Cracking corporate codes


4 minute read

Louise Lu is an Associate Professor at the ANU College of Business and Economics’ (CBE) Research School of Accounting. Her research interests are in financial accounting, corporate social responsibility and corporate finance. 

“My passion lies in investigating corporations through an accounting lens. I focus on the socio-political impacts that emerge from boardrooms, as they shed light on the more pressing topics of corruption and ethnic diversity,” shares Louise, who secured her PhD from CBE in 2012.

Louise is currently working to characterise the effect employee illness has on corporate earnings forecasts and, in an unrelated project, to understand how Chief Executive Officer (CEO) behaviour is affected by the death of a colleague. 

“We find a significant increase in CEO pessimism following the passing of a colleague. This pessimism is evidenced through CEOs’ forecasts and in their external communications, such as conference calls. While the pessimism can be transitory, it has a significant economic influence in the capital market,” she explains. 

Louise has previously examined financial-statement comparability, voluntary disclosures, tax avoidance, the value of cash holdings, and stock price crash risks. Her work has been published in leading academic journals, including Journal of Accounting and Economics; The Accounting Review; Strategic Management Journal; Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory; Journal of Corporate Finance; European Accounting Review; Journal of Business Finance and Accounting; Journal of Business Ethics; and Accounting and Finance.

As well as conducting her own research, Louise makes a significant contribution to the broader research community through her work as a Deputy Editor at Accounting and Finance, and as Chair of the financial accounting technical committee of the Accounting & Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference. 

Recently, she also launched the Early Career Researchers Support Network (ECRSN), a dedicated platform to give a boost to early career researchers (ECRs), who she feels have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“At the start of 2020, as universities began to be squeezed by the pandemic, they unanimously cut their research and seminar budgets. This had a particularly significant effect on ECRs, including PhD students, who require strong support from the start of their academic career. Support in the form of attending conferences not only gave them access to researchers around the world, but laid a great foundation for developing ideas and forming collaborations,” she points out. 

Through regular virtual seminars and master classes, ECRSN provides young academics with the resources to synthesise their research and an environment to connect socially. Since its inception, the network has grown to over 100 members and includes several leading accounting academics from Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. 

“The objective is simple – staying connected and proactively supporting research engagement. This is proving to be a powerful method that helps both mental health and work productivity. It is important to feel that we are not alone,” asserts Louise, who will be hosting her next Zoom catch-up on 19 October

The College is always keen to explore research collaborations with the public and private sector and to reconnect with alumni. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about partnering with us.