School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Questioning the Rules – Meet Oriane Couchoux

PhD candidate, Management   

by Phil Gaudreau, February 2021

Oriane Couchoux

As regulations in the accounting industry continue to change and become more complex, some academics wonder about the consequences for the people subjected to these rules.

Oriane Couchoux’s research focuses on understanding how Canadian regulations affects Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs), their work, their career path, and their professional identity. Her work also highlights some of the practical challenges and unintended consequences of these regulations.

Originally from France, Couchoux moved to Montréal in 2007 to complete her undergraduate degree and masters in accounting.

“I wanted to study abroad for a few years and then go back to Europe, but I ended up falling in love with Canada,” says Couchoux. “The accounting area offers a wide range of opportunities and potential career paths. The idea of being part of a community of professionals really sold me.”

After graduating, Couchoux worked both in public accounting and in industry. It was there she witnessed first-hand some of the practical outcomes of increasingly complex regulations on her coworkers and work environment.

“All my senior colleagues were concerned with regulators coming to inspect their work,” explains Couchoux. “The new regulators and processes would cause my colleagues to stress about the inspection and how it would affect their careers. We tend to assess the effectiveness of regulations using numbers and figures, but it became clear to me that regulatory changes do not simply impact financial reports and numbers. They also affect people.”

Wanting to have the time and flexibility to reflect on her observations, Couchoux took a step back from the industry and began to research into the topic of financial regulation to better understand the effects of these regulations on the industry.

She reached out to Bertrand Malsch, who was her supervisor during her masters in Montréal. Since Couchoux had completed her masters, Dr. Malsch had moved to Kingston to become an assistant professor with the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

“I wanted to work with Dr. Malsch again, but I didn’t know much about Queen’s,” says Couchoux. “I discovered Queen’s had a great reputation, and that Kingston seemed super cute and had a great food scene.”

Couchoux is continuing her studies from Montréal due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has also begun teaching as a university professor. Upon completion of her PhD, she hopes to continue teaching and researching while consulting on the side to keep a foot in the industry.

To learn more about graduate studies with the Smith School of Business, please visit their website.