John Campbell, associate professor and the Ernst & Young Faculty Fellow in the Terry College of Business, explores whether accounting and disclosure rule changes have their intended effects—or create unintended consequences.
Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I have a Bachelor of Science in analytical finance from Wake Forest University, a Master of Science in accountancy from Wake Forest University, and a Ph.D. in management from the University of Arizona. I am currently an associate professor in the J.M. Tull School of Accounting, where I also am designated as the Ernst & Young (EY) Faculty Fellow and the coordinator of our Ph.D. program.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I came to UGA in July 2010 after graduating from a Ph.D. program at the University of Arizona. I came to UGA over my other offers because of the mentoring of the senior faculty in my department and the quality of our students. Our senior faculty in accounting promote a positive atmosphere where we celebrate each others’ successes and recognize that when one of us succeeds, we all succeed. They help junior professors with their research and with navigating the publication process. They also care that a professor does a good job in the classroom and as a colleague. Finally, our students are extraordinarily bright, hard-working and happy (because in this last year, 100 percent of them got jobs).
What are your favorite courses and why?
My favorite courses are the two that I currently teach: “Intermediate Accounting III” for undergraduates and “Capital Markets Research” for doctoral students. I like “Intermediate III” because it focuses on accounting for more complex financial transactions—many of which I tend to do research on. I like the doctoral seminar because it reminds me why I do research, and it keeps me connected to our doctoral students.
What interests you about your field?
Accounting is crucial to a well-functioning capital market system. It is the system through which companies that need money can be matched up with people who have money (i.e., investors). So, accounting is very important to making sure that investors can rely on the data they are getting. In terms of research, I think it is incredible that we have access to data that allows us to examine whether accounting and disclosure rule changes had their intended effects or created unintended consequences.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
My career highlights at UGA include being selected for the university-wide Lilly Teaching Fellows program and developing research relationships with my faculty colleagues. Two other things stand out. First, the publication I’m most proud of was with a doctoral student who was able to get a tenure-track job at a well-respected research university because of that publication. Second, I’m very proud of our faculty and doctoral student recruiting since I have been at UGA. Just recently, I was looking through our faculty directory and thinking, “Wow, I am so honored to work with every single one of these people.”
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
In each of the last four years, I have visited the organization that develops generally accepted accounting standards (the Financial Accounting Standards Board) where I am able to discuss current standard setting issues with regulators. There, I can share the findings of my research, learn about others’ research findings, and take that knowledge to inform both my research and teaching.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
While I hope they learn facts that help them pass the CPA exam and perform well in their jobs, my number one hope is that they learn how good they are. That they are able to recognize the true joy in working hard, seeing that pay off, and recognizing that they can achieve whatever they put their mind to.
Describe your ideal student.
A student who works hard and is humble and honest. All of these things are within the control of a student. As they say, the majority of success can be attributed to attitude. Notice that I said nothing about intelligence.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
In my classroom with my students.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
Run on my treadmill and play tennis. And watch UGA football, Wake Forest “athletics,” and Arizona basketball. Go Dawgs/Deacs/Cats!
Community/civic involvement includes….
I am on the board of directors of the local Athens U.S. Tennis Association league. My family and I are regular volunteers at a local nursing home. And finally, my wife Erin has started a nonprofit organization (Athens Area Diaper Drive) whose mission is to distribute diapers to families in the Athens area that cannot afford them.
Favorite book/movie (and why)?
“Cars.” “Lightning McQueen” is hilarious and (I am willing to admit this) I cried at the end the first time I saw it when the young hotshot realized that success doesn’t mean anything if you don’t value your family and friends.
Proudest moment at UGA?
Watching my two young daughters, Katherine and Elizabeth, grow up as part of the UGA community. I know they’ll welcome their new baby sister in December and show her how wonderful it is to be a Dawg.
(Originally published Nov. 6, 2016)