Nan Zhou blends accounting expertise, research accomplishments into roles

Teaching and research the perfect combination for 2021 Lindner Research Excellence Award winner

For accounting professor Nan Zhou, PhD, the knowledge gained from accounting research enriches his approach to teaching, creating a perfect combination that contributes to his students’ future career success.

Zhou’s impressive track record in research and publications led him to be honored with the Lindner Research Excellence Award in spring 2021 – the first time this award has been bestowed on any faculty member from the accounting department. 

“There are many outstanding researchers at Lindner, so I am honored and humbled by this recognition,” said Zhou. 

A man and a woman in front of Lindner backdrop. Man on left is holding award and woman on right is holding certificate.

Nan Zhou, left, is presented with the Lindner Research Excellence Award at the Lindner Faculty & Staff Awards in April 2021 with Marianne Lewis, dean and professor of management at the Lindner College of Business.

The Lindner Research Excellence Award recognizes the research contributions of a tenured faculty member. Over the past five years, Zhou published 13 peer-reviewed articles, with four of them appearing in top-tier journals such as The Accounting Review, Contemporary Accounting Research, and Review of Accounting Studies, among others. Additionally, his publications have been paired with presentations at various conferences and research seminars.

Zhou’s research interests include auditing, financial reporting, and corporate governance. 

“My coauthors and I study how to price audit services for firms with strategic alliances, whether employee treatment policies have an effect on the integrity of internal control and financial reporting, and whether the initiation of audit committee interlocks is related to the contagion of accounting policy choices,” said Zhou.

Man with dark hair and silver glasses wearing a dark suit jacket, blue collared shirt and striped tie poses for a headshot

Nan Zhou is the Norwood and Marjorie Geis Chair of Accounting, the director of accounting PhD program and professor of accounting at Lindner.

A unique aspect of Zhou’s research is who he studies. An abundance of research explores the actions of the C-suite and top executives, whereas Zhou looks deeper into organizations, focusing on the actions of mid-level employees. 

Zhou understands that bringing theory and practice together in accounting can be difficult for instructors, but this practice is critical in helping students advance from grasping abstract ideas to putting them into practice in real-life business applications.

“This content is challenging, so we have to illustrate these concepts,” said Zhou. “For example, in spring 2021, we used the unfolding GameStop saga to discuss the role of short sellers in the capital market.”

In addition to teaching and research, Zhou is the Norwood and Marjorie Geis Chair of Accounting and the director of the accounting PhD program, which relaunched in 2019 after a seven-year hiatus. He has grown the program to boast four students and is recruiting a new cohort who will join in fall 2022.

This content is challenging, so we have to illustrate these concepts. For example, in spring 2021, we used the unfolding GameStop saga to discuss the role of short sellers in the capital market.

Nan Zhoug, PhD Professor of accounting

Zhou finds himself mentoring PhD students to help them find their own balance of conducting exciting research and teaching in an ever-changing landscape, just as he has.

“The pandemic has significantly changed teaching in the accounting field, with more online teaching being blended into traditional in-person teaching,” said Zhou. “We are actively preparing our department’s PhD students for these environments.”

With a wide-ranging and deep body of research, a sharp eye for the latest headlines in business news that might be relevant for class discussions, and exciting momentum in the accounting PhD program, Zhou’s contributions are appreciated and felt throughout the department and college overall. 

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