Sarah Zechman

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Sarah Zechman
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CitizenshipUnited States of America
Alma mater
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • Washington University
  • Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Sarah Zechman is the William H. Baughn Faculty Fellow and Chair of the Accounting Division at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder.

Early Career

Zechman earned a BSBA in accounting in 1998 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She earned her PhD from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. Her first faculty appointment was at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In 2015 she joined the faculty of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado. She is also a certified public accountant, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Accounting Research, and Editor at the Accounting Review.


Zechman studies how firms use disclosure and financial reporting to communicate with financial markets and other external users such as lenders, customers, and regulators about important topics including past firm performance, future expectations, and risks. Managers have a variety of methods at their disposal to communicate strategically with external parties. These methods include reporting within financial statements, including Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) compliant earnings management, accounting fraud, and voluntary disclosures made outside the financial statements via earnings announcements, conference calls, and press releases. Zechman studies the interplay between mandatory disclosures in financial statements and voluntary disclosures made by managers to reveal or hide information from the market.[1] With Catherine Schrand she has shown how accounting fraud emerges full bloom from small initial misstatements by managers who are overconfident of their firms’ prospects and has won the FARS award for best paper in 2015 on this work. [2] With Jonathan Rogers and Douglas Skinner, Zechman has also studied the role of media in affecting stock prices and in exacerbating or leveling insider trading advantages in comparison with the average investor. [3] Their paper “Run Edgar Run” exposed an unintentional advantage that the Securities and Exchange Commission was giving large-paying subscribers by giving them access to insider trading information by a matter of seconds before the general market, leading to a trading advantage for those paying subscribers of 28 basis points over an 81 second period. After becoming aware of this research, the Chair and Ranking Member of the US Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs formally requested the SEC to investigate its practices for making the information public. The SEC conducted an internal investigation and subsequently changed its procedures to eliminate the trading advantage.[4] Zechman has also studied the employment market for ex-CEOs of publicly traded companies.[5] Zechman is one of five scholars in the world who are two time winners of the Financial Accounting and Reporting Section for best paper in 2015 and again 2020.[6]


  1. Zechman, Sarah L. C. (2010). "The Relation Between Voluntary Disclosure and Financial Reporting: Evidence from Synthetic Leases". Journal of Accounting Research. 48 (3): 725–765. doi:10.1111/j.1475-679X.2010.00376.x. ISSN 1475-679X.
  2. Schrand, Catherine M.; Zechman, Sarah L. C. (2012). "Executive overconfidence and the slippery slope to financial misreporting". Journal of Accounting and Economics. 53 (1): 311–329. doi:10.1016/j.jacceco.2011.09.001. ISSN 0165-4101.
  3. Rogers, Jonathan L.; Skinner, Douglas J.; Zechman, Sarah L. C. (2017). "Run EDGAR Run: SEC Dissemination in a High-Frequency World". Journal of Accounting Research. 55 (2): 459–505. doi:10.1111/1475-679X.12167. ISSN 1475-679X.
  4. Patterson, Scott (26 December 2014). "SEC Plans to Fix Flaw in Electronic Distribution System". Wall Street Journal.
  5. Ertimur, Yonca; Rawson, Caleb; Rogers, Jonathan L.; Zechman, Sarah L. C. (2018). "Bridging the Gap: Evidence from Externally Hired CEOs". Journal of Accounting Research. 56 (2): 521–579. doi:10.1111/1475-679X.12200. ISSN 1475-679X.
  6. "FARS Best Paper Award Winners".

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