Errol Osecki was hired over the summer as a lecturer in accounting at the Telfer School of Management. He completed his PhD at the Schulich School of Business, and prior to entering academia, Errol Osecki worked as a public accountant, focusing on First Nations, not-for-profit, and small government clients. We interviewed him to learn more about his research interests.
Why did you choose to study accounting? Any personal motivation behind your research interests in this area?
People think accounting is taxes and math, but it's not. Learning accounting is learning a new language: the language of business. When you want to learn about any culture or its people, even business, it helps to learn the language. People are fascinating so I study the people of business and the decisions they make through the language of accounting.
How did your PhD training inform your current research program?
I was lucky to be exposed to multiple disciplines and methodologies during my PhD training, so I borrow a lot from other disciplines to inform my accounting research. For example, my dissertation uses psychological theory from marketing to study how auditors' interpersonal emotions change their decision-making around financial information. I am also using disruption theory from managerial research to study how new technology is changing the audit industry.
Do you have any new or upcoming projects that you would like to share with us?
So glad you asked! This summer, I presented a co-authored project which looks at how new technology is disrupting the audit industry and what this means for new auditors entering the field. Turns out new technology is not eliminating existing techniques or jobs, but rather creating a new way to audit certain organizations and also creating a demand for other skilled accountants. Another project I have in the works looks at how accountability measures have an emotional impact on managers' decisions, and that making people too accountable may make them worse leaders.
How can your research influence/impact business communities in Canada?
Much accounting research is oversimplified to their own world. However, my research shows the accounting world is more nuanced and deserves consideration. I look at how new technology is expanding the audit world to include a larger business community. My research also shows how negative emotions can cause auditors to avoid looking into potential errors as much. By better understanding these accounting issues, accountants can make better business decisions overall, which has an impact on the greater business communities in Canada.