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Interview: Yasemin Karaibrahimoglu on financial reporting and corporate governance

Date:16 August 2017
Yasemin Karaibrahimoglu is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business.
Yasemin Karaibrahimoglu is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business.

Yasemin Karaibrahimoglu came back to Groningen after she spent part of her Bachelor studies as an exchange student at the University of Groningen (UoG). She is now an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business and is looking forward to developing her international network through new collaborations.

Q. Why did you choose Groningen?

A. Before coming here, I was aware of the quality of the research and the position of University of Groningen in international rankings. Additionally, UG’s emphasis on cultural diversity and internationalisation fit extremely well with my intention to develop an international network to gain new academic perspectives. Beside the professional reasons, I had personal reasons to come to Groningen. Although I frequently complain about the weather, I believe that Groningen and I have strong connections. In the last year of my bachelor study, I was an exchange student at UoG and I had good memories of the university, Dutch culture, and Groningen. After finishing my bachelor studies, I returned to Izmir, Turkey, but a year later, for a work-related visit, I found myself in Groningen again. So, when I saw the academic position offered by FEB, without any hesitation, I applied.

Q. Could you tell us more about your career so far?

A. I started my academic career in 2006 as a PhD student in Turkey at Izmir University of Economics. During my Ph.D., I was a visiting researcher at the University of Texas at Dallas in the US and a visiting research fellow at Lancaster University, in the UK. After receiving my Ph.D., I worked as an Assistant Professor at the Izmir University of Economics for about three years and a half. I noticed that I wanted to be part of an international academic environment where I could collaborate with other top scholars in my field. While I was struggling with those feelings, I received an e-mail regarding international academic position offerings. Because of my previous experience in Groningen, FEB caught my attention. I followed all the signs, and now I am here in Groningen since August 2014!

Q. Your discipline is accounting. What issues are dealt with in your research?

I like working on multiple projects and collaborating with different research teams. Currently, my research focuses on two main streams. The first stream of research examines whether and how financial reporting and auditing practices and regulations affect organisational outcomes and contracts. For example, together with my co-author, Vlad Porumb, we examine whether the voluntary audit review of quarterly reports is negatively associated with firms’ cost of debt. Similarly, in a second paper, with my co-authors, Vlad Porumb, Reggy Hooghiemstra, Dick de Waard, we focus on the implications of the regulation change regarding the content of the audit reports in the UK on loan contracting terms.

The second stream of research is about the impact of corporate governance, ownership structure and top management teams, particularly CEOs, on organizational outcomes, specifically earnings manipulation, firms’ ethical behaviour, and social responsibility. For example, with my co-authors Joel Bothello, Vlad Porumb, Selen Kars, we examine the implications of business group affiliation and characteristics on firms’ social performance. Another research project aims to understand how CEOs’ brand value, characteristics and personal traits affect the accounting choices, financial reporting quality or financial risk particularly if the CEO overemphasises his/her brand over the corporate brand. Two other papers in this stream examine the determinants of board gender diversity and the implications of female representation on the boards for financial reporting and social contribution.

Q. And how about societal relevance?

People have predetermined ideas regarding accountants and accounting research. Unlike common belief, an accountant is not a “bean counter” and accounting research is not limited to “journal entries”. Accounting is an information system, which presents information regarding organisations’ financial performance and situation. Considering today’s complicated business world, the interrelated organisations, the level of consumption and investment, individuals and organisations are connected through various channels. That makes “accounting” and “reported numbers” relevant for all individuals. Thus, it is clear that any practice, regulation and mechanism which affect the credibility of financial numbers have a societal value.

Q. What can we expect from you in the future?

A. My future research plan is to follow up the current projects from different perspectives. Since I started working at FEB, I found the opportunity to develop my research projects by initiating new collaborations with Dutch and international colleagues, who enlightened me with new perspectives. I intend to strengthen my projects with new networks and contribute to the department’s research output. Moreover, considering the importance of multidisciplinary research, I also aim to enhance the multidisciplinary research in accounting to show how accounting information may contribute to other business studies.

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