Research stories

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University offers crucial insights into creating fairer employee reward systems and enhancing team dynamics. 

SAF Professor Kelsey Matthews, a co-author of the study, emphasizes the importance of mandatory explanations to mitigate self-interested biases among team members, particularly those with lower abilities.  

Terrorist attacks and mass shootings are devastating for the people and communities they affect. These events impact our society in many ways, including perhaps unexpectedly, by changing how big companies calculate and report their earnings.

A recent study by Professor Seda Oz from the School of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waterloo explains why.

New research shows that team-based recognition can be effective in settings where performance is highly interdependent, and teamwork is essential to the company’s success.

In the digital age, a new Twitter strategy can have implications for a healthy bottom line. How companies handle customer complaints on social media plays a critical role in their customer-focused performance management systems. However, there has been a notable lack of descriptive information related to assessing managerial performance based on the handling of online complaints.

Based on the emerging technology, this paper proposes a new method to measure the expected duration of competitive advantage for average adopters. This method is based on public data, such as google searches, press releases, book titles, and companies’ disclosures with respect to the technology. The method is very easy to implement.

Congratulations to School of Accounting and Finance professor Ranjini Jha, recipient of the 2023 Arts Award for Excellence in Service!

Established in 2012 by then-dean Doug Peers, the Arts Awards for Excellence in Service, Teaching and Research recognize exceptional contributions made by faculty, staff, and students in the Faculty of Arts. This is the 11th anniversary of the Arts Awards and more than 30 members of the Arts community were nominated by their chairs, supervisors, and colleagues.

More than 30 nominations submitted for the 2023 Arts Awards for Excellence in Service, Teaching, and Research posed an especially tough challenge for members of the Arts Honours and Awards (AHA) committee this spring. So many outstanding members of the Arts community inspired their chairs, supervisors, and colleagues to put names forward as nominees to recognize their contributions and achievements. Today, Dean Sheila Ager and the AHA committee are happy to share the results.

Wenqian Hu’s paper Trust Versus Rewards: Revisiting Managerial Discretion in Incomplete Contracts was awarded the Lazaridis Institute Prize for the best paper on accounting issues relevant to technology firms. The paper finds that an algorithm-generated bonus allocation scheme improves employee productivity, compared with human managers’ bonus allocation.

In fast-paced and often rapidly changing work environments, employers continue to seek new and improved ways to recognize employees in the workplace. However, new research from the University of Waterloo suggests that public peer recognition may backfire by enabling comparisons among employees, and these comparisons may make some employees feel unfairly treated.

Krista Fiolleau, associate professor in the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) has recently published a chapter titled “The professional responsibility of accountants as re-defined by the inclusion of the NOCLAR standard in the Code of Ethics” within the Research Handbook on Accounting Ethics alongside co-authors Pier-Luc Nappert from Université Laval and Linda Thorne from the Schulich School of Business.  NOCLAR, an acronym meaning non-compliance with laws and regulations is discussed extensively throughout the chapter.

From becoming the first member of her family to graduate from university, Ranjini Jha now educates other students as a professor of finance at the University of Waterloo.

Mingyue Zhang is an assistant professor of accounting at the School of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waterloo.

She earned her PhD in Accounting from the University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management) and Master of Professional Accounting from Singapore Management University. She is also an affiliate of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.(ACCA)

by Alyana Versolatto

The School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) is pleased to share that professor Efrim Boritz was inducted this year into the Canadian Accounting Hall of Fame for his extraordinary contributions to the accounting profession. During Boritz’s illustrious 40-year career at the University of Waterloo, he has been a prolific writer and researcher with 24 books and monographs to his credit and over 40 articles in refereed journals. His research involves investigating areas of professional practice in external auditing and internal auditing which rely on the exercise of professional judgment.

Cyber-attacks and data breaches are of great concern for data-sensitive organizations. These organizations are adept at safeguarding data but fail in safeguarding against cyber-attacks. Phishing is a semantic attack that deceives email users into clicking on the embedded link or attachment in an email. The goal could be to induce the email users to subsequently give away sensitive information, enable malware that can steal passwords, or install a backdoor into the user’s system and encrypt the users’ data. Phishing imposes a great risk on these organizations for two reasons. First, even a non-vital position in which employees likely perceive little cyber risk, if being attacked, could cause significant economic loss and litigations. Second, phishing emails could simultaneously reach most employees within an organization. Thus, strengthening the frontier of safeguarding against phishing is of vital importance.

The recent collapse of banks in the United States and this week's intervention by the Swiss government to facilitate the takeover of banking giant Credit Suisse might have some worried about a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.

Dr. James R. Thompson, associate professor in the School of Accounting and Finance and co-director of the University of Waterloo's Computing and Financial Management program, sheds light on what's causing the instability in the banking system and how it might affect Canadian financial institutions.

Many fear a repeat of 2008 given the recent collapse of banks in the United States and the intervention that happened this week by the Swiss government to facilitate the takeover of banking giant Credit Suisse.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Muhammad Azim, Assistant Professor

Muhammad Azim is an Assistant Professor at the School of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waterloo.

He acquired his Bachelor of Commerce from Queen's University, Masters in Finance from Queen's University, and a PhD in Accounting from the University of Toronto. He has previously worked at Deloitte's Assurance and Advisory Services, and during that time he also obtained his CPA and CA degrees.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Tisha King, Assistant Professor

Tisha King is a professional accountant and earned her Ph.D. from Wilfrid Laurier University. Professor King specializes in behavioral research that largely focuses on ethical judgments and decision-making within the context of taxpayers and tax professionals. Her recent studies investigate how advances in technology, penalties, and fairness influence tax compliance. In her free time, Professor King enjoys running, biking, and hiking with her family.

The federal government has introduced several changes to taxation and tax benefits for this year — and experts tell CBC News the tax changes related to housing are the ones to watch.

The federal government indexes personal income tax brackets and many tax benefits to inflation. They'll increase by 6.3 per cent this year, says the Canada Revenue Agency.

Daily box office earnings can accurately predict stock market returns, according to a new study.

Traditionally quarterly and monthly consumption data is used to predict stock market performance. But using box office earnings – a measure that captures consumption on a more frequent basis – offers more timely and relevant data for decision-makers in the financial markets.

Tangible rewards motivate employees when they’re easy to use, pleasurable, unexpected, and distinct from salary, a new study found.

A recent survey of firms in the United States revealed that 84 per cent spent more than $90 billion annually on tangible employee rewards, such as gift cards, recreation trips and merchandise, in hopes of increasing productivity.

A recent trend in organizations is to motivate employees with goal-based prosocial rewards, whereby employees must donate their rewards to charities upon goal attainment. We examine the motivational effects of goal-based prosocial rewards versus cash rewards under different levels of goal difficulty. We develop our hypotheses based on affective valuation theory, which posits that when valuing uncertain outcomes by affect rather than calculation, individuals are largely insensitive to changes in probability of the outcomes, including probability of goal attainment.

Using 9,801 director appointments during 2003-2014, we document the dramatic impact of connections - 69% of new directors have professional ties to incumbent boards, a group representing 13% of all potential candidates.

Many countries have imposed tax policies that limit the deductibility of interest costs, creating a plausibly exogenous increase in the net cost of borrowing. The limits are based on financial accounting numbers, adding a new implication to managers’ choices. Firms in these countries are also expected to rely less on debt financing and face weaker demand for conservative financial reporting from creditors as compared to firms in other countries.

A significant and increasing number of North American organizations use tangible rewards to motivate their employees. Despite the widespread use of tangible rewards, there is limited understanding as to what makes them effective.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The False Promise of ESG

Millions of investors and countless fund managers direct their investments to companies that are highly-rated on the basis of their environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) activities in an attempt to do good. The claim by ESG advocates, pundits, and many academics that highly-rated ESG companies and funds also deliver superior returns bolsters this move: Doing better by doing good. The best of all worlds.

But do ESG ratings really deliver on the promise? Are highly-ranked ESG businesses really more caring of the environment, more selective of the societies in which they operate, and more focused on countries with good corporate governance? In short, is ESG really good? The answer is no.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias, calling people to imagine a gender-equal world free of stereotypes, bias and discrimination. This is also a day to recognize and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The American Taxation Association (ATA), in cooperation with PricewaterhouseCoopers, presented recent PhD graduate, Betty (Bin) Xing (BMath ’13, MTax ’15, PhD ’20), with the prestigious international ATA/PwC Outstanding Dissertation Award at the annual ATA mid-year meeting.

We use Word2vec to develop a financial sentiment dictionary from 3.1 million Chinese-language financial news articles. Our dictionary maps semantically similar words to a subset of human-expert generated financial sentiment words.

Patty Mah, Associate Director, Communications and External Relations

School of Accounting and Finance Associate Professor Krista Fiolleau, PhD and her co-authors Leslie Berger, PhD and Carolyn MacTavish, PhD Associate Professors at Wilfrid Laurier, were awarded the Best Paper Award from the Journal of Management Accounting Research (JMAR).

by Patty Mah, Associate Director, Communications & External Relations

Two finance professors from the School of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waterloo have been elected co-presidents of the Northern Finance Association (NFA).

Professor Emerita, Sally Gunz (MA, LLB Sydney, MBA Manchester), announced as an Honorary Member of the University

By Farah Mohd Fadzil, SAF Communications Co-op

Recently the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) was pleased to be notified that one of its former faculty members, Sally Gunz (MA, LLB Sydney, MBA Manchester), Professor Emerita (1981-2019), was made an Honorary Member of the University. Now retired, we caught up with Gunz to talk about her career and the contributions she has made to SAF.

The value and potential profitability of being environmentally conscientious has placed more accountability on corporations to be transparent about how they get to their bottom line. Consumers and investors, and increasingly, younger investors are wanting to align their investment choices with their own values of environmental sustainability, equity, and human rights.