Helen Brown, assistant professor, accounting
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Specialization: Judgment and decision in auditing
Representative publication: “Auditor-Client Negotiation: An Examination of the Influence of Psychological and Environmental Factors,” Ph.D. dissertation
I decided I wanted to become an accountant in high school. I was from a low-income family in the South Bronx, and my goal was to get a college education and enter a field where I could make a nice living. My accounting teacher impressed me because he was a businessperson, he drove a nice car, and I was curious as to how he could afford to do that on a teacher’s salary. It turned out he was also a CPA. But while I was at college, I developed an interest in the decision-making aspects of accounting.
Accounting failures and corporate scandals made me want to know why people make certain types of financial decisions. Sometimes business people assume that there is a set of right and wrong answers, but that’s not always the case. You need to be able to interpret, to analyze. These are the same challenges that made me interested in becoming a faculty member. That curiosity. It’s the wanting to know why that makes accounting interesting.