Department of Accounting Professors Partner with Current and Former PhD Students on Innovative Research

September 14, 2022

Stephanie Walton headshot

                Stephanie Walton

William Buslepp

               William Buslepp

LSU Department of Accounting Assistant Professors Stephanie Walton and William Buslepp recently partnered with current and former PhD students to publish articles in two scholarly journals.

Walton and Department of Accounting PhD student Hilary Hughes co-authored a paper with Thomas Smith (University of South Florida) titled “Material Contract Redactions and Cybersecurity Breaches,” which was recently published by Accounting Horizons. In this paper, the authors found that material contract redactions are associated with a higher likelihood of reporting a cybersecurity breach in the three years immediately following a redaction. While material contract redactions are intended to temporarily protect a firm’s proprietary information, the nondisclosure nature of such actions could signal potential value to external stakeholders and attract threat actors. Furthermore, the relationship appears driven by certain contracts and the actual act of redacting.


Hilary Huges

Hilary Hughes

The paper is the first to investigate temporarily restricted proprietary information as a potential breach determinant. Given the increasing ease of requesting redactions by the SEC, understanding the impact of redactions can inform interested firms, the SEC, and external stakeholders. 

read the full study.

Buslepp partnered with two Department of Accounting PhD graduates, Russell Barber (Assistant Professor, Colorado University-Denver) and Pradeep Sapkota, (Assistant Professor at North Texas University), along with Larry Abbott (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), to publish a study in Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory titled, “Is audit partner identification useful? Evidence from the KPMG ‘steal the exam’ scandal.” In the paper, the authors found that the market reacted negatively to news of audit partner turnover at KPMG clients in the year following the “steal the exam” scandal. The results suggest that investors use information contained in the PCAOB’s Form AP filings to assess the integrity and reputation of the audit partner.

The paper is the first study to demonstrate that U.S. markets react to audit partner information contained in the Form AP filings. The authors’ findings support the PCAOB’s decision to publicly disclose the names of the partners overseeing the audits of publicly traded companies. 

read the full study.

About Accounting Horizons

Accounting Horizons is one of three association-wide journals published by the American Accounting Association (AAA). This journal seeks to bridge academic and professional audiences with articles that focus on accounting, broadly defined, and that provide insights pertinent to the accounting profession. The contents of Accounting Horizons, therefore, should interest researchers, educators, practitioners, regulators, and students of accounting.

Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory

The purpose of Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory is to contribute to improving the practice and theory of auditing. The term “auditing” is to be interpreted broadly and encompasses internal and external auditing as well as other attestation activities (phenomena). An essential objective is to promote communication between research and practice, which will influence present and future developments in auditing education as well as auditing research and practice.


About the Department of Accounting

The Department of Accounting at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business strives for excellence in teaching, research, and service to the accounting profession. With a mission of producing graduates at all levels who excel in their pursuits, the department offers undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in various fields, including industry, auditing, finance, government, and academia. For more information, visit LSU Department of Accounting, call 225-578-6202, or email