William H. Baughn Faculty Fellow • Chair of the Accounting Division • Professor

Koelbel - 402V

Sarah Zechman is interested in firm communications, financial reporting choices, and managerial incentives. Before joining the Leeds School in 2015, she taught at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Zechman is currently a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Accounting Research and The Accounting Review.  Her research has been cited in various press outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Bloomberg Businessweek.  In 2015, she was awarded the Best Paper award in financial accounting for “Executive Overconfidence and the Slippery Slope to Financial Misreporting” and, in 2009, she was awarded the Best Dissertation award in financial accounting for “The Relationship between Voluntary Disclosure and Financial Reporting: Evidence from Synthetic Leases,” both from the American Accounting Association.

Prior to earning her PhD, she spent several years at KPMG LLP, where she worked in transaction structuring services and business management processes. She is also a certified public accountant. 

"In working with companies and investment bankers to develop and evaluate alternative structures, I found diverse motivations that incorporated cash flow, financial reporting, and tax-related goals. Our discussions often incorporated anticipated stakeholder perception in evaluating the trade-offs across various alternatives. These professional experiences lend practical examples to course materials, especially in illustrating how firms can use accounting and structuring decisions to alter their reported financial appearance."

Zechman earned a BSBA in accounting in 1998 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating first in her class. In 2008, she completed a PhD in accounting from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.