MMPA 2014 Conference: Behavioral Accounting Research and its Impacts on the Accounting Profession

On November 14, 2014 the MMPA Program hosted their annual Conference at the Credit Valley Golf Club. This year’s topic was Behavioral Accounting Research and its Impacts on the Accounting Profession.

The 2014 MMPA Conference brings together a group of world class scholars to discuss the extremely important impact and policy implications of behavioral accounting research, and of sustainability accounting standards.

Behavioral accounting research focuses on the relationship between the accounting information system and human behavior. It examines the impact of social, cognitive, and emotional factors on the use of the accounting information and the effect of format and content of accounting information on human behavior, and it sheds light on such questions as: Are investors always rational with respect to their use of accounting information?  Why are investors fixated on the format of accounting disclosure even though the same information is disclosed? Does fair value accounting improve the informativeness of financial reporting when investors have limited capability in processing accounting information? 

The establishment of Sustainability Accounting Standard Board (SASB) in 2011 represents a major milestone for future accounting reporting. SASB’s mission is to continues the tradition of high-quality disclosure by extending accounting infrastructure to material environmental, social, and governance factors. Sustainability accounting standards are intended as a complement to financial accounting standards, such that financial fundamentals and sustainability fundamentals can be evaluated side by side to provide a complete view of a corporation’s performance. Dr. Park, Director of Education of SASB, will speak about the exciting new sustainability reporting standards and how they will impact future financial reporting.

The esteemed speakers and their specific topics presented are as follows:

Professor Theresa Libby, School of Accounting and Finance, University of Waterloo -“Behavioral Accounting Research and its Implications for Accounting Practice”

Theresa Libby is a Professor of Accounting in the School of Accounting and Finance, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. She received her PhD in 1996 from the University of Waterloo. Her research interests include the manager's use of accounting information for decision-making, the effects of budgeting processes on performance, accounting ethics and innovation in management accounting systems. She has published articles in leading accounting journals including The Accounting Review, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Contemporary Accounting Research, Business Ethics Quarterly and the Journal of Management Accounting Research. Dr. Libby is a CPA and has taught management accounting at the undergraduate, Master’s and Phd levels. Dr. Libby sits on the editorial boards of Management Accounting Research and the Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change and is currently an Editor at Contemporary Accounting Research

Professor Claire Tsai, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto - Behavioral Economics, Nudge, and Financial Decisions"

Claire Tsai is an Associate Professor of Marketing and a co-founder of the Behavioral Economics in Action Research Cluster at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. She has worked in financial services in New York, Taipei and Hong Kong. She adopts a behavioral economics approach in studying decision making in areas of financial decisions, food consumption and well-being. She studies overconfidence and how this bias systematically influences judgments and decision making. She also studies the science and economics of happiness, which she terms Hedonomics. Her work appears in leading marketing and psychology journals, including Journal of Consumer Research and Psychological Science. Her work often receives featured coverage in popular media outlets including the Wall Street Journal (Week in Ideas),, Globe and Mail, CBC News, and Harvard Business Review. Speaking engagements include the Latin American Financial Education Congress and Ontario Securities Commission.

Professor Jeffrey Hales, Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology - “Behavioral Accounting Research in Financial Reporting”

Jeffrey Hales received his Ph. D. from Cornell University. He has taught accounting at Brigham Young University, Cornell University, the University of Texas at Austin, INSEAD, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he is currently an associate professor of accounting in the Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business. During the 2009-2010 academic year, he was a research fellow at the Financial Accounting Standard Board in Norwalk, CT.

His research interests center on accounting standard setting and regulation, individual decision making and behavioral finance, using techniques from applied game theory, experimental economics, and psychology.  Dr. Hales has published in The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting Research, Review of Accounting Studies, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Behavioral Finance, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.  He currently serves as an Ade Hoc Editor for Contemporary Accounting Research, and is an incoming editor for Accounting Horizon. He also serves on the editorial board of The Accounting Review, Contemporary Accounting Research, Accounting, Organizations and Society, and European Accounting Review. He is an Editor and regular contributor for the Financial Accounting Standards Research Initiative (FASRI) blog and a regular co-host for FASRI's weekly Round Table Discussions.  

Dr. Douglas Park, Director of Education, Sustainability Accounting Reporting Standard Board -Accounting Standards for Sustainability

Douglas Park has spent his career in academia, business, and law addressing complex problems that cut across functional and disciplinary lines.  Before joining SASB, Douglas worked with executives, investors, and board members on corporate governance, corporate and securities law, and strategy. Douglas has litigated securities and financial fraud cases and consulted to companies on organizational behavior.

Douglas has also been an assistant professor of management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, School of Business and Management, where he taught Strategy, Organization Theory, and Entrepreneurship and received several citations for teaching excellence. At the Stanford University Continuing Studies Program, he has taught Starting Startups, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Business Law.

He has served as Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Governance Research and Education Subcommittee, on the ABA’s Sustainability and Governance Subcommittee, and on the Evaluation Committee of the BlackRock/NACD Corporate Governance Innovation Challenge.

Douglas holds a JD from University of Michigan Law School, a PhD in Business from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an AB magna cum laude with highest honors in Sociology from Harvard College.

The MMPA Programs thanks all the speakers that attended the event and look forward to another exciting Conference and debate in 2015.