Professor Spotlight: Dr. Barbara Vinciguerra

Photo courtesy of Barbara Vinciguerra

Photo courtesy of Barbara Vinciguerra

Dr. Barbara Vinciguerra is an associate professor of accounting at Moravian University. She earned her B.S. in accounting from The Pennsylvania State University, MBA with a concentration in finance from Temple University, and Ph.D. in business administration from Drexel University. Vinciguerra also serves as the Chair for the Economics and Business Department. 

What inspired you to go into your field of study?

I decided to go into teaching while I was working as a corporate finance manager at GlaxoSmithKline. I was part of a team that developed a new division budgeting model. One of my roles was to go to our international locations to explain the model and train the users. I really loved the challenge of teaching and I found it very rewarding.

What research projects are you currently working on?

I am working with a student to determine whether there is an unmet need among students for short-term loans (for example at the beginning and end of semester when money is tight). Moravian has an endowed small loan fund for students. The purpose of this fund is to provide small business experience to student managers while making small, short-term loans available to students at Moravian University. We are looking to see if there are models of student-led small loan funds at other universities that we can learn from as well as surveying students to see if there is an unmet need at Moravian. If we move forward, I hope to examine the impact of the loan funds on student well-being and on accounting and finance learning outcomes. 

What do you think is the most recent important development in your field of study?

The accounting profession has undergone an enormous transformation in recent years. Some of the most impactful changes are in automation, data availability, and analytics. Most of the routine work in accounting and auditing has been automated over recent decades. What has changed is that we now have access to data and data visualization tools to help us better understand what the data is telling us, so that we can use the information to more effectively communicate this information to inform decision making.

What job would you have if you couldn’t be a professor, regardless of salary and job outcome? Why? 

I would like to provide financial literacy education and financial planning services to low- and moderate-income individuals. There is so much fear and avoidance around managing finances. Financial wellness is a key aspect of overall wellness, but it is often overlooked or ignored.

What do you know now that you wished you knew when you were in college?

That you get the most out of your classes when you are an active participant in your learning. I did my undergraduate study at Penn State and the large classes made it easy to be a passive learner. Of course, I learned, but I discovered during my graduate studies that active participation improved the depth of my understanding and my ability to make connections across subjects. Overall, I became a much more curious and self-directed learner. 

What is your biggest student pet peeve?

When students miss class and ask if they missed anything “important.” I am always tempted to say, no, we just played carnival games today. You missed the pony rides. (OK, maybe I did say that out loud at least once!) 

What was the last streaming show that you binge-watched or the last good book that you read? 

I am pretty hooked on BBC crime dramas right now. I just finished watching Line of Duty, which is the story of an anti-corruption police unit. I am now watching Unforgotten, which is a crime drama about detectives solving cold cases. One book that I recently read is “Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Face of Automation,” by Kevin Roose. It gave a great overview of the rise of automation and provided insights into how we can responsibly and humanely use automation in the future. 

What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know? 

I’m a first-generation college student.

What animal do you feel you identify with? Why?

I will take a pass on this question! 

What advice would you give to students who are considering a career in accounting?

 Most people only think that accounting is just crunching numbers, or it has something to do with taxes. In fact, the accounting profession includes a broad range of jobs and skill sets including data analysis, problem solving, and communication. I would suggest that students take every opportunity to network with professionals and get hands-on experiences such as internships so that they can better prepare for their professional careers. I also would encourage students to work toward building their technology toolkit by mastering Excel and data visualization software.