Dr. Nathan Cannon: Scott Emerson Professor in Business Administration

The Scott Emerson Professor in Business Administration is awarded to a mid-career faculty member who combines impactful research with high-quality teaching and service. Dr. Nathan Cannon, an assistant professor in the Department of Accounting, has been on Texas State’sfaculty since 2013. Dr. Cannon received his PhD in Accounting from BentleyUniversity. 

Q: What are your goals and plans for the Professorship? 
A: Over the course of the last 8 years, my coauthors and I have developed a hand-coded, proprietary database of every broker dealer auditor opinion issued from 2006-2014; we also have collected a separate proprietary database of every regulatory sanction issued against a broker dealer during that same time period. This enables us to study the quality of audits performed in the U.S.—a topic of paramount importance to the auditing profession—in a detailed way previously not possible in the accounting literature. I have already used this database for one of my recent top-tier journal publications, but many additional important research questions remain. For instance, the SEC and PCAOB issued significant new regulations for broker dealers and their auditors in 2014, and future research will be needed to measure the effectiveness of these new regulations at meeting their intended objectives. The proprietary nature of this painstakingly collected database creates a significant barrier to entry for other researchers, but it will require additional hand coding and upkeep on our part to maintain. Although my research interests are diverse, the bulk of my research to date focuses on specialized areas in accounting where I have developed a recognized expertise: fair value measurements, and the broker dealer industry. As evidence of success in these areas, I have been able to consult with U.S. regulators—including the SEC and the PCAOB—on these research endeavors and have had my work cited prominently in new auditing standards issued by these regulators. 

Q: What do you think is most beneficial about the professorship? 
A: Time has been, and will no doubt continue to be, my biggest constraint to further research productivity. Acceptance rates at top tier accounting journals are low (high single digits), journal space is tight, and therefore competition for this limited journal space is intense. My recent appointment to this professorship will go a long way toward leveling the playing field with competing institutions and allow me the time and resources to leverage my expertise towards even greater research success. It also enables me to focus on developing further innovations in the classroom. 

Q: Can you give me some details about your research background?  
A: I spent several years working as a financial statement auditor for KPMG prior to entering academia, and I left public accounting with a strong desire to engage in research that extends our understanding of the audit environment, informs regulators about the effectiveness of enacted and proposed legislation/regulation, and ultimately improves the quality of audits relied on by investors around the world. I have developed a topical expertise in several specialized areas of accounting over the last decade, and I have leveraged that expertise to pursue interesting research questions in these areas using a variety of methodological tools. My research philosophy is to let the research question guide the research method, and not the other way around. This allows me to focus on identifying impactful and interesting research questions, and then pursue research that can contribute to the academic literature, inform regulators, and positively impact practice.  

Q: Can you talk a little about your journey here? How did you wind up at Texas State? 
A: I grew up in Las Vegas enjoying the great outdoors with my family (yes, there is much more to Las Vegas than just the casinos!). I graduated with my Bachelors and Masters in Accounting from Brigham Young University, and I then spent the next several years working as a financial statement auditor for KPMG—first in Honolulu, and then in their Salt Lake City office. I started a PhD program at Bentley University (in Boston) in 2009 and have been at Texas State since my graduation in 2013. My wife grew up in Austin, so we were thrilled at the opportunity to be able to live so close to family again. I have grown to love Texas State University, and I hope to be here for many years to come!