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Long-Time Accountant Brings Experience to Classroom

Oct. 21, 2013

Brown-haired woman in blue business suit.

Maia Farkas spent nine years as an accountant before deciding to teach. She joined Cal State Fullerton this fall.

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Maia Farkas spent nearly nine years as a corporate and tax accountant and was working on a master of taxation at the University of San Diego when a teacher encouraged her to consider another career: teaching.

The advice hit home.

"I began to feel as a mere cog in a wheel, a practitioner destined to enhance a bottom line," she explained. "Of course, I understood that as an employee I was engaged to serve the needs of the company, but I wanted more; I wanted to make a difference.

"It was then that I began to take an interest in conducting research related to my interests in accounting. I hope that my research will, in turn, help my teaching and enable me to provide my students with an inspiring educational experience," Farkas said.

She completed her master's degree in 2007 and will complete her doctorate in accountancy, with a minor in statistics, at the University of South Florida in December.

"It was coming home," Farkas, a native of San Diego, explained of the decision to join Cal State Fullerton. "And the people here — they made a big difference in my decision, especially Betty Chavis (department chair).

"I also chose Cal State Fullerton because it provides me the opportunity to work in a stimulating and diverse environment," she said. "Since I have a diverse background, I felt that CSUF would be a perfect fit. And I was right — I felt welcomed by the students on the first day of class. Students seem to relate to me easily and perceive me as their mentor, not just an instructor."

Farkas' research is focused on the use of accounting information for judgment and decision-making, the effectiveness of various compensation schemes and their impact on individual effort, and how firms can use accounting information to motivate employees to be more productive.

She is currently delving into motivation and compensation, comparing salaries vs. bonuses. Her doctoral study explores the issue of financial incentives on employee performance and effort allocation between simple and complex tasks. By the end of the year, Farkas hopes to see her second article, on continuous auditing, in print.

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