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Yao lectures about accounting

By JOHN ADAMS Senior Staff Writer
On November 19, 2009

One Loyola professor was selected out of a pool of 200 to speak in Saudi Arabia about his knowledge in forensic accounting, which later led to another lecture in Amsterdam.

Business professor Lee Yao was one of three people chosen to be a part of the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals' Distinguished International Professors series.

Yao's first two talks were at King Fahd University. He talked to post-graduate students and faculty from all over the nation to help organizations find weaknesses in accounting control and look out for fraud.

Yao's third talk was to the business community in the city of Dammam, Saudi Arabia, where he discussed earnings management and forensic accounting to all the major oil and gas companies in that area. 

Yao said the lectures were well attended, with around 200 people at each, and some attendees showed interest in reading copies of papers he has written.

Yao said after he sent the series coordinators a letter and three samples of his published work, they contacted him for a phone interview and later sent him an acceptance via e-mail.

On his way to Saudi Arabia, Yao also stopped in Amsterdam and gave a talk to the business school at the University of Amsterdam.

"The dean of the business school at the University of Amsterdam invited me," Yao said. "He knew that I had a layover, and he said, ‘You have nothing to do in the airport — why not come to us?'"

Yao earned a dual degree in computer science and accounting at Minnesota State before earning his Ph.D at Deakin University in Australia. It wasn't until later that Yao became a forensic accounting specialist.

"I actually started out as a system engineer for IBM," he said.

He left IBM for Hewlett Packard later, then transferred to Australia to join accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP for 16 years.

Yao has been in New Orleans for two-and-a-half years, and in that time has assisted in adding the forensic accounting specialty to the fifth year of Loyola's MBA program. Since the forensic accounting specialty is new to Loyola, Yao said there is no plan yet for him to give his talks here but he hopes he will get the opportunity in the future.

"We do not have that kind of regular presentation structure, and I would like to have it set up pretty soon," he said.

Yao said he also hopes to become more involved with the community.

"I need some time to get more reentered, but I would love to be a part of the community and make it a better place to live," Yao said.

John Adams can be reached at


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