Sarah Zechman is interested in firm communications, financial reporting choices, and managerial incentives. Before joining Chicago Booth in 2008, she taught at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 2009, she was awarded the Best Dissertation award in financial accounting from the American Accounting Association for “The Relationship Between Voluntary Disclosure and Financial Reporting: Evidence from Synthetic Leases.” In 2008, she was awarded the Best Paper award at the Review of Accounting Studies conference for “Explicit Relative Performance Evaluation in Performance-Vested Equity Grants”. In 2006, she was awarded the Glen McLaughlin Prize for Research in Accounting Ethics for "The Relationship Between Executive Compensation and Earnings Management: Changes in the Post-Sarbanes-Oxley Era". Zechman has received fellowships from the Deloitte & Touche Foundation, and the Wharton School, and was a doctoral fellow at the American Accounting Association and the European Accounting Association in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
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.
With Catherine Schrand, “Executive overconfidence and the slippery slope to financial misreporting,” Journal of Accounting and Economics (February/April 2012).
With Jonathan Rogers and Andrew Van Buskirk, “Disclosure tone and shareholder litigation,” The Accounting Review (November 2011).
“The relation between voluntary disclosure and financial reporting: Evidence from synthetic leases,” Journal of Accounting Research (June 2010).
With Mary Ellen Carter and Luann Lynch, "Change in bonus contracts in the post-Sarbanes-Oxley era," Review of Accounting Studies (December 2009).
With Mary Ellen Carter and Christopher Ittner, “Explicit relative performance evaluation in performance-vested equity grants,” Review of Accounting Studies (September 2009).