EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Linda Myers

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“We have a strong family environment here.
You feel supported and valued.”

Ask Dr. Linda Myers what her hobbies are, and she is hard pressed to say anything other than research.

There are always issues that no one has looked into. There’s also existing data that can be studied from a different angle. And this keeps research interesting for Myers. “We almost never know what the answer’s going to be, so that’s kind of cool,” says Myers, an accounting professor at the Sam M. Walton College of Business

It’s what she loves. And it shows.

#Myers was recognized for her research with a 2013 Walton College Faculty Research Award at the University of Arkansas. Most of her work explores a common theme: the effects or potential effects of proposed regulations.

For example, firms in the United States prepare and present their financial statements following U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (or GAAP). U.S. regulators, however, are considering adopting or converging to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which are used in many other countries. Myers’ co-authored research, published in the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, sheds light on differences in the quality of accounting information under these standards.

Other academic publications that feature her research include The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research, Contemporary Accounting Research and Review of Accounting Studies, among others. In 2009, she won the best paper award from the American Accounting Association’s Financial Accounting and Reporting Section. Her work has also been written up in The Economist and the New York Times.

Her research on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed by Congress in 2002 to help protect investors from fraudulent accounting practices by corporations has been cited by the chief accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as well as in a joint letter to the House Committee on Financial Services from the CFA Institute, Center for Audit Quality and the Council of Institutional Investors. These, and other governing bodies, have cited the academic research she and her co-authors provide because, Myers explains, they trust that the information is accurate and unbiased. In addition, Myers periodically interacts with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies.

#Myers is currently researching issues related to mandatory auditor rotation, which would require public companies to periodically switch audit firms. Although rotating auditing firms may prevent some problems that can occur when auditors who have long-term relationships with their clients become less independent, her research generally shows that new rotated auditing firms can overlook critical information and increase audit failures.

Myers says her teaching, which involves master’s- and Ph.D.-level courses, is an extension of her research process. She says that she especially enjoys sharing important research findings with her master’s students, and many of these students decide to pursue doctoral degrees. In addition, Myers often collaborates with current and past Ph.D. students. “Our Ph.D. students are incredibly research active,” she says.

In addition, Myers says she enjoys working with the college’s junior faculty. She describes the accounting department as a close-knit group where many put others ahead of themselves. “We have a strong family environment here,” she says. “You feel supported and valued.”

In Myers’ particular case, some of the department is family. Her husband, Dr. James Myers, is also an accounting professor at Walton College. They moved to Fayetteville with their two children from Texas A&M University in 2008 and are enjoying life at the University of Arkansas, she says.