For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.

This series introduces us to a different employee every week. Find out what they most enjoy about their job and learn things you might not know about them yet. This week: Brendan O'Dwyer, professor of Accounting at the ABS.

What do you like most about your job?

I really enjoy the flexibility we have to pursue research interests and methodologies and methods that enthuse us. When I speak to consultant friends and they periodically bemoan their supposed ‘develop once, repeat, deliver forever’ working lives, I feel lucky and privileged. In our job, we also get to see new student generations emerge and view their interests and attitudes shifts. This exposes us to new concerns and fresh, sometimes confrontational, thinking. It helps that I have always loved teaching. This is something I only discovered by chance in my early 20s when delivering training at a Big 4 accounting firm where I worked as a financial auditor. And of course, working with my two PhD students, Ejona and Ioan, also adds enormously to my work satisfaction. 

Is there a project from this past year you are particularly proud of?

I am not sure I have much to be proud of yet. But over the past 16 months I have been undertaking an intensive sole-authored study examining the nature of standardisation in sustainability/Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting. This has involved considerable engagement with EU Commission members, multinational CFOs in various industries, investment analysts, international and national standard setters, and leaders in the accounting profession. I am trying to better understand the standard production process and its possibilities at the micro and macro levels. I have gathered extensive, varied data while working closely with regulators and CFOs. This work should help advance the overall quality of sustainability/ESG disclosure. I have learned a lot while hopefully contributing to some developments occurring in the various standardisation efforts.  

What don’t most colleagues know about you?

I am an avid middle-distance runner and an obsessive football fan. I was a Vitesse supporter for a number of years, partly in order to offer moral support to my youngest son who was alone among his friends in picking a team from Arnhem to follow. I play in a ‘veterans’ football team I formed eight years ago (thankfully we are all still alive, albeit I spent much of last year on crutches). My eldest son has just started studying at the UvA Faculty of Science (by the way, he is looking for a room, any help gratefully received!). I love UK, Irish and some Dutch (think Bettie Serveert) ‘indie’ music from the 1990s onwards. Oh, and my direct colleagues may not know this about me, but I actually do have the capacity to speak slowly.