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Campus Now

Autumn Issue (Nov. 2013)

My study, My career

Introducing female researchers active at Waseda University.

Waseda 150 Vision defines the ideal form of our university as we move toward our 150th anniversary in 2032. One aspect of the vision is “Waseda research which contributes to world peace and the happiness of mankind.” As we work to achieve this goal, we expect new perspectives and ideas to be introduced through the activities of female researchers. In the eighth edition of this series, we spoke with Associate Professor Aki Yamauchi.

I want to set and pursue my own themes and establish my own research

Aki Yamauchi
Associate Professor, Faculty of Commerce

Challenging myself

The reason that I started research in accounting can be traced back to my involvement in a club called the Accounting Association. At that time, the majority of clubs were filled with students from all-women universities. As one of the few female students from Waseda University, I felt comfortable in a club with an academic environment. In the club, I was surrounded by highly-motivated people, and I gradually began to feel the appeal of accounting. In order to ensure a long career, I wanted to become certified before searching for employment. However, during my studies for certification, I grew interested in academic research of financial accounting and decided to enter graduate school.

Touring the Tokyo Stock Exchange in a seminar class

For the theme of my Master’s thesis, I selected accounting for intangible assets, which treats things which cannot be seen as accounting information. After several months of uncertainty, I decided to select this theme which had not seen much development at that time and was an area of great difficulty for me. My Professor urged me countless times to reconsider my decision. Still, even if the theme was difficult, I wanted to address a theme which would challenge me, not one which had already been thoroughly researched. Through this line of thought, I followed through on my original intention.

Researches face a variety of obstacles in their activities. In order to continue, it is necessary to have strong power of will and to enjoy research more than anything else. I believe that it is important to confront life’s difficulties head-on without running away. This is like a battle with one’s self. I remember how busy I was during every day of graduate school and how hectic my lifestyle was. By working to schedule my day within a limited amount of time, I became proficient at time management.

Understanding current accounting trends by unraveling history

Text which is published by the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is distributed in the class “Fundamental Accounting.” The first step towards understanding the world of accounting

For the theme of my Doctoral thesis, I selected goodwill accounting, which is one area of accounting for intangible assets. As you might expect, I chose goodwill accounting because I felt it was the most difficult area of accounting for intangible assets. After obtaining employment, I acquired my PhD at Waseda University. In 2010, I published my theses under the title of “Goodwill Accounting.” When rereading the book, I see that there are many points which could have been better made. However, if I were to give some praise to a certain portion, it would be the historical analysis of goodwill accounting. Unraveling history expands our perspective and deepens our understanding of current trends in accounting. Currently, I am once again researching accounting for intangible assets from a historical perspective. In the future, I will continue to prioritize a historical perspective.

Balancing research and education

With seminar students (taken at a seminar house in Kawana)

My first employer was a university that focused on small-group education for cultivating students capable of thinking independently. Since I studied at a large university, I was initially unsure of how to proceed with my work. Luckily, I was able to study the form of small-group education from other instructors at the university. Even after entering employment at Waseda, I have focused on eliciting the independence of students in my seminars. Although I have just begun teaching a graduate school seminar, I am working to create an environment in which each student can select a theme which truly sparks their interest and can conduct research freely. Within such a free environment, I hope that students will think flexibly and make new discoveries.

A good university faculty member may be someone who enjoys both writing theses and teaching students. There is a synergetic effect from simultaneously conducting research and education. I try to value a balance between both aspects.

In closing, I would like to say that although accounting may appear somewhat esoteric at first glance, the specialized knowledge of accounting is absolutely required in business. Also, in my opinion, accounting is a good field for women who want to continue working for a long time. I hope that more people will become interested in accounting.

Aki Yamauchi
Associate Professor, Faculty of Commerce

Graduated from the Department of Economics, School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University. Completed the Master’s Program and the Doctoral Program at the Graduate School of Commerce, Waseda University. Served as research associate at the School of Commerce, Waseda University, Associate Professor at the School of Management and Information Sciences, Tama University, and Associate Professor at the School of Commerce, Senshu University. Assumed her current position in 2012. Holds a PhD in commerce. Her area of expertise is accounting (financial accounting).