Nanyang Business School Accounting Conference 2023

Theme: ESG and Accounting

The Nanyang Business School Accounting Conference will be held online by the Center for Accounting and Auditing Research (CAAR) of Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University Singapore on May 16-17, 2023. The theme of the conference will broadly be on the interplay between accounting and ESG (Environment, Social and Governance), with an emphasis on sustainability. While there is a preference for papers on ESG, manuscripts in all areas of research in accounting using all methodologies are welcome. We will invite a discussant for each accepted paper.

Based on publications in major accounting journals, Nanyang Technological University is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world for accounting research by Brigham Young University Accounting Research Ranking.


Paper Submission

Deadline for submission is closed. Accepted papers and conference programme is made available on this conference website. 



Registration is closed. Thank you for your interest. 

For more enquiries on the upcoming conference, you may visit this page or do contact: [email protected].


Programme Schedule

16 May 2023, Tuesday

8.20amOpening RemarksBy Prof Boh Wai Fong
Deputy Dean, Nanyang Business School,
Nanyang Technological University
8.30amPaper 1"Corporate Social Responsibility Committee: International Evidence"

Jenny Chu, Cambridge Judge Business School
Xi Li, London School of Economics and Political Science
Yuxia Zou, Cambridge Judge Business School

Presenter: Yuxia Zou, Cambridge Judge Business School
Discussant: Carolyn Deller, The Wharton School
Moderator: Huai Zhang, Nanyang Technological University

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We provide worldwide, large-sample evidence on an innovation in the corporate governance system which is the creation of a separate board committee monitoring and advising corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues, the CSR committee. We find that at the country level, CSR committees are more prevalent post CSR reporting regulation, and in countries with stronger environmental legislations and social norms. At the firm level, we find that firms with larger and more connected boards are more likely to have CSR committees. These firms derive more benefits from the knowledge specialization and task division that result from having a separate CSR committee while at the same time incurring lower hiring and search costs. Firms facing higher shareholder and stakeholder demand for CSR-related activities are also more likely to have CSR committees. Overall, the adoption of CSR committee reflects the cost-benefit tradeoffs. Our evidence suggests that CSR committees are on average effective. We find that CSR committees affect firms’ CSR risk and influence their operations. Firms with CSR committees experience a subsequent decline in profitability, sales growth, and investments, consistent with firms abandoning CSR-controversial projects under the heightened scrutiny of CSR committees. In the long run, such changes in corporate behavior help reduce firms’ risk of incurring negative CSR incidents..
9.30amPaper 2“Do auditors understand the implications of ESG issues for their audits? Evidence from financially material negative ESG incidents”

Daniel Aobdia, Pennsylvania State University
Aaron Yoon, Northwestern University

Presenter: Daniel Aobdia, Pennsylvania State University
Discussant: John Campbell, University of Georgia
Moderator: Cheong Foong Soon, Nanyang Technological University

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We exploit a unique dataset and test how well auditors integrate financially material ESG issues into their audits. Such issues may have implications about the effectiveness of clients’ internal controls over financial reporting (ICFR). We find that auditors fail to detect material weaknesses in ICFR when clients experience financially material negative ESG incidents, which eventually lead clients to restate their financial statements. Our results are strongest among the Big 4 auditors, when the PCAOB identifies more deficiencies in their audits of ICFR, when ESG incidents occurred sufficiently before the client’s fiscal year end or violated the law, and begin once the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board released standards that provided disclosure guidance on financial materiality of ESG issues. Overall, these results suggest that auditors overweigh their clients’ attempts at improving their internal controls following revelation of material ESG incidents. 
10.30amPaper 3“Rethinking the Workplace: A Person-Environment Fit Perspective of Auditor Burnout and Job Outcomes”

Bright Hong, Depaul University
Amy Kristof-Brown, University of Iowa
Alice Wang, University of Iowa

Presenter: Bright Hong, Depaul University
Discussant: Mark Peecher, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Moderator: Zheng Leitter, Nanyang Technological University

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Burnout and retention are important issues to organizations. Prior research attributes burnout to characteristics of auditors and their work environment separately. We propose that burnout is a result of misfit between auditors and their work environment. Task structure is a key dimension of the audit work. Unstructured tasks are more complex. We examine two types of fit related to unstructured tasks: demands-abilities fit (between auditors’ abilities to perform unstructured tasks and their job demands on these tasks) and needs-supplies fit (between auditors’ needs to perform unstructured tasks and their job supplies of these tasks). In contrast to the traditional emphasis on matching auditor abilities with job demands, we find that only needs- supplies misfit predicts burnout, which is in turn associated with worse auditor performance, lower job satisfaction, and higher intention to quit. Our study calls for increased attention to understanding and matching auditor needs.
11.30amPaper 4“Do Disruptive Climate Events Affect Environmental Regulators’ Monitoring?”

Grace Fan, Singapore Management University
Trung Nguyen, Harvard Business School
Xi Wu, University of California at Berkeley

Presenter: Grace Fan, Singapore Management University
Discussant: George Yang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Moderator: Huaxiang Yin, Nanyang Technological University

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We examine how experiences with disruptive climate events impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) monitoring activities. Using a difference-in-differences re- search design and exogenous variation in the exposure of EPA regional offices to major hurricanes, we find that exposed EPA regulators increase their monitoring efforts for facilities in their jurisdiction that are not hit by the disasters. This increase is measured by both inspection frequency and length, and the effects are greater for regional offices located closer to the disaster zone. Moreover, the exposed regional offices are more likely to take enforcement actions against these non-exposed facilities. Our results are consistent with EPA regulators changing their perceived risks of regulated facilities following disruptive climate events and exerting more monitoring efforts. We also find that these non-exposed facilities release fewer toxic chemicals in response to the in- creased scrutiny. Our findings highlight the importance of regulators’ experiences in shaping their monitoring activities and the subsequent effects on the regulated entities.
12.20pmEvent Ends 


17 May 2023, Wednesday


8.30amPaper 5The Product Market Effect of Mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting: Evidence from International Trades
Mark Ma, University of Pittsburgh
Rencheng Wang, Singapore Management University
Wenjia Yan, Nanjing University

Presenter: Mark Ma, University of Pittsburgh
Discussant: Frank Zhang, Yale University
Moderator: Alper Darendeli, Nanyang Technological University

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We examine how China’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting mandate in 2008 affects Chinese firms’ export performance. Using a difference-in-differences approach, our empirical analyses find that mandatory CSR reporting firms experience a significant increase in exports after the mandate, and this effect is driven by exports to customers in countries with high social mindfulness. Further analyses suggest that mandatory CSR reporting helps firms attract and retain socially mindful foreign customers through a reduction in information asymmetry regarding firms’ CSR activities and an improvement in firms’ CSR performance. Overall, our study contributes to the literature by providing novel evidence that mandatory CSR reporting improves firms’ product market performance. We believe our findings have important policy implications by documenting a product market benefit of mandatory CSR reporting.
9.30amPaper 6“Sell-Side Analysts’ Assessment of ESG Risk”

Min Park, University of Kansas
Aaron Yoon, Northwestern University
Tzachi Zach, Ohio State University

Presenter: Aaron Yoon, Northwestern University
Discussant: Stan Markov, University of Texas at Dallas
Moderator: Kelvin Law, Nanyang Technological University

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Financial analysts closely follow a firm’s operations and assess the risks that it faces. In this paper, we examine whether analysts incorporate ESG risks into their stock recommendations and target prices. Specifically, we use a unique firm-day level dataset on negative ESG risk incidents to proxy for unobservable risk assessments of analysts. We find that analyst outputs predict future ESG incidents, suggesting that analysts incorporate ESG risks into their models. Our results are robust to controlling for ESG incidents that firms experienced in the past, and are stronger in more transparent information environments, and in the presence of more guidance on ESG issues from the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. Importantly, we find that analysts incorporate ESG risks through adjusting discount rates rather than cash flow estimates. Overall, our results highlight the ability of financial analysts to synthesize and integrate ESG risks into their research.
10.30amPaper 7On the EPA’s Radar Screen: The Role of Financial Reports in Environmental Regulation

Bin Li, University of Houston
Annika Wang, University of Houston

Presenter: Annika Wang, University of Houston
Discussant: Daniel Cohen, Vanderbilt University
Moderator: Chung Byung Hun, Nanyang Technological University

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Our study investigates whether and how accounting information is relevant for the EPA’s regulatory process. Using unique data identifying the EPA’s direct access to SEC EDGAR filings, we first document that the EPA acquires information from thousands of public financial reports annually. Our main analysis focuses on how the EPA uses such information in three primary forms of regulation –– enforcement, monitoring, and rulemaking. We find that the EPA uses financial report information predominantly in the investigation stage of enforcement to support case resolution. We also find that the EPA uses financial reports in compliance monitoring to ensure the accuracy of self-reported records and the firm’s financial responsibility. For rulemaking, the EPA uses financial reports for the assessment of the costs and benefits associated with significant rule proposals. Our further analysis reveals that firm-level financial reports are more relevant for EPA enforcement than for monitoring and rulemaking. Overall, our paper highlights the importance of firm-level accounting information in environmental regulation.
11.30amPaper 8“Every emission you create–every dollar you’ll donate: The effect of regulation-induced pollution on corporate philanthropy?”

Seungho Choi, Queensland University of Technology
Raphael Park, University of Technology Sydney
Simon Xu, University of California at Berkeley

Presenter: Simon Xu, University of California at Berkeley
Discussant: Qiang Cheng, Singapore Management University
Moderator: Yuyan Guan, Nanyang Technological University

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We investigate the role of charitable giving as a form of reputation insurance by analyzing donations to nonprofits from philanthropic foundations of polluting firms. Our empirical setting exploits the National Ambient Air Quality Standards as localized exogenous shocks to pollution. Using regression discontinuity, we find that firms with more pollution subsequently donate more to local nonprofits. Firms maximize the insurance value of donations by reallocating donations to areas where they pollute the most. Potential mechanisms include firms’ local media coverage, reputational risk exposure, and history of regulatory noncompliance. Welfare analysis indicates that firms underpay for the insurance value of corporate philanthropy at the cost of society. Overall, the evidence suggests that insurance motives are a determinant of polluting firms’ participation in philanthropy.
12.20pmConcluding RemarksBy Prof Huai Zhang
Deputy Director, the Centre for Accounting & Auditing Research (CAAR)
12.30pmEvent Ends 


Singapore TimeEastern TimeCentral TimePacific Time
May 16
8:30 am
May 15
8:30 pm
May 15
7:30 pm
May 15
5:30 pm