Maureen McNichols

Professor, Accounting

Maureen McNichols

The Marriner S. Eccles Professor of Accounting and Public and Private Management

Michelle R. Clayman Faculty Fellow for 2022–2023
Academic Area:

Research Statement

Maureen McNichols’ research examines financial reporting and its role in providing information to investors. Her recent work focuses on the role of earnings announcements in informing investors, on earnings management, and on the role of auditors in financial reporting quality. The research on earnings announcements documents a striking increase in stock price revision in response to earnings announcements and explores reasons for this relation. The research on earnings management examines companies’ incentives and methods for managing earnings, detection of managed earnings, and the consequences of earnings management for investors’ decisions. The research on auditors examines their role in detecting and reporting misreporting, and the factors that contribute to audit quality, including regulation, auditor incentives and ability.


Maureen McNichols is The Marriner S. Eccles Professor of Accounting and Public and Private Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). Her leading research on earnings management and its implications for investors, and on analysts’ incentives, forecasts, and investment recommendations has received considerable attention from academics, investors, and regulators. Her papers appear in the leading journals in accounting and finance and have garnered several Best Paper awards. She served as an editor of Review of Accounting Studies, and has served on the editorial boards of Journal of Accounting Research, The Accounting Review and Contemporary Accounting Research.

Professor McNichols has offered courses in financial reporting in a number of Stanford’s programs, including the undergraduate program, the Stanford Law School, the Stanford MBA Program, and Stanford GSB’s PhD Program in accounting. Some of her recent electives include “Evaluating Financial Statement Information,” “Analysis for Event-Driven Investing” and “Foundations for Social Impact.” In addition, she has taught in a number of programs for executives, including Finance and Accounting for the Non-Financial Executive and IGNITE.

Professor McNichols served as chair of Stanford GSB’s accounting group three times, most recently 2016-2017, as chair of the FAB Executive Committee (2007-2008), and a member of the Stanford University Faculty Senate (2004-2007), the Senate Committee on Committees (2005-2007), the Committee on Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid (2005-2007), the Stanford University Board of Trustees Finance Committee (2004-2008), and the Provost’s Budget Group (2006-2015) . She was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago and the London School of Business, and a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institute from 2004-2005.

Professor McNichols has been a member of the Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board Standing Advisory Group since 2014. From 2003-2006, she served as a director and member of the audit and compensation committees of Net IQ Corporation. She is certified as a CPA by the State of Illinois, and is a member of the American Accounting Association. McNichols received her BA and MA in accounting from the University of Illinois and her PhD in accounting from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Accounting, Graduate School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles, 1984
  • MA in Accounting, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1976
  • BA, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1975

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1984

Awards and Honors

  • Stand Up for Kids Guardian of Youth Award, 2016
  • Susan Ford Dorsey Faculty Fellow for 2015–16
  • Philip F. Maritz Faculty Fellow, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2014–15
  • Marriner S. Eccles Chair, 2001
  • Best Paper Award, Review of Accounting Studies, 2000
  • Best Paper Award, Review of Accounting Studies, 1998
  • Best Paper Award, Financial Reporting Section, American Accounting Association, 1995
  • CPA Certificate, State of Illinois, 1975


Journal Articles

Working Papers

Stanford Case Studies

Stanford University Affiliations

  • Member GSB Dean's Search Committee 2015-2016
  • Member Provost's Budget Group 2006-2015
  • Member Project on Women and Leadership 2013-2014
  • Member Finance Committee, Board of Trustees 2004-2008

Service to the Profession

  • Member, Standing Advisory Group, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, 2014-2016, 2017-2019
  • Editor, Review of Accounting Studies, 1995-2008
  • Editorial Board,/Ad-Hoc Referee, The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Contemporary Accounting Research
  • Director and member of audit and compensation committees, NetIQ, 2003-2006

In the Media

Insights by Stanford Business

School News