Researcher of the Month
December: BENEDIKT FRANKE
Benedikt Franke, Assistant Professor of Accounting at SKEMA Business School, is involved in two projects of the TRR 266. In Project A03, he investigates, together with Reeyarn Li, whether and when companies meet stakeholders’ demands for transparent textual disclosure. In Project B09, he and Urska Kosi investigate the demand of debt providers for financial information. He shares his views on his research below.
Accounting, on the one hand, deals with fundamental issues surrounding the generation and dissemination of information. On the other hand, it is characterized by various institutional features that provide an evolving framework for stakeholders’ decision-making. This mixture is special and offers a variety of fascinating opportunities for researchers, including interdisciplinary work in finance, political science, or information systems. I very much value these opportunities.
Research on transparency bridges the gap between various fields of research dealing with information in different contexts. In my view, accountants can and should contribute to this process by providing fundamental insights on transparency.Transparency is a particularly exciting field today. At its core, our research in the TRR focuses on how various stakeholders generate, disseminate, and receive information. Thus, our work is not only relevant for the accounting or tax communities but also speaks to a broader audience. We all face evolving means of communication and increasing challenges of digitization in our daily lives. Our research cannot only help to navigate this unknown territory but also uncover potential chances. Research on transparency bridges the gap between various fields of research dealing with information in different contexts. In my view, accountants can and should contribute to this process by providing fundamental insights on transparency.
Opportunities within the TRR 266
The TRR 266 offers a lot of opportunities, especially for young researchers, to share ideas, collaborate, and improve their research. I was impressed with the large number of researchers joining this common cause and particularly value the mix of young and experienced researchers. I am excited to be affiliated with projects dealing with transparency in the debt market and textual transparency. In Project B09, we currently work on gaining a better understanding of transparency in the various European debt markets. It is an exciting project, and I am fortunate to benefit from the valuable insights of my fellow team members. Project A03 is different in that we focus on uncovering new datasets and methods, and making them available to researchers interested in accounting transparency. We currently work on developing technics that allow us to investigate textual disclosure from various sources, including corporate filings. The TRR is essential for such kind of research as the continuous interaction with multiple researchers helps us to improve and refine our approach quickly.
No Relevance without Rigor
For me, it is most important to stay curious. I want to understand how things work and why events happen. While this most certainly puts the research question at the center of my work, there is no relevance without rigor.I want to understand how things work and why events happen. While this most certainly puts the research question at the center of my work, there is no relevance without rigor. The TRR is an excellent example of bringing these two things together. For instance, we provide training for our Ph.D. students, enabling them to conduct high-quality research on an international level. Obviously, Open Science is a part of that too. It is crucial for our community, but also research in general, to be transparent in order to have impact. This requires that we create awareness for Open Science and, as a community, find appropriate ways of how to establish transparency in research. This is far from being a trivial task. The TRR can play a vital role in this respect, shaping the German research landscape.
Understanding the functioning of Debt Markets
Both of my projects include elements that contribute to empirical research in debt markets, complementing other TRR projects in the equity market. Debt markets are of critical importance for our economies, with large parts being currently dominated by institutional investors. However, this is likely to change, with technical innovations providing opportunities for retail investors to participate. It is therefore crucial for politicians, regulators, and in the end, the general public to understand how these markets function. In particular, we need to understand how transparent these markets currently are, how transparent these markets should be, and which information investors require for their decision-making.