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PhD Spotlight – Marwa Soliman

Marwa Soliman

Marwa Soliman joined Telfer’s PhD in Management program in 2016 after completing her MSc in accounting at the University of Memphis. She is specializing in accounting under the supervision of Professor Walid Ben Amar. During her studies, she has received the Lilian and Swee Chua Goh Doctoral Scholarship and is among the first recipients of the Daniel Zéghal Doctoral Accounting Research Scholarship. We interviewed her to learn more about her research on narrative disclosures.

Why did you choose to study accounting?

I was not planning to be an accountant, but when I started my freshmen year, I loved the accounting courses and felt that I could excel in this field. I also had the great opportunity to teach accounting right after my college graduation, which made me understand and love accounting much more. Here I am doing my PhD in accounting.

What is your research about and how will it contribute to academic literature?

My research focuses on narrative disclosure. Understandably, the accounting literature heavily focuses on quantitative disclosure; however, narrative disclosure represents, on average, 80% of the annual report and it has significant economic consequences. My research aims to provide a better understanding of the managerial motives behind language choices in the firm’s narrative disclosure. My work has provided evidence that managers intentionally choose to complicate disclosure when their firm is exposed to political risk. I also find that managers who are committed to corporate social responsibility tend to provide more readable narrative disclosure. Currently, I am studying whether a CEO’s characteristics may affect narrative disclosure choices. 

You have presented your research at the annual conferences of two accounting associations; what are the highlights of those presentations?

I recently presented my research at the annual meetings of the American (AAA) and the Canadian Academic (CAAA) Accounting Association. The study investigates the impact of political uncertainty on a firm’s narrative disclosure. My findings suggest that managers use narrative disclosure as an instrument to withhold negative information about potentially poor future performance. Managers’ narrative disclosure choices aim to balance between satisfying the outsiders’ increased demand for information while blurring the unfavorable expected news. Using conference call transcripts, I show that firms exposed to political uncertainty provide less readable disclosure, more ambiguous tone, and rely more on scripted responses to analysts.

How can your research impact Canadian businesses? 

My work highlights the use of narrative disclosure as a managerial tool that could improve or impede informative disclosure to market participants. My research provides insights which the investing community, the firm’s board of directors, and standards-setters can use to better understand to what extent managers may use narrative disclosure as a misleading mechanism in a firm’s disclosure.

About the Author

Rania Nasrallah a rejoint le bureau de recherche Telfer en 2019. Elle a obtenu son doctorat en médecine à l'Université d'Ottawa et apporte à ce rôle plus de deux décennies d'expérience en recherche. Rania participe à tous les aspects du mandat du Bureau de la recherche et est responsable de fournir un large éventail de services aux membres du corps professoral et aux étudiants de recherche de deuxième et troisième cycle. Elle gère les subventions internes et les bourses d'études, et participe à la stratégie de communication de la recherche. Elle fournit également un soutien aux chercheurs avant l'attribution des subventions afin de maximiser le succès du financement au niveau national et international. En outre, elle travaille en étroite collaboration avec le Vice-doyen à la recherche pour élaborer et mettre en œuvre des stratégies visant à améliorer le financement et la vélocité de la recherche à Telfer, conformément à notre vision pour créer un meilleur Canada et un meilleur monde pour tous.<br/><br/>Rania Nasrallah joined the Telfer Research Office in 2019. She completed her PhD in Medicine at the University of Ottawa and brings over two decades of research experience to this role. Rania is involved in all aspects of the mandate of the Research Office and is responsible for providing a wide range of services to faculty members and research based graduate students. She manages internal grants, student awards, and participates in the research communication strategy. She also provides pre-award support to researchers to optimize funding success nationally and internationally. In addition she works closely with the Vice Dean Research to develop and implement strategies to enhance research funding and intensity at Telfer following our vision to create a better Canada and a better world for all.

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