The international character of accounting that we want to introduce will enable students to tailor their study, and their dissertation, to their own experience and environment.
Dr Androniki Triantafylli is a Lecturer in Accounting and Finance at Queen Mary University of London. She is also the Specialism Convenor of the Global MBA’s Accountancy pathway.
Dr Triantafylli received her PhD with Distinction from Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece, in 2009. She also holds an MSc in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Her current research interests include the changing nature of management accounting practices and their impact within business organizations.
She talks to London Connection about her involvement in the new Global MBA programme.
Tell us about your own career journey.
After completing my undergraduate studies I worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers for a year. This position gave me the opportunity to see how real accounting works in practice. I had the opportunity to work and consult with different companies, to audit their financial statements and gain a practical overview. Following this, I did my MSc in Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
My studies gave me the opportunity to pursue a career in academia. I did my PhD which focused on Management Control Systems in shipping companies. This again gave me the opportunity to combine theory with practice.
After that, I started my career as an academic. My first job was at Athens University of Economics and Business, and then I worked as a lecturer and post-doc student at Essec Business School in Paris. Following the post-doc position, I went to Manchester Business School, where I lectured for three years, and then I moved to Queen Mary where I've been a lecturer in Accounting and Finance for the past four years.
What first sparked your interest in the area of accounting?
It's a family tradition – my father used to be an accountant. That was my first contact with accountancy. But I don't think that's the main reason that I became an academic. I think it's because accounting gives me the opportunity to see through the whole picture of a business, not only to see the financial aspect of accounting but also to consider qualitative aspects of accounting that play a very important role in a business. I think these two perspectives sparked my interest in investigating further, and why accounting should be researched.
What sort of personality types thrive in this line of work?
I wouldn't limit it to certain personalities. I would advise people who deal with accounting that it would help them a lot if they're well organised – this is the first advice I was ever given by my professors.
Being open-minded as well: accounting is often confused with book-keeping, and I have to say it's beyond book-keeping. You also need to be hard-working and ambitious.
Accounting can open many doors in business, and provides a very useful tool for many different kinds of professions.
Tell us about your involvement with the Global MBA and about the benefits for students.
When I was asked to join the academic team for the Global MBA, I felt it would be a great opportunity, for two reasons. Firstly, because it gave me the chance to address a really international audience and to tailor modules for an international cohort of students.
Accounting and accounting standards have become very international in recent years. This aspect of the Global MBA has helped me to fulfil my ambition to deliver through an international environment and to interact with students who come from different countries and backgrounds.
To be exposed to the vast area of research and the interdisciplinary topics that we introduce in the programme – I think this is a great advantage.
The fact that the programme is online means that it can be taken by people who are working, who want to tailor their studies around their work and family commitments. And to be exposed to the vast area of research and the interdisciplinary topics that we introduce in the programme – I think this is a great advantage.
Also, students have access to the University of London Online Library, which cover very important academic journals and readings, and I think this will greatly expand their horizons.
Is it the case that the course content can be tailored to be country- or region-specific?
The international character of accounting that we want to introduce will enable students to tailor their study, and their dissertation, to their own experience and environment. At the same time, they will gain knowledge which they can apply to their specific work context.
We take an international approach. So, for example, we don't just teach western-based accounting, which cannot be applied in Africa or Asia. Quite the opposite. We present ideas from around the globe, which can be adapted to students' environments.
We give them the opportunity to be decision makers and to share their own experiences from similar situations.
The programme deals with real-life scenarios and decisions. As Specialism Convenor of the Accountancy pathway, could you give an example of a real-world scenario that students might study?
There are case studies in the Accounting modules which are based on real-life situations. For most of these case studies, we've collaborated with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
We introduce the case study to the student and ask for their opinion on how to handle a specific situation. We give them the opportunity to be decision makers and to share their own experiences from similar situations.
Regarding the current financial crisis in Greece, currency devaluation seems to be one solution, but this is prevented by membership of the Eurozone. Should Athens consider abandoning the Euro and rejecting the debt?
This is a huge question – the crisis has been a very hot topic. As you say, currency devaluation is not possible because of the Eurozone. Abandoning the Euro is a risky approach. A country which is in this position should always weigh the pros and cons, and should apply what we refer to in accounting as a cost-benefit approach.
The problem is that the government can't know how much the currency would be devalued. History has shown us cases where this has been successful, but also some recent cases - like Argentina, for example – where the currency has not managed to recover. So people should be very careful in their suggestions about currency devaluation.
At the moment, the IMF has proposed the reduction of the debt as being a more viable option, rather than exiting the Euro and devaluation.
This is another message that we need to communicate to students: that, of course, you must follow your dreams, but you need to work very hard to do that.
What’s the most important piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
"Follow your dreams, even if they seem to be impossible" is the most important career advice I've received. And this came from my parents. They have been quite a big influence, especially because they've worked extremely hard throughout their lives.
I think this is another message that we need to communicate to students: that, of course, you must follow your dreams, but you need to work very hard to do that. For dreams to materialise, you need to work very, very hard. This is incredibly important, especially for students who study accounting, because they find it quite challenging. It is challenging, but it's very rewarding in terms of career progression, so they need to keep this in mind.