EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Hyo-Jeong Kim

Some people are intimidated by analytical software. Dr. Hyo-Jeong Kim wants to help people become comfortable with it.

She’s starting with auditors. While many have traditionally used Excel as they explore trends in data, there are many other programs – some a bit complicated. Behind the scenes, Kim looks for the different complexities in the software. Once she finds those, she brings them to the forefront by matching the person’s understanding level to the appropriate training. “I like to help the novice, or beginner, to new technology,” she says.

Kim is a visiting assistant professor this spring semester with the Department of Information Systems at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. A native of Seoul, Korea, she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado in 2012.

In her research, Kim utilizes Benford’s Law – a theory that certain numbers generally appear more than others in real-life data. For example, the law states that the number 1 occurs as the leading digit about 30 percent of the time whereas other digits have fewer occurrences. Applying this law can be helpful with identifying potential fraudulent information – an important tool in auditing, she says.

In fact, she co-wrote a paper titled “Instructional Materials for Benford’s Law: Conceptual Background and Guided Software Instruction with Supporting Teaching Notes,” which was published in A Compendium of Classroom Cases and Tools in 2011. Her work has also appeared in the International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, International Journal of Public Information Systems and the International Journal of Accounting Information Systems.

Kim says she hopes to extend her research beyond accounting software in her quest to help others better understand complicated software. “We’re supposed to contribute to research, but we should contribute to people in the real world,” she says.

She’s also contributing to the education of Walton College students by teaching two undergraduate courses: Systems Analysis and Design and Business Application Development in the Visual Basic Environment. Before coming to the Walton College, she taught at both the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. She says she was interested in visiting the Walton College because of the ISYS department’s reputation for its leading research – especially that of distinguished professors Fred Davis and Viswanath Venkatesh.

Kim says she has had few opportunities to explore Northwest Arkansas but was surprised to experience so many snow storms while she was here – something she didn’t expect from a Southern state.

She also has little time to practice her hobby – playing the cajon, a box-shaped percussion instrument. Kim says she has always been interested in music, which dates back to childhood, and plays the cajon with other musicians during services at her church in Denver.

She says examining analytical computer programs comes naturally to her. “I’m the kind of person who finds it easy to understand this kind of software,” Kim says.