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September 25, 2023

Help This Big 4 Alum-Turned-PhD-Candidate with Her Homework (By Taking a Survey)

Recently, a PhD candidate contacted us about helping with her dissertation. That sounds strange since neither Adrienne nor I have any interest in working more than we do already and this sounded like work. Thankfully, we found out that we didn't really have to do too much.
Michele Frank wrote us last week asking if she could survey you people, because she needs some honest responses and you all are nothing if not brutally honest.
I really hope to help solve some of these problems, but it is hard to do that unless you get participants who are willing to be honest.
Okay, then. We can try to help. We figured it'd be prudent to learn a little more about Michele first so before you take the survey, here's a little background for you:
1) Who are you? 
My name is Michele Frank and I am a PhD student in accounting at the University of Pittsburgh.  I am currently working on my dissertation. After finishing my dissertation I would like to obtain a faculty position at a major university where I can both teach and continue my research (accounting research does actually exist and it is a lot cooler than it sounds).
2) What is your public accounting experience?
Prior to heading to Pitt I was a senior manager in Ernst & Young's Transaction Advisory Services practice. 
3) What are you doing now? 
After spending almost a decade in public accounting (at both Deloitte and E&Y), I realized that I could be doing more to better the world (some of us take a lot longer to realize this than others).  I actually liked my time in public accounting, especially when I helped clients structure transactions and get deals done.  However, I wasn't crazy about the hours, the pressure to please client management, and the crazy amount of work that had to be done with the implementation of PCAOB inspections.
4) What's this survey about?
This survey examines how the pressures that every audit senior faces (from their firm, from regulators, from their clients, from their own self-interest) influence their judgments.  I am looking for auditors with one to five years of experience to read a case study and answer some questions about how they would respond to a specific situation and how they think their peers would respond.
5) Why do you want to survey this audience?

 I want to survey this audience because they are honest.  Not everything in public accounting is bad, but there is a lot that can be fixed.  Often, individual auditors are afraid to give honest feedback to their firms because the firms do not necessarily want to hear the truth and may punish those who speak up.  This study is totally anonymous so people can feel free to speak up.  I am hoping to identify a real issue that exists in public accounting and then come up with a way to fix it. Receiving honest feedback from actual audit seniors will make it hard for the firms to turn a blind eye to a real issue.

There you have it. If you're a an auditor with 1-5 years experience, then go here to take the survey. It's open until August 15th, so don't waste any time. Michele appreciates the solid. 

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