Eksa Kilfoyle
Eksa Kilfoyle joins Odette for the fall 2010 semester and will be teaching principles of management accounting this term.

New Faces at Odette: Accounting researcher protects her best assets

Eksa Kilfoyle isn’t afraid of getting in the ring and going for a few rounds with a nationally ranked boxer, but she’s ever mindful of the necessity of protecting her most important quality.

“My brain is my best asset so I don’t want to get punched in the head too often,” quipped the new tenure-track lecturer in the Odette School of Business.

Kilfoyle, who was born in Istanbul and moved to Canada at the age of 14, spent the last few years wrapping up her PhD in international accounting in the Schulich School of Business at York University. To keep in shape, she joined a gym and would lightly spar several times a week with Stephan Boyd, a 1999 Canadian national champion.

“Working on a PhD can be a pretty sedentary lifestyle,” she said. “It’s a great way to stay in shape.”

Her thesis, which she expects to be published soon, focuses on how international accounting practices are shaped by cultural influences when applied on a local level.

“We think that accounting is a universal concept, but it’s not,” she said. “Accounting is not an objective tool but more of a social practice. It’s often shaped by national politics and a cultural understanding of how costs are accounted for. It’s like Mexican food, which is different in every country. It’s the same with accounting.”

After earning her MBA at York University, Kilfoyle went on to become a chartered accountant and worked for seven years as an auditor and bankruptcy consultant. She was teaching part-time when she had something of an epiphany.

“I realized that I really loved academia and that was where I belonged,” she said. “The more I worked at it, the more I realized that I’m a thinker. I love teaching and research.”

Kilfoyle will be teaching principles of management accounting and is joining the business school at the same time as her oldest daughter Jessica, a first-year student at Odette. Her husband Mark, also an accountant, is an Odette graduate (BComm 1996).

“I think some of his professors are my colleagues now,” she said.

And while she hasn’t spent much time in the city, Kilfoyle said her immediate impressions of the university are all positive and she spoke glowingly about a caring environment where lots of resources are made available.

“The people are so friendly and they have a very forward vision here,” she said. “I felt like this is where I’d like to start my academic career. The university is obviously striving to be very research oriented, so this is where I want to be.”

Learn more about Eksa Kilfoyle and her research interests here.