Accounting is far more than just crunching numbers in a spreadsheet. An accounting degree can lead you to a wide array of career paths such as public accounting, corporate finance, consulting, and investment.”
“Thanks to the tech revolution, the repetitive work dramatically reduces, making room for more critical thinking and decision making,” she said.
The role of technology in accounting is particularly exciting to Zhang, and she makes sure to work it into her courses. Having taught at Kogod since 2006, she’s witnessed how the past decades’ technological advancements have made accounting more efficient and effective as a whole. In upcoming semesters, her goals include using the programming language Python to extract financial data and to explore how the artificial intelligence bot ChatGPT can be utilized in data analysis. By utilizing emerging technologies in her research and the classroom, Zhang hopes to develop cutting-edge skills in her students while also imparting the importance of facing technology issues head-on.
“The last decade has witnessed a remarkable digital revolution within the auditing sector. Advances in data standards and sophisticated analytics tools have boosted auditors’ capacity to efficiently process vast data sets and to offer more profound insights to their clients,” Zhang said. “However, alongside these strides are escalating risks related to data breaches, presenting new challenges that demand vigilant data security measures.”
Zhang will be looking into those challenges herself in the years to come. She’s intrigued by the role that technology has played and will continue to play in changing how financial reporting and auditing operate, and she already plans to make those questions part of her main research interests. She’s looking forward to passing along what she learns to her students as well.
I have a passion for mastering new software that markedly enhances the efficiency of data processing and transformation, and I enjoy sharing these discoveries with my students.”
As an accounting professor, Zhang’s role is multifaceted. She ensures that her students are experts in data analysis and decision-making and that they understand how accounting interacts with other disciplines. Beyond that, however, she aims to impart the importance of accounting in the financial world and reveal that it’s much more than looking at numbers. Zhang not only teaches the ins and outs of accounting but also why it matters to have good accountants in every field.
“Accountants are the guardians of financial integrity, which is the bedrock of the economy,” Zhang said. “With an accounting degree, students can have a rewarding career while making a real difference.” Kogod is home to plenty of students who are interested in a meaningful accounting career, and Zhang is ready—and excited—to teach them how to make it happen.