Santa Clara University

Accountability

Susan Parker teaches students such as Carolina Lopez, center, and Angelica Vazquez how corporate accounting processes affect the economy.
Susan Parker teaches students such as Carolina Lopez, center, and Angelica Vazquez how corporate accounting processes affect the economy.
In 2000—long before most people were concerned about corporate auditing practices— Susan Parker, associate professor of accounting at SCU, co-authored the article, “Auditor Selection and Audit Committee Characteristics.” The article was published in Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory and was one of the first to examine audit committees.

 

“Well into the late 90s, people didn’t understand the effect that corporate governance had on financial reporting; they often thought that only the CFO mattered,” Parker says.

 

That all changed with the corporate scandals involving Enron and WorldCom. “Now, most people understand that who sits on your board makes a difference and a strong audit committee means better financial reporting.”

 

Since 2000, Parker has published more than a half dozen articles on the subject, as well as numerous other works for Internal Auditing, Accounting and the Public Interest, Contemporary Accounting Research, and other professional journals. Much of her research was conducted with Lawrence Abbott from the University of Memphis and Gary Peters from the University of Arkansas, both of whom Parker met in graduate school.

 

Parker earned her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1997 and joined SCU’s faculty in 1998.  Although she had offers from other universities, she decided to teach at SCU because she was impressed by the quality of the accounting department and her colleagues. “I’m thankful that SCU nurtured my research early on,” Parker says. “The University’s emphasis on teaching and scholarship means that I’m able to stay current in advances in thinking in the discipline while interacting with students in the classroom.”

 

Parker teaches Accounting Information Systems and Business Risk Assessment and Reporting Financial Transactions. She also enjoys her new position as academic advisor to SCU’s Latino Business Students Association (LBSA). The group has received the Proctor and Gamble Excellence in Leadership Award for two consecutive years from the National Hispanic Business Association.

 

“They’re an extremely motivated group,” Parker says. “They network and help students with professional development, but they also do a great deal of community service.”  Most recently, the LBSA has provided translation services for the March of Dimes and SAT preparation information and pre-college counseling for Latino high school students.

 

In 2004, Parker received tenure as well as a two-year Breetwor Fellowship from SCU’s Leavey School of Business. She has received numerous other grants and awards, including Dean Witter, Ernst and Young, and KPMG research fellowships.

 

Because auditing practices have become more regulated, Parker has shifted the focus of her research away from auditing committees. She is again at the forefront of her field as she researches what determines auditing fees—an important topic since there isn’t a transparent, industry-wide standard. “Accounting has implications for the workings of our entire economy,” she says. “It reduces the friction by creating common rules that make financial transactions easier. I enjoy the challenge and the structure that it offers.”