MS in Accounting Blog

Faculty Spotlight: Professor Julia Yu

Julia Yu smilingProfessor Julia Yu has expertise in financial reporting, voluntary disclosure, and corporate governance. Her current research interests focus on linguistic properties of corporate disclosure and financial statement fraud detection. Professor Yu’s work has been presented at leading business schools and various national and international conferences. Professor Yu has taught a variety of courses in financial accounting and reporting at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Before joining the University of Virginia, she was a faculty member at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

In what areas do you see the greatest professional development among your M.S. in Accounting students from the beginning of the Program through graduation?

I see my students graduate from the Program with a comprehensive understanding of how the capital market works and the important roles the accounting profession plays in the capital market. A series of required and elective courses are designed to help students learn accounting from various viewpoints, including the perspectives of information providers (e.g., corporate insiders and tax consultant), information intermediators (e.g., financial analysts), information validators (e.g., auditors), and overseers of the information environment (e.g., regulators and standard setters). Students gain useful and practical knowledge and skills about different areas in accounting profession through case discussions, data analysis, team projects, and presentations. Such experience helps students see the big picture of the business world and set long-term goals for a successful professional career.

What are the biggest difference between a typical undergraduate business course and a graduate-level course such as “Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation”?

My personal view is that undergraduate business courses tend to focus more on the “what” and “how,” whereas graduate-level courses focus more on the “why” and “how.” For example, I have taught an undergraduate-level “Intermediate Financial Accounting” course before, in which students learn about what goodwill impairment is and how to calculate the impairment loss. In my graduate “Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation” course, my students learn why often times managers release pro forma earnings and analysts prepare street earnings and how to reconcile GAAP earnings and non-GAAP measures. A major theme of my graduate- level course is to help students realize there is not always a single “right answer” for real-world accounting problems and to make them feel confident in making decisions that require judgments and estimations.

What differentiates McIntire from other universities you have worked at in the past?

The students. We all know that McIntire is a close-knit community. Faculty and staff members make tremendous efforts to provide a supportive environment for students to thrive and succeed. I think this “students come first” culture has some magical powers on how students treat their professors as well. My students here at McIntire show real respect and sincere care to their professors. In the first month, when I had just relocated to Charlottesville from Singapore, I hadn’t bought a car, and my students took me grocery shopping. I often have students drop by my office to chat with me. I have received warm greeting emails from former students asking me how things are going. I very much enjoy the interaction with students here at McIntire.

Outside of McIntire, what are your favorite things to do in Charlottesville and the surrounding area?

My husband and I enjoy movie nights at the Alamo Drafthouse. We love to explore new restaurants and unique boutique stores on the Downtown Mall, visit local vineyards and farms, and take our dog, Rocky, to hike in Shenandoah National Park.

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