Whitman Professor Shares Passion for Accounting With Students
Professor of Accounting
I am proud when an undergraduate takes an interest in accounting during one of my courses, when a graduate student has a new or deeper appreciation for the complexities of taxation and when a doctoral student is successful in teaching and research. I enjoy being part of their educational journey.
Susan Albring ’98 M.S., professor of accounting at the Whitman School, is always excited to give sophomores their first taste of managerial accounting in an introductory class. Each new cohort represents an opportunity to share her enthusiasm — and maybe light a spark in her students, just like the one that fueled her passion for the field when she was their age.
“I became interested in accounting because one of my professors at Le Moyne College, Robert Dermody Jr., made the material and career intriguing,” Albring explains. “Now I aspire to have the same impact on students. I hope that after my class these sophomores, many of whom are trying to determine their major, will view accounting as a potential career or see how accounting can help them in their chosen major.”
Since Albring discovered accounting as a fit for her interests, she has followed her curiosity to collect extensive experience in both academia and industry. As a senior in college, she interned at the Syracuse office of PwC during the tax busy season.
“It was very exciting. I really enjoyed the teamwork, camaraderie and interaction with clients,” she says. Albring continued with the company in New York City after graduation, first gaining a better understanding of the audit process and then transferring into the tax department as a tax senior, with a major television network as her primary client. “I enjoy how accounting provides valuable financial information that can be used to make important decisions,” Albring says about her work.
A few years in, Albring realized she wanted to transition into education and research. Tutoring accounting students at Le Moyne College had planted the seed for an interest in teaching, and her attraction to research grew in seminars she took at Whitman while earning a master’s degree in accounting. Albring completed a Ph.D. in 2002 at the University of Arizona. There she drew inspiration from colleagues and friends such as Raynolde Pereira, her advisor, and Dan Dhaliwal, who sparked an interest in tax research.
“His passion for finding unique ways to answer questions was contagious,” Albring says. A native of Skaneateles, New York, and a passionate traveler—trips have taken her to China for a summer and to Europe—she also enjoyed hiking and living among the mountains around Tucson.
Albring joined the Whitman faculty in 2008 after four years at the University of South Florida in Tampa, happy to return to her roots, where her involvement in the community includes volunteering at a Syracuse food pantry and a local dog rescue. She has continued to broaden her horizon within accounting, especially by becoming more involved in chairing or serving as a member of dissertation committees.
“Projects with Ph.D. students have expanded my knowledge in other research areas outside of tax and bring me back to my experience as an auditor at PwC in New York,” says Albring, who was recently named an associate editor for Advances in Accounting.
The collaborations frequently result in publications. For example, a working paper on risk assessment with Mark Beasley, at North Carolina State University, and Omar Watts ’17 Ph.D., at St. John Fisher University, is under review. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Assurance Research Advisory Group granted the researchers access to about 90 partners, senior managers and managers at a mix of national and regional accounting firms who provided information about the risk assessment process and related audit responses.
“Risk is an important topic because auditors have struggled with the risk assessment process, resulting in ongoing revisions of auditing standards to enhance overall risk assessment,” Albring explains.
Another working paper with fifth-year doctoral student Kang Ho Cho and Xiaolu Xu ’13 Ph.D., at the University of Massachusetts Boston — a co-author on several articles and former advisee whose achievements Albring has followed with pride — provides insight into whether and how auditors respond to uncertainty in maintaining audit quality. And for a business-related teaching case on diversity, equity and inclusion, Albring has teamed with Mitch Franklin ’99, ’00 M.S., at Le Moyne, and Associate Professor Willie Reddic G’12 (MAX), ’13 Ph.D. — an idea that grew from classroom discussions with her students.
“Whitman students are intellectual, inquisitive and well-rounded; they share interesting experiences and ask thought-provoking questions,” says Albring. Deeply invested in their path in accounting, “I am proud when an undergraduate takes an interest in accounting during one of my courses, when a graduate student has a new or deeper appreciation for the complexities of taxation and when a doctoral student is successful in teaching and research. I enjoy being part of their educational journey.”
By Olivia Hall