Friday, November 30, 2012

Alumnus Sir Robert Worcester visits Summerfield

by Dan Dutcher

Noelle Nelson and Robert Worcester
Prof. Nelson and Worcester
Professor Noelle Nelson welcomed Sir Robert Worcester to her introductory consumer behavior class Thursday, Nov. 29. The University of Kansas School of Business alumnus spoke to a packed classroom about his experiences since graduating from KU in 1955. Worcester talked about how he got to where he is today, often crediting KU with giving him the skills to succeed.

Early in his career, he said, “everything was fitting into place because of KU.”

Worcester also shared some advice with the crowd of students and faculty mentioning his fondness for a “grasshopper mind,” a mind that can balance many projects at one time and jump between them when needed. But, when a student raised his hand and asked if there was one specific thing Worcester could tell young business students, his answer was simple.

“Take a risk. If you think something should be done, do it,” Worcester said. “Then if somebody says you weren’t supposed to do it, tell them you didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do it. Just take a risk.”

Worcester is the chancellor of the University of Kent and the chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Committee, celebrating the documents 800th anniversary. He is also the founder of Market & Opinion Research International (MORI). Worcester is originally from Kansas City and is a Korean War veteran.

Friday, November 16, 2012

New faculty: Scott Whisenant

A “Boomer Sooner” at heart, Scott Whisenant, joins the accounting area as an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Business. 

For the last 11 years, Whisenant taught at the University of Houston.  He began his teaching career in 1997 at Georgetown (McDonough School) and also was a visiting faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan School).  Whisenant attended Texas A&M for his bachelor degree, and completed his master of accounting and doctorate degrees at the University of Oklahoma.  

Although he is warming up to becoming a Jayhawk sports fan, he is excited to be surrounded by extremely talented faculty members who are also dedicated to research similar to his areas of expertise. 

“From a research perspective, this was one of the best places I could be.  KU has a great reputation around the world for its audit market focus in accounting research,” Whisenant said.   

He teaches Advanced Auditing to graduate students, and tries to bring to the classroom skill sets learned from his past experience as an auditor.  His class focuses on exposing students to the challenges in auditing and financial reporting of accounting for complex business transactions and events.  

“My goal in my class is to enhance each student’s critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities,” Whisenant said. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Business professor presents evidence favoring auditor rotation auditing standards

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) invited audit market professionals and academics to present evidence on the debate on requiring auditor rotation for public companies in the U.S. at a Houston (Texas) Roundtable on October 18.  The PCAOB is a nonprofit corporation established by Congress in 2003, to oversee the audits of public companies in order to protect investors and the public interest by promoting informative, accurate and independent audit reports. The PCAOB also oversees the audits of broker-dealers, including compliance reports filed pursuant to federal securities laws, to promote investor protection.

Dr. Scott Whisenant, associate professor in accounting at the University of Kansas School of Business, was one of those invited to discuss the implications of his research to members of the PCAOB and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  He presented the results from two current research projects that offered empirical evidence to the debate on mandatory auditor rotation.  In one study, he finds (with his coauthors Dr. Michael Willenborg from the University of Connecticut and Dr. Srinivasan Sankaraguruswamy from the National University of Singapore) that new audits (which would be expected to increase under a mandatory auditor rotation rule) are not associated with lowered audit quality.  The evidence is important since this is often argued as the primary reason against a forced rotation policy.  In the other study, Dr. Whisenant and his coauthor (Dr. Kathleen Harris from the University of Houston) find evidence of benefits to audit markets through an enhancement of overall audit quality following the adoption of rotation rules.  This research offered the PCAOB members insights into the experiences of other countries that have adopted forced rotation of audit firms for public companies.

“It was an honor to be invited,” Whisenant said. “Anytime a quasi-governmental agency, especially the PCAOB, calls up and wants your opinion on an issue that affects investors and our capital markets, you appreciate the opportunity to talk about your research.”

The webcast archive of the Houston roundtable is available on the PCAOB website.