Beck Wins Best Paper at Accounting Conference

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Amanda Beck (new window), accounting lecturer at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, won Best Conference Paper at the 2017 Review of Accounting Studies Conference. Beck was one of six academics invited to present at the conference, held October 13-14 in Barcelona, Spain. The meeting focuses on research pertaining to all aspects of accounting and is hosted by the academic journal of the same name.

Beck’s paper, titled “Opportunistic Financial Reporting Around Municipal Bond Issues,” aims to understand how government officials exercise discretion over financial reporting, specifically prior to bond issuance. The paper is an excerpt of her Ph.D. dissertation.

Beck first became interested in the topic as a first-year Ph.D. student when her professor encouraged her to explore the intersection between capital markets and governmental accounting. While conducting her research, Beck read work by Reining Petacchi and Bill Baber, both of whom are accounting faculty at Georgetown McDonough.

“There’s not a better place to do this type of research than Georgetown,” Beck said. “I can’t think of another place in the country where you have three faculty members working on this area of research.”

Beck touched on the importance her research has on the real world. “As citizens and especially as academics, it’s important for us to be able to hold the government accountable,” Beck said. “The first step to be able to do that is to understand what their reporting incentives are and how they can use the discretion available to them to paint a better picture than might actually be the underlying economics.”

Although the award serves as personal recognition for Beck, she also hopes that it highlights the research area of governmental accounting. “I was given the opportunity through this paper to introduce this area of research to a lot of people who may not have known about it before,” Beck said. “I think it’s very important, and I’d like to see more people get involved in it.”