A new faculty member in the Odette School of Business is hoping to build on the department’s existing strengths and make it an even more research-intensive institution.
“There clearly is an intention to change the culture, and I came here with the intent to be a part of that change,” says Alan Richardson an accounting professor and the new Odette Research Chair.
Dr. Richardson comes to Odette via the Schulich School of Business at York University, where he’s been for the last eight years, spending part of his time there as chair of the accounting area. Prior to that, he spent 18 years at Queen’s University in Kingston, where he earned his PhD in 1985. He was associate dean of Queen’s Business School, director of its advanced accounting program and chair of its research program.
One of Richardson’s roles will be to provide mentorship to more junior faculty members developing their research programs, while actively maintaining his own, which focuses on the role of accounting in managing transnational communications networks and the relationship between transnational standards and local implementation.
A Certified General Accountant and a Fellow of the Certified General Accountants of Canada, Richardson said he’s studying why countries would choose to follow transnational accounting standards established by the board of the International Accounting Standards Committee.
“Implementing these standards is more of a problem in developing countries, but the IASC has no real legitimacy there,” he said. “These aren’t standards that have been imposed by the United Nations, so why would individual countries choose to comply? And can they implement standards designed with well-developed capital markets and a mature accounting profession in mind?”
Richardson will be teaching a new course on sustainability reporting, which he said will be of interest to students in science and engineering.
“There’s a greater emphasis these days in the corporate world on measuring social and environmental performance, but accountants don’t have that expertise,” he explained. “Out of 250 of the largest companies in the world, 95 per cent of them have released some sort of sustainability report. But they have to rely on people in engineering or science to make sure they’re using the right standards of measurement.”
Richardson is the father of two young adults, a son who is teaching English in Korea, and a daughter who is finishing up a master’s degree in human kinetics at Western University.