Patricia O'Brien

Retired - Professor Emeritus; Financial Accounting (2000-2020)
Patricia O'Brien


Brief biography

I am interested in corporate disclosure and financial reporting, and their effects on capital markets. I am particularly interested in the role played by financial analysts as information intermediaries.

Education and certifications

  • BA (Cornell)
  • MBA (Chicago)
  • PhD (Chicago)


  • 2009, Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA) Haim Falk Award for Distinguished Contribution to Accounting Thought
  • 2004-present, Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting

Selected publications

  • Darren Henderson and Patricia C. O’Brien, “The Standard-setters’ Toolkit: Can Principles Prevail over Bright Lines?” Review of Accounting Studies, 22:2 (2017), pp. 644-676.  DOI: 10.1007/s11142-017-9392-4.
  • ​Mark Bradshaw, Yonca Ertimur and Patricia O’Brien, “Financial Analysts and Their Contributions to Well-functioning Capital Markets,” Foundations and Trends in Accounting 11:3 (2016), NOW Publishing. 
  • Patricia C. O’Brien and Hongping Tan, “Geographic Proximity and Analyst Coverage Decisions:  Evidence from IPOs,” Journal of Accounting and Economics, 59:1 (2015) pp. 41-59.
  • Andrew M. Bauer, Patricia C. O’Brien and Umar Saeed, “Reliability Makes Accounting Relevant:  A Comment on the IASB Conceptual Framework Project,” Accounting in Europe, 11:2 (2014) pp. 211-217.
  • O’Brien, Patricia C., “Securitisation, Transparency and Failure Risk,” Irish Accounting Review v. 18 n. 1 (Summer 2011) pp. 39-50.
  • O’Brien, Patricia C., “Changing the Concepts to Justify the Standards,” Accounting Perspectives 8:4 (2009) pp. 263-275.
  • Hilton, Andrew S. and Patricia C. O’Brien, 'Inco Ltd.: Market Value, Fair Value and Management Discretion,' Journal of Accounting Research 47:1 (Mar 2009) pp. 179-211.
  • O'Brien, Patricia C., Maureen F. McNichols and Hsiou-wei Lin, 'Analyst Impartiality and Investment Banking Relationships,'  Journal of Accounting Research 43:4 (Sep 2005) pp. 623-650.
  • Weil, Roman L., Patricia C. O'Brien, Michael M. Maher, Clyde P. Stickney, and Kathleen Fitzgerald , Accounting: The Language of Business , Sun Lakes, AZ: Thomas Horton and Daughters, 11th Edition, 2005.
  • McNichols, Maureen, and Patricia C. O'Brien, 'Self Selection and Analyst Coverage,' Journal of Accounting Research 35:Supplement (1997) pp. 167-199.
  • Austen-Smith, David, and Patricia C. O'Brien, 'Takeover Defenses and Shareholder Voting,' Economica (May 1992) pp. 199-219.
  • O'Brien, Patricia C., 'Forecast Accuracy of Individual Analysts in Nine Industries,' Journal of Accounting Research 28:2 (1990) pp. 286-304.
  • O'Brien, Patricia C., and Ravi Bushan, 'Analyst Following and Institutional Holding,' Journal of Accounting Research 28:Supplement (1990) pp. 55-76.
  • O'Brien, Patricia C., 'Analysts' Forecasts as Earnings Expectations,' Journal of Accounting and Economics, 10:1 (1988) pp. 53-83.

Editorial boards

  • Accounting Review, 1993 - 2008
  • Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 1996 - present
  • Journal of Accounting Research, 2003 - 2009

Editor/Associate Editor

Consulting Editor, Contemporary Accounting Research, 2017 - 2020

Editor-in-Chief, Contemporary Accounting Research, 2013 - 2017

Associate Editor, Contemporary Accounting Research, 2001 - 2010

Courses taught


  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), "Credible Financial Reporting", 2016-2020, $116,648
  • SSHRC, "Determinants of Financial Analyst Following and its Value Implications", H.Tan (principal investigator) and T. Wirjanto, 2011 - 2013, $87,062
  • SSHRC, "Financial Reporting Concepts", 2010 - 2012, $68,000
  • SSHRC, "Financial Analysts' Conflicts of Interest", 2006 -2009, $60,796
  • SSHRC, "Compensation Contracts, Capital Structure and Debt Covenants", A. Douglas (principal investigator) and P. Zhang, 2004 - 2007, $60,725
  • SSHRC, "Financial Analysts' Role in Capital Markets", 2000 - 2002, $45,000
  • Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA), "Causes and Consequences of Financial Analysts' Selection Decisions", 2000 - 2001, $10,000

Professional service

Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants - Academic Advisory Committee member, 2005 - present.

Canadian Accounting Standards Board, Academic Advisory Council member, 2005 – present.


I consult on issues of information in capital markets, including preparation and interpretation of financial disclosures, the effects of disclosure on capital markets, and the role of financial analysts as information intermediaries