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WSB’s Karla M. Zehms Named Outstanding Auditing Educator by American Accounting Association

By Wisconsin School of Business

January 21, 2022

headshot of Karla Zehms
WSB’s Karla M. Zehms

Karla M. Zehms (MAcc ‘91), the Ernst & Young Professor in Accounting and the associate dean of research & PhD programs at the Wisconsin School of Business, is the recipient of the Outstanding Auditing Educator Award from the American Accounting Association’s Auditing Section.

The American Accounting Association (AAA) award is conferred annually and recognizes outstanding achievements in research or teaching in the field of auditing. The award recognizes exemplary contributions in research and/or teaching over a sustained period of time as evidenced by publications, educational innovations, guidance to graduate and undergraduate students, or excellence in teaching.

In his nomination letter, AAA member, Wisconsin alumnus, and Kennesaw State University Professor Dana Hermanson (PhD ’93) had this to say about Zehms:

“Since earning her PhD in 1997, Karla has been a true leader in the academic auditing profession through her teaching, mentoring of doctoral students and junior faculty, building of a remarkable body of rigorous and relevant research, co-authoring a leading auditing textbook, and serving in a broad range of leading service roles. Karla excels in all facets of academic life, and she serves as a great inspiration to those around her … Karla’s greatest teaching passion likely is her doctoral students. She has served on 17 dissertation committees and has been the chairperson of nine of those. Her students’ accomplishments while working with her include serving as a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Economic Research Fellow, receiving a Deloitte Foundation Accounting Fellowship, receiving the AAA/Grant Thornton Doctoral Dissertation Award, receiving the Gil Geis Memorial Ph.D. Scholarship, and being recognized for the Auditing Section Best Paper Co-Authored with a Ph.D. student. These accomplishments would not have been possible without Karla’s direction, support, and guidance.”

Terry Warfield, senior associate dean at WSB, adds the following about Zehms:

“Karla embodies all of the excellence attributes of many of our Wisconsin School of Business faculty. Her recognition in this prestigious award attests to her distinguished contributions as an educator and scholar in the best traditions of the Wisconsin Idea. We are proud to count her as our colleague.”

Zehms has been active in serving the AAA, having recently served as president of the Auditing Section. She is also a 2016 recipient of WSB’s Erwin A. Gaumnitz Distinguished Research Award, a peer-nominated award based on research quality, significance, and productivity.

Her research interests include auditor decision-making in relation to risk assessment, corporate governance, auditor client acceptance and continuation decisions, auditor-client negotiation, and accounting curriculum effectiveness.

Zehms received the award at the Auditing Section’s midyear meeting this month.

Founded in 1916, the AAA is the largest community of accountants in academia. The organization serves to further the discipline and profession of accounting through education, research, and service.