David Weber



Accounting Professor’s Big Focus: Preventing, Detecting Corporate Tax Loopholes

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Assistant professor of accounting Frank Murphy is very familiar with the demands placed on UConn’s undergraduate accounting majors. Just 13 years ago, he was in their shoes.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in business from UConn in 2007, Murphy worked at Deloitte in Hartford for six years, performing international tax consulting for Fortune 100 clients. He also completed a masters from Bentley University, a Ph.D. from University of Arizona and became a licensed CPA.

He returned to UConn as a faculty member in 2017.

“Many of the professors who I had as an undergraduate have retired, but Dave Weber is one of the faculty members who instructed me, and someone who I now work with often,” Murphy said. “I think it’s great when professionally things come full circle.”

“What I enjoy most about my job is conducting research and having complete creative freedom to pursue topics that interest me,” he said. “I also love working with the Ph.D. students who are so driven and give 110 percent to truly becoming a scholar.”

Murphy specializes in corporate taxation, primarily focusing on international tax planning and financial reporting issues. Below he answers questions about his work.

Q: What is the business problem that you most want to address as a researcher?

A: Well, there are two. In the realm of public finance, academics are trying to work with Congress, the European Union, and other governing bodies on issues surrounding how large, multinational corporations avoid taxes. When nations write tax policies, there are always going to ambiguities in the law and unintended consequences. At this point, the general sentiment among policymakers, and the public, is that large multinational firms are not paying their fair share. What is “fair” is subjective, but as an academy we are still trying to determine how much and what types of firms are most likely to move profits offshore for tax purposes. This policy frontier is exciting for researchers like myself, and one of the focuses of my work.

Another interest of mine is how we disclose tax information. You hear, for example, people talking about Amazon and how they can’t tell whether the company pays tax or how much it pays. I’m interested in this type of tax disclosure. Anyone who has ever picked up a financial statement and tried to read the tax footnote likely thinks, ‘There must be a better way than this!’ My research helps identify how firms may want to supplement their reporting to aid financial statement users.

Assistant professor Frank Murphy (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)
Assistant professor Frank Murphy (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)

Q: What is on your research ‘bucket list’?

A: In the future, I’d like to have the opportunity to run some field experiments with government agencies. It would be interesting to work with state agencies to delve more deeply into their tax structure to see how it influences actions. For example, the revenue estimates for the 10¢ plastic bag tax have been far off the mark. The reason is that we did not have a strong grasp on how quickly consumers or stores would change their shopping bag practices. The goal of this research would be to further understand how taxes influence real decision making. It would be a huge time commitment, but something that would be very interesting.

Q: What advice do you offer to your students as they prepare for their careers? How much is ‘big data’ knowledge in demand?

A: Certainly any accounting student who can do computer coding or analyze statistical trends in data will be in tremendous demand in the job market right now. At the same time, that’s not our bread-and-butter. Our job is to understand the accounting field, and we ultimately aim to produce the next generation of CPAs. I think it is also important to note that our students shouldn’t have a single focus on taking classes to tackle ‘big data.’ Our world is increasingly quantitative, but there is an equally strong demand for writing and critical-thinking skills. In the accounting profession, I think those who are able to write a great email to a client are worth their weight in gold.



Ph.D. Alumna Erin Henry Honored for Outstanding Dissertation

Credits UConn Professors for Giving Her Confidence

UConn alumna Erin Henry ’14 Ph.D. recently received the American Taxation Association/PricewaterhouseCoopers Outstanding Dissertation Award for the research she completed as a UConn doctoral candidate.

Erin Henry (University of Tennessee)
Erin Henry (University of Tennessee)

Henry, who is now a professor at the University of Tennessee, submitted her dissertation work titled, “The Information Content of Tax Expense: a firm and Market-level Return Decomposition.”Continue Reading




Eight Outstanding School of Business Professors Earn 2015 Faculty Awards

A professor who used chocolate chip cookies to teach about quality control, three researchers who had work published in top journals, and an educator who vigorously promoted the School of Business were among the 2015 Faculty Award recipients.

“This year we honored eight outstanding faculty members for their exceptional research, teaching and leadership achievements,” said Associate Dean Sulin Ba. “The selection process was particularly difficult due to the dozens of impressive nominees. We are fortunate to have such talented, creative and remarkable colleagues.”Continue Reading


Does SOX 404 Have Teeth?

A regulation that is supposed to provide a warning bell and greater transparency for investors is hampered by a lack of enforcement, according to new research conducted by accounting professor David Weber.

Professor David Weber

The School of Business has awarded one of its 2015 Best Paper Awards to Weber for his research titled, “Does SOX 404 Have Teeth? Consequences of the Failure to Report Existing Internal Control Weaknesses,” co-authored with UConn doctoral student Biyu Wu and Sarah Rice of Texas A&M. It will appear in the American Accounting Association’s premier journal, The Accounting Review.

Continue Reading


Accounting, Finance Faculty Members Recognized for Outstanding Research

2015-03-20_facultyThe School of Business has awarded its 2015 Best Paper Award to professors David Weber, from accounting, and Jose Martinez, of finance, for their exceptional research articles that will appear in esteemed academic journals.

Weber’s research paper is titled, “Does SOX 404 Have Teeth? Consequences of the Failure to Report Existing Internal Control Weaknesses.”

“Picking Winners? Investment Consultants’ Recommendations of Fund Managers,” is the title of Martinez’s work. His paper also recently received a prize from the University of Cambridge and the Commonfund Institute.

“Both papers are to appear in very prestigious journals in their respective fields, The Accounting Review and Journal of Finance,” said Sulin Ba, associate dean of academic and research support. “The selection committee was particularly impressed by the public policy implications that came out of both research projects. These implications will have an impact on our society in the years to come.”

The competition was intense this year with 10 nominations, all papers accepted in top academic journals, Ba said.

“Dr. Weber’s paper, co-authored with Ph.D. student Biyu Wu, addresses the requirement that corporations and their auditors publicly disclose internal control weaknesses, which is one of the most contentious and costly provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act,” said Mohamed Hussein, accounting department head. “The study is important because it shows that the enforcement mechanisms surrounding internal control reporting are often ineffective and in some cases may even provide disincentives for compliance.”

“This paper is one of many research projects conducted by the UConn accounting faculty that addressed critical accounting and tax issues,” said Hussein, noting that UConn accounting faculty research has been cited in Congressional hearings and in the British Parliament.

Chinmoy Ghosh, department head in finance, said he is pleased with his colleague’s success.

“Within a very short period of time since arriving at UConn in August 2014, Jose has made a significant contribution in almost every aspect of the job. Acceptance of his paper by the Journal of Finance, the top journal in the discipline, brings tremendous visibility and prestige to the department and the school,” he said. “Very recently, his research has been recognized by a leading academic group in Europe. His style of teaching and knowledge drew great praise from the Risk Management students at both our Hartford and Stamford campuses.

“Jose has also shown great interest and objectivity in various academic issues currently under review by the department faculty. We are very pleased to have him as a colleague and look forward to many more productive years from him at the School of Business.”

The Best Paper Award is funded by the generous support of the Arnold M. Robin & Rochelle M. Robin Excellence Fund.

Related articles:

Professor Jose Martinez Earns Triple Recognition for Work on Dubious Investment Management

Professor David Weber Finds Lack of Enforcement Surrounds Key Provision of Sarbanes-Oxley Act


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Accounting Department Summer 2013 Newsletter Now Available

The Summer 2013 Accounting Department Newsletter is now available. There are many accomplishments by our students, faculty and alumni reported on the pages of this issue of the Newsletter. To highlight a few of these accomplishments, Emily Finn ’13 coordinated the VITA Program, which prepared 573 non-citizen tax returns. Emily and Kristina Allen ’09, ’13 MSA were selected as 2013 Hall of Fame Student Fellows. Annie Jensen ’13 was selected by the University Women’s Center as the School of Business recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Woman Academic Achievement Award. Congratulations to Ph.D. students Danielle Higgins and Li Qu for finishing their studies and best wishes for their faculty careers, Danielle at Baruch College and Li at Florida Atlantic University.

Congratulations to faculty members Sarah Rice and Dave Weber on their promotion to associate professors with tenure. Welcome to our new colleagues, Paul Glotzer and Arthur Schmeiser. Paul and Art bring a wealth of experience after distinguished service in the profession, Paul with the FASB and Shein, Cohen, Palmer & Company, LLC and Art as senior partner with Deloitte. In addition, we hope to add several tenure track faculty over the next two years.

» Access the Summer 2013 Accounting Department Newsletter (PDF)

In this issue:

  • Accountant of the Year
  • Annual Honors Banquet
  • New Advisory Council Members
  • Experiential Learning
  • Student Spotlight: Annie Jensen
  • Ph.D. Spotlight
  • 2013 Hall of Fame
  • Alumni Spotlights: Kimberly Foster, Pat Notti, and Scott Cowen
  • Alumni News & Notes
  • Faculty Accomplishments

Read the full newsletter here.


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