Annita Florou and the Effects of Accounting on the EconomyAFTER AN ORIGINAL ACADEMIC CAREER, WHICH ALSO PASSED THROUGH AN MBA, THE NEW FULL PROFESSOR DEALS WITH FINANCIAL REPORTING AND AUDITING
Being the daughter of the financial manager of the Coca-Cola Company in Greece gave Annita Florou the appetite for business studies. “Start with something practical, my father used to tell me. He saw Accounting as a solid educational base to build on and I took his advice”. Twenty years later, Accounting is much more for Professor Florou. She researches on auditor regulation and the effects of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). She is a new arrival at the Department of Accounting of Bocconi, coming from Queen Mary University of London. “My research relates to Institutional Economics. And being at Bocconi is also an opportunity to interact with top economists”.
Annita Florou began to contemplate the idea of pursuing an academic career during the Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, where she grew up. “I always had a curious mind and academia allowed me to search for the answers I was looking for. In addition to this, I enjoyed the autonomy and flexibility that this job promised”. Oddly enough for a student willing to become an academic, she did not leave Greece to do a Master of Science or a PhD, but to enroll in a Master of Business Administration in Manchester. “I thought that this practical orientation would have eventually turned useful as an academic”. Later on she earned a PhD in Accounting from the University of Warwick.
Professor Florou’s first publications dealt with corporate governance. In the last ten years or so she moved on to research on financial reporting and auditing issues. “I am trying to understand the capital market consequences of the harmonization of international financial reporting as well as the interactions between institutional factors and financial reporting regulation. Does the transition to IFRS affect the flow of investments across economic and institutional borders? And what happens to the debt markets? If there are benefits, do they materialize in all countries or do they depend on the underlying institutions of each country?”. The results indicate significant positive capital market effects associated with the transition to the IFRS reporting regime. “My papers also document the importance of the enforcement regime and other institutional reforms in realizing the aforementioned benefits”.
The directives of the European Union are at the heart of Professor Florou’s current research. “The EU usually sets a general framework. For political reasons, it leaves a lot of room for flexibility. These variations are interesting”. She is studying the transition in the regulation of auditors in the EU from the peer review system to the creation of independent monitoring bodies. She is investigating the effects of alternative public oversight designs on the pricing and quality of the audits performed. Having more data would be useful, she says. “Accounting regulators are reluctant to interact with academics and to build from our findings. They sit on a large amount of very useful data, but they are unwilling to share them”.
Professor Florou is the academic advisor of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), sits on the editorial board of the Contemporary Accounting Research journal and has been the recipient of a Marie Curie grant for a Research Training Network on the topic of international financial reporting standards. “It was also a valuable administrative experience as I acted as a Scientific Coordinator”. In Milan, she is teaching the English class of Financial Reporting and International Accounting Standards. “Some academic says that teaching is our duty and researching is our hobby. I do not agree. I enjoy teaching and interacting with students. In some cases, it can be a stimulus for research”. She loves to spend time with her children and to exercise. “One of the first things I do when I move to a new town is to look for a good gym. I do pilates and yoga. Keeping your body in shape is good for your brain”.
Find out more
Annita Florou, Peter F. Pope, Mandatory IFRS adoption and institutional investment decisions, The Accounting Review 87 (6), 2012
Annita Florou, Urska Kosi, Does mandatory IFRS adoption facilitate debt financing?, Review of Accounting Studies 20 (4), 2015
Annita Florou, Yuan Shuai, The costs and benefits of public oversight: Evidence from the EU, SSRN Electronic Journal, 2017
by Claudio Todesco