Rick Mergenthaler

Lou Myers Professor of Accounting

McClelland Hall 301S
1130 E. Helen St.
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0108

Areas of Expertise

  • Rules-based versus principles-based standards
  • Qualitative characteristics of financial information
  • Pro forma earnings disclosures


PhD, University of Washington, 2008

Master of Accountancy, Brigham Young University (Audit Emphasis), 2002

BS (Audit Emphasis), Brigham Young University, 2002

Additional Links

Rick Mergenthaler is a full professor of accounting at the Eller College of Management. Before coming to Eller, he was an associate professor at The University of Iowa, which he joined after earning his Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Washington. Prior to academia, he was a senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers. His areas of expertise area rules-based versus principles-based standards, qualitative characteristics of financial information and pro forma earnings disclosures. His current research examines: (1) the effect of GAAP restrictions on voluntary disclosure, (2) how the role of accounting (verification vs. informativeness) has changed over time, (3) how inferences are affected by measurement error in surrogate measures of cash flows, (4) how constituents affect standard-setting, (5) whether fair value accounting increases firms’ litigation risk, (6) whether public peer information helps acquirers’ make more efficient acquisitions and (7) why the length of annual reports has grown tenfold over the last 100 years.


  • ACCT 498H Honors Thesis
  • ACCT 500A Intermediate Financial Accounting
  • ACCT 696B Introduction to Accounting Research

Published and Accepted Papers

  • “Financial Statement Comparability and the Efficiency of Acquisition Decisions” with Ciao-Wei Chen, Dan Collins, and Todd Kravet, Contemporary Accounting Research, Vol 35, Issue 1, 2018, pp. 164-202.
  • “The Effects of PCAOB Inspections on Auditor-Client Relationships” with Andrew Acito and Chris Hogan, The Accounting Review, Vol 93, Issue 2, 2017, pp. 1-35.
  • “Principles-Based Standards and Earnings Attributes” with David Folsom, Paul Hribar and Kyle Peterson, Management Science, Vol 63, No 8, 2016, pp. 2592-2615. 
  • “Explaining Rules-Based Characteristics in U.S. GAAP: Theories and Evidence?” with Dain Donelson and John McInnis, Journal of Accounting Research, June 2016, pp. 827-861. 
  • “The Effect of Corporate Governance Reform on Financial Reporting Fraud” with Dain Donelson and John McInnis, 2016, Journal of Law, Finance, and Accounting, pp. 235-274. 
  • “Discontinuities and Earnings Management: Evidence from Restatements Related to Securities Litigation” with Dain Donelson and John McInnis. Contemporary Accounting Research, March 2013, pp. 242-268. 
  • “The Timeliness of Bad Earnings News and Litigation Risk” with Dain Donelson, John McInnis, and Yong Yu, The Accounting Review, November 2012, pp. 1967-1991.  
  • “Rules-Based Accounting Standards and Litigation” with Dain Donelson and John McInnis, The Accounting Review, July 2012, pp. 1247-1279.  
  • “Investor Sentiment and Pro Forma Earnings Disclosures” with Nerissa Brown, Ted Christensen, and Brooke Elliott, Journal of Accounting Research, March 2012, pp. 1-40. 
  • “Who Trades on Pro Forma Earnings Information?” with Neil Bhattacharya, Erv Black, and Ted Christensen, The Accounting Review, May 2007, pp. 581-619. 
  • “Empirical Evidence on Recent Trends in Pro Forma Reporting” with Neil Bhattacharya, Erv Black, and Ted Christensen, Accounting Horizons, March 2004, pp. 17-43.

Awards and Honors

  • Dean’s Teaching Award (2011)
  • Gilbert P. Maynard Excellence in Accounting Instruction Award (2010)
  • Old God Fellowship Recipient (2009)
  • Deloitte Foundation Doctoral Fellowship Recipient (2007)