Dana Hermanson often takes a practical approach to accounting and auditing research, seeking to examine problems faced by the profession. Using this approach, he’s been studying fraud, auditing, and boardroom issues during his 20 years at Kennesaw State University.
Hermanson, the Dinos Eminent Scholar Chair, professor of accountancy and director of research for the Corporate Governance Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business, said that incidence of fraud is down from what it was 10 years ago, but the auditing profession continues to try to reduce the risk of fraud.
Hermanson, along with a colleague from North Carolina State University and two others from the University of Tennessee, recently conducted a research study on auditor involvement in fraudulent financial reporting cases cited in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions issued from 1998-2010.
The study, commissioned by the Center for Audit Quality, a public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., identified the root causes of fraud-related problems with external auditors, providing insight into the way audit procedures are executed to lower the incidence of undetected fraudulent financial reporting in the future. Their study garnered national media attention from Forbes, Compliance Week and Reuters.
Hermanson believes that taking that kind of practical, real-world approach to research, like many Kennesaw State professors do, is beneficial to the accounting profession. He looks at trends in fraud but also explores what is happening in auditing practice and in the boardroom.
Hermanson has worked with several Coles College faculty (Rich Clune, James Tompkins, Raj Veliyath, and Shelly Ye) on a series of interview-based studies examining how corporate directors perform their duties. These studies have examined compensation committees, nominating committees, and strategy committees, providing new insights into the processes used by corporate directors.
“One of the great things about Kennesaw State is that faculty have the freedom to pursue a wide variety of research topics and publication outlets,” Hermanson said. “As a result, we often are able to directly address practice issues and contribute to the professional community.”