer science, business, and accounting. Prior to her pursuit of an academic career, she had years of work experience in accounting information systems, auditing, and business valuation with accounting and consulting firms and accounting professional organizations. She is an active researcher and her primary research interest lies in the economic consequences of accounting information and financial reporting. Her research articles have been accepted or published in premier accounting and management journals such as The Accounting Review, Contemporary Accounting Research, Review of Accounting Studies, and Strategic Management Journal. She has broad teaching interests and has taught courses including financial accounting, financial statement analysis, auditing, and accounting information systems.


Session 2B: “Can I Trust You?” The Rhetoric of Financial Scandals

Sadly, there have been no shortage of financial scandals in history, and those numbers appear to increase all the time. The public’s trust in private and public accounting, finance, and economics are all influenced by not only what is reported to them, but also how it is reported to them. This interactive presentation will discuss the rhetorical strategies used to communicate financial scandals to the public and how they could be handled more effectively to restore public trust.

Jamie Sass is the director of the Ivy College of Business Communications Center at Iowa State University. Her work includes coaching students to help develop their confidence and competence in professional communication as they become emerging industry leaders and collaborating with faculty and staff to create a communication-intensive learning environment for students. Jamie received her MA in professional communication from Iowa State University.


Session 3: Accounting Ethics: Profitability in the Pharmaceutical Industry (Ethics CPE)

This session will examine a case about a pharmaceutical company. What is the primary purpose of a corporation? For a pharmaceutical company, do we need to consider a balance between profits and public health? To what extent is the availability vs. the ability to pay for potentially life-saving drugs a consideration. While this is always an issue worth consideration, a COVID world perhaps makes it a timely discussion!

Cynthia Jeffrey, CPA, CGMA, is the RSM Faculty Fellow in Accounting at Iowa State University, where she researches and teaches in the areas of international accounting, accounting theory, corporate social responsibility, and ethics. Her research has been published in numerous scholarly journals including The Accounting Review, Behavioral Research in Accounting, The International Journal of Accounting, Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance, Accounting Horizons, and Business Ethics Quarterly. Cyndie is the past editor of Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting. She is a member of the AICPA, Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance, and the American Accounting Association, and she was the founding director of the Master of Accounting program at Iowa State University. Cyndie received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and has completed the IFRS Certificate of Educational Achievement.


Session 4A: Social Risk Management

Social technology is quickly changing organizational risk. Organizations now need to reconsider the nature, design, and monitoring ability of control systems and policies as part of the wider enterprise risk management model. This session presents a social technology risk management model that recognizes the changed risk landscape. It highlights key organizational issues, including identifying, evaluating, and managing risks, and the challenges to accounting.

Diane Janvrin, CPA, CMA, CIA, is a professor of accounting and holds the William L. Varner Professorship at Iowa State University. Diane teaches and researches in the areas of auditing and information systems. She currently edits the Journal of Information Systems, including its special issue on implications of cybersecurity for accounting. She has been published in Journal of Information Systems, Auditing, International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, Behavioral Research in Accounting, Accounting Horizons, Accounting and the Public Interest, Research in Accounting Regulation, and Information and Management. Diane is a member of the AAA and the ISCPA. Diane earned her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.


Session 4B: The ABCs of Talent Management: Advantages, Best Practices, and Challenges 

In this session, we will discuss recent research and best practices from industry that highlight both the challenges and keys to success associated with effectively managing talent in today’s organizations. Key take-aways from the session will include an understanding of exactly what is meant by “talent” and identification of best practices in the areas of recruiting and retaining talent, identifying talent (especially “high potentials”), and developing talent.

Deidra Schleicher, John and Deborah Ganoe Professor and chair of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, teaches courses on managing human capital to human resource students, MBAs, and especially executive audiences. She has been frequently recognized as a distinguished instructor, including receiving the Association of Former Students Distinguished Teaching Award at Texas A&M University in 2016. Her research, teaching, and consulting experiences focus primarily on the areas of performance management, talent management, and employee development, with secondary interests in employee attitudes and engagement. She served as chair of the Human Resources (HR) Division of the Academy of Management from 2017-2018.


Session 5: CPAs Gone Bad (Ethics CPE)

CPAs have a reputation for ethics and integrity. Unfortunately, there are cases where CPAs have not lived up to their profession’s Code of Conduct. This session will discuss cases of CPAs who have behaved unethically and the circumstances that led to their actions. We will discuss ways for you and your co-workers to keep from heading down a “slippery slope” to unethical behavior.

William N. Dilla, CPA (Texas) is the Union Pacific/Charles B. Handy Professor of Accounting and chair of the Department of Accounting at Iowa State University. He teaches courses in auditing and fraud examination. His research focuses on information display effects with respect to accounting-related judgments, the relationship between internal audit activities and information security effectiveness, fraud in online environments, and management control systems for corporate sustainability. He currently serves as an associate editor at the Journal of Forensic Accounting Research. Bill received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and his MBA from Syracuse University. Prior to entering graduate school at the University of Texas, he served on the audit staff of Deloitte.


Cancellation Policy

If you are unable to attend the conference, you must notify Registration Services by noon on Friday, December 4, to receive a full refund. After the deadline, we are unable to process refunds.

For More Information

If you have questions regarding registration, please contact Registration Services at registrations@iastate.edu or 515-294-6222.

For questions about the conference, please contact conference coordinators Kayla Sander (kayla@iastate.edu, 515-294-8796) or Jennifer Finch (jfinch@iastate.edu, 515-294-8112).


Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. Veteran. Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to Office of Equal Opportunity, 3410 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, Tel. 515 294-7612,  Hotline 515-294-1222, email eooffice@iastate.edu.



For the Iowa State University academic calendar, visit this link.

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