Accounting: Learning From the Past to Better Understand the Future






With an inaugural lecture titled “The Audit Profession In Times Of Rapid Transition: Experiences From German Reunification” Dr. Sebastian Hoffmann (31) successfully concluded his Habilitation procedure at HHL today. Afterwards we talked with the scientist about his work and life.

How do you describe your journey into academics?

It was more or less a continuous process which began with my decision to do a PhD at HHL after completing my Diploma studies. Back then I had not considered staying in academia but rather intended to leave for a position in industry after finishing my PhD. However, the further I proceeded with my doctoral studies the more I became intrigued by academia and its challenges and at one point I decided to go for an academic career. HHL was very supportive of this idea and offered me a position as Assistant Professor of Accounting and Auditing in order to pursue my Habilitation.

How is your academic research linked to practice?

My research on accounting regulation and enforcement is of high relevance to firms and regulators. Firms need to apply various norms and their accounting behavior is closely monitored. I may help firms understand the complexities of today’s regulatory environment and assist them with amending their structures and processes. Regulators may benefit from my research in that they may learn how firms historically reacted to specific socio-economic situations. These kind of historic insights will allow for an informed assessment of firms’ reactions to comparable situations in the future. Regulating bodies may thus anticipate future developments to set appropriate rules at an early stage, for example, before a crisis actually emerges.

And: What do you like doing in your spare time?

As far as my schedule permits, I am playing the trombone in a Bigband nearby Leipzig. Also, I like riding the bike and regularly go for a run or swimming.