Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

A Knack for Numbers

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

A Knack for Numbers

Article excerpt

Paquita Friday

Title: Assistant Professor of Accounting, University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

Education: Ph.D., Accounting, University of Michigan; M.S., Accounting and Economics, University of Michigan; B.S., Business, University of Michigan; CPA, State of Michigan

Age: 36

Back in middle school Dr. Paquita Friday began helping keep books at her grandmother's pharmacy during inventory. It was no chore, she recalls. It was fun. By then, of course, she already knew she had a knack for numbers.

Today Friday is gaining recognition for her research in accounting stock market disclosures and winning awards for her teaching skills. She is also certain that the job as a professor is the best in the world.

Prior to teaching, Friday worked as an auditor for Deloitte and Touche, and she eventually planned to go to law school until she was recruited by the PhD Project, a program that aims to increase the diversity of business school faculty.

"Dr. Friday and others like her bring in real-world relevance to classrooms," says Dr. Bernard Milano, director of the New Jersey-based PhD Project. "She's bright and articulate and has done a tremendous job in mentoring."

With expertise in stock market disclosures, Friday's doctoral research focused on how stock market disclosures on companies in Mexico are misinterpreted in financial statements.

"In the U.S. we don't recognize the impact inflation has on financial statements. The dollar amounts are nominal, but inflation is low here. We ignore the significance," she says. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, she accepted a teaching position at Notre Dame in 1996.

One of her research focuses is pension accounting.

"Today companies are facing set-backs and pensions are a burden," she says. "Companies had over-funded pension plans for years, but not any longer. Accounting for pensions isn't always easy to understand."

In fact, it can be extremely confusing, even to those in the field. Companies promise to pay a fixed amount of salary to retirees. This amount was defined as a benefit by many older, industrial companies.

"But many of these companies, like airlines and steel companies, are filing for bankruptcy. …

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