Texas Tech University

Accounting Professor Completes Prestigious Academic Fellowship with Big Four Accounting Firm

Hailey Walker

August 14, 2020

Yi-Jing Wu

Yi-Jing Wu looks forward to applying her academic fellowship experience with KPMG to enhance student understandings of evolving auditing standards and technologies.

Yi-Jing Wu, associate professor of accounting at Texas Tech University's  Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, recently completed a prestigious two-year academic fellowship with global tax, audit and advisory firm, KPMG.

"I am truly grateful to KPMG, the School of Accounting, Rawls College and Dean Margaret Williams for this amazing opportunity," said Wu. "I am very excited to be back at Texas Tech and to share the new insights I have gained with my students to better prepare them for the rapid changes in how audits are being conducted with advances in technology."

Before her appointment in 2018, Wu was contacted by KPMG and encouraged to apply for the firm's academic fellowship. Faculty members from various universities nationwide were considered; however, after two virtual interviews with firm partners and an onsite visit, Wu was selected for the competitive opportunity. Her tenure status, professional background, experimental audit research expertise, editorial board experience and published audit research in top-tier accounting journals all contributed to her selection.

"Yi-Jing's selection for this opportunity was great for KPMG, for her, for the School of Accounting, and for our students," said the Frank M. Burke Chair in Taxation and Director of the School of Accounting, Robert Ricketts. "Her selection highlights the professional respect that she and the School of Accounting have earned in the practice community and further strengthens her and our relationships with that community. It benefits our students tremendously as she will be able to share the most current thoughts and practices in the auditing profession with our students. We are very proud to have Professor Wu on our faculty and very thankful to KPMG for their support."

As an academic fellow, Wu served as the Director of Academic Research at KPMG's Global Solutions Group, a division charged with updating firm-wide (both U.S. and international) audit guidance, knowledge, and methodology. In her role, Wu was responsible for (1) evaluating academic research proposals submitted for access to auditor participants and/or research grants sponsored by KPMG; (2) coordinating academic visits and presentations related to KPMG sponsored research projects; and (3) participating in projects by offering research expertise and perspective to audit guidance and proposed methodology changes.

Additionally, Wu promoted and facilitated interaction between KPMG and leading academic audit researchers in an effort to address important research questions encountered by the firm nationally and internationally.

"I offered research insights and provided summaries of relevant academic research to inform KPMG regarding various methodology and audit guidance revisions and updates," said Wu. "Collectively, there are numerous areas of audit research, including research of my own, that have important practice implications for KPMG and other accounting firms."

Her experience as an academic fellow allowed Wu to increase her understanding of key challenges encountered by audit professionals, trends in audit methodology and practice, and relevant insights for practitioners from areas of academic research.

"After two years with the KPMG Global Services Group, I was able to update my knowledge regarding challenges auditors encounter. I have also gained valuable insights regarding the process behind how an international accounting firm updates its firm-wide audit guidance and methodology to be implemented by its network of firms worldwide," said Wu. "Importantly, I now have a better understanding of challenges and current practices around the use of emerging audit techniques such as data analytics, and emerging technologies such as AI and robotic process automation, in financial statement audits."

Wu believes her experiences with KPMG will greatly enrich her research and teaching activities as well as enhance student learning.

"The insights gained through this experience have informed my research by helping me focus on research questions that are more relevant and of interest to audit regulators, accounting firms, and practitioners," said Wu. "I have no doubt that this experience will enhance the materials I cover in my undergraduate auditing course. This course will benefit from many of the insights gained through my experience at KPMG, which will help students develop the critical skills necessary to adapt to the rapid changes in auditing standards and emerging technologies."

In the future, Wu plans to continue a strong relationship with KMPG given the firm's continued support of academic research and her holding the endowed KPMG Accounting Professorship at Rawls College.

"Auditing requires a tremendous amount of critical thought and the application of professional judgment. Professor Wu is perfectly suited to help our students develop their skills in both areas, and this opportunity to work with a Big Four international accounting firm in its national practice office will allow her to better align her students' classroom experiences with the professional environment in which they will soon be working," said Ricketts. "This was the very definition of a "win-win" opportunity for Wu, the School of Accounting and KPMG. From here, anything truly is possible."