Outstanding young alumni represents new generation of accountants and auditors

Posted: September 7, 2016 2:00 p.m.

Dr. Regan Schmidt, (BAdmin ’03) is recipient of the Alumni Crowning Achievement Award as Outstanding Young Alumni.
Dr. Regan Schmidt, (BAdmin ’03) is recipient of the Alumni Crowning Achievement Award as Outstanding Young Alumni. Photo - U of R Photography

Dr. Regan Schmidt has made an indelible mark on the accounting world at a remarkably young age. He has also taken his extraordinary acumen into the classroom where he is inspiring a new generation of accountants and auditors. Unequivocally, says Schmidt, it was the influence of many of his professors at the University of Regina that first stimulated his pursuit of excellence.

“Without a doubt, the teachings of individual professors were the greatest takeaways I received from the University of Regina,” he says. “They changed how I viewed accounting and education. They were not only outstanding educators shaping my understanding of accounting and finance but they also influenced and informed how I currently teach.”

Also fueling his interest in accounting was the unfolding Enron Corporation scandal at the time. The U.S. energy, commodities and services company based in Houston, Texas declared bankruptcy in 2001 when it was discovered that for years insiders had been systematically committing accounting fraud.

“It was a unique time to see financial reporting and corporate governance in the classroom versus what was being reported on the evening news,” Schmidt says. “It made me realize how critical accounting is to society.”

Now, as associate professor and Edwards Research Scholar at the University of Saskatchewan, it is Schmidt’s excellence in both teaching and research that sets him apart. Student evaluations of his teaching effectiveness exceed 90 per cent among his undergraduate students and more than 95 per cent among his graduate students.

“It is difficult to point to a single most important characteristic for a professor to bring to the classroom. I strive to infuse enthusiasm and curiosity in the classroom to enable students to build conceptual foundations of accounting/auditing theory and then reveal complexity through shared practice-based experiences.”

Schmidt’s research has been widely acclaimed in both professional and academic accounting circles.

In 2009, he was recognized by the Canadian Public Accountability Board, receiving its inaugural award for research that has the potential to improve the audit quality of public companies.

In 2013, he received the prestigious American Accounting Association’s Outstanding Auditing Dissertation Award for his advancement of auditing knowledge. It marked the first time in the history of the award that it had been bestowed on a Canadian graduate on tenure-track at a Canadian university.

In 2014, he was recognized for his contribution to the accounting profession with the Early Achievement Award from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta (now the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta).

“The University of Regina experience was pivotal to my life,” Schmidt says. “The coursework fueled my interest in accounting theory while the Co-operative Education program connected me with a public accounting firm where I would subsequently complete my articling. Together these experiences moulded me into a professional motivated to know more in accounting.”

Beyond his dissertation research, to date he has published nine papers in leading national and international academic journals such as Behavioral Research in Accounting, Journal of Business Ethics, Managerial Auditing Journal, Accounting Perspectives and Issues in Accounting Education. His research has been repeatedly featured in National Post’s Financial Post, Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, among other media outlets.

 Schmidt looks back on his time at the University with fondness.

“I have lots of great memories from my time at the University of Regina ranging from Welcome Weeks to the annual business dinners and galas,” he says. “A lasting memory is sitting in Introductory Organizational Behavior next to my future spouse. She crushed me in that course,” he admits.

When asked about what makes the University of Regina of value to the larger community, Schmidt doesn’t hesitate.

“The University is a unique institution with knowledge at its core. The faculty not only discovers new knowledge via their research but also conveys that knowledge to students and beyond the campus by disseminating objective scholarly work in academic journals and professional outlets. Whether it is advances in medical imaging, food safety, preventing and detecting financial misstatements, etc., research has the ability to change lives for the better and society benefits from these discoveries.”

The 2016 Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards celebration is Thursday, October 6 at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina. Come and support your Alumni. Please visit here for ticket and event information.