July 20, 2023
Michael Marin is an Assistant Professor in the Teaching Stream at the Institute for Management and Innovation, University of Toronto Mississauga. He teaches Essentials of Accounting, Financial Reporting, and Management Control at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Michael has a broad range of research interests and is currently focusing on the effects of taxation on corporate decision-making. He is particularly interested in non-income taxes, the taxation of the financial sector, sustainability, and integrated learning approaches. Michael earned his PhD from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. Before his doctoral studies, he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in Accounting, and an MBA, both from the Rotman School of Management. In his spare time, Michael enjoys fishing, engaging in DIY projects, and spending time with his friends, family, and his cockapoo, Wesley.
Tell us about your current research on taxation – what can you share about forthcoming trends, particularly when it comes to sustainability?
I have always found tax research in accounting interesting because of its real-world implications. Tax research has the potential to shape tax policy, enhance tax compliance, foster economic development, address income inequality, promote social and environmental responsibility, and improve financial reporting. It is also inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on accounting, finance, economics, law, psychology, and sociology.
Notable topics include the impact of tax avoidance on firm value, the implications of international taxation and profit shifting, the influence of tax policy on corporate decisions, the effect of tax complexity on compliance, the interplay between tax accounting rules and financial reporting, and the intersection of corporate tax strategies and corporate social responsibility. I am currently interested in non-income and digital taxes. Traditional tax laws, largely based on physical presence, often fail to capture the essence of digital transactions, making it necessary to evolve new tax structures for the digital era. Furthermore, non-income taxes, while economically meaningful, are often understudied.
Emerging trends in tax research, particularly regarding sustainability, are likely to include expanding green tax incentives, as governments globally incentivize sustainable practices via tax credits, exemptions, or deductions. With increasing emphasis on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, ESG tax reporting may gain more prominence. Additionally, tax transparency is rising in importance, particularly in relation to sustainability reporting and the fight against tax evasion. As sustainability concerns become further integrated into taxation policy and business practices, tax research will need to adapt and evolve accordingly.
You completed all three of your degrees at the University of Toronto, and now you’re a professor here. What have you enjoyed most about your journey at U of T, and working at IMI?
U of T is home. I spent 11 years here as a student and just completed my second year as faculty. I started as an undergraduate business student at the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008. At that point, I knew little about the opportunities to pursue an MBA or PhD. However, the more I learned about management as a discipline, the more I liked it. I really appreciated real-life case studies, and the problem solving and decision-making that came with them. I have been fortunate to have had great peers and mentors that continue to motivate me to learn and better myself.
IMIx relatively new unit at IMI that offers some cool new executive education courses. What are you teaching with them? How does the experience compare to teaching grad students?
I just finished my Healthcare Finance, Reporting, and Scorecards segment for the Certificate in Effective Healthcare Management. The course was a very rewarding experience as it provided the opportunity to share valuable knowledge that will ultimately allow healthcare professionals to make more informed decisions to improve patient care and manage limited resources effectively.
In general, I often teach accounting to students who want to enter the profession. However, this course allowed me to teach the fundamentals of finance, financial accounting, and managerial accounting to non-accounting students. This made me reconsider how to circumvent the perceived complexity of finance and accounting and make it accessible. It also challenged me to find creative ways to engage students to make the learning experience relevant, and hopefully, enjoyable.
You’re an active contributor to the BigDataAIHUB Seminar Series at IMI. What have you learned about AI and emerging technologies when it comes to your field of interest?
We have a great team at the BigDataAIHUB. Thus far, we have had 12 seminar sessions and I have learned something new every time. Overall, the sessions have shown me how disruptive AI and Big Data can and will be to every industry and sector.
AI has significantly transformed accounting by introducing a range of efficiencies and capabilities to make accounting more accurate, efficient, and valuable. Repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as data entry, reconciliation, payroll processing, and auditing are becoming increasingly automated. This not only reduces human error but also enhances efficiency and allows accounting professionals to concentrate on more complex and value-added tasks. AI can analyze vast volumes of financial data, generating insights that can assist with forecasting financial trends, spotting anomalies, and guiding strategic business decisions. Collectively, data-driven decision-making will become the norm and accountants will need to be able to leverage technologies to their advantage.
As the youngest faculty member at IMI, you’ve accomplished so much already in your career! What’s next for you?
My accomplishments are the result of the great support that I have had from faculty, staff, and students. I would not be where I am without their collective support and for that reason, I am truly grateful and in immense debt to everyone around me.
In terms of what's next for me, it's a question that I frequently ask myself. I'm a firm believer in lifelong learning, which is why I want to continue advancing my research, enriching my teaching methodologies, and deepening my understanding of the different subjects that I am passionate about. For all academics, the goal is to make a positive and lasting impact on the community and beyond. I truly believe that education has the power to transform lives, and I am committed to doing my part to ensure it does so for as many people as possible.
In regard to my research, it is my aspiration that my work can help solve real-world problems and provide applicable solutions for businesses and policy-makers. From a teaching perspective, I want to ensure that I can create a learning environment that promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. I also want to reduce the divide between academia and practice by fostering collaboration with industry partners and creating opportunities for students to gain practical experience.
Do you have any advice or insights for students interested in a career in accounting? Where is the industry headed?
Accounting is more than just numbers. At its most fundamental level, accounting is meant to help stakeholders make decisions and good decisions will ultimately lead to success.
In terms of where the industry is headed, sustainability, digitalization, and data analytics are key trends shaping the future of accounting. Sustainability and ESG reporting are increasingly important as companies are held accountable for their impact on society and the environment. Digitalization and automation will continue to streamline routine tasks, allowing accountants to focus more on strategic and advisory roles. Data analytics skills will be highly in demand as businesses seek to leverage their sdata to make informed, strategic decisions.
Overall, keep an open mind, stay curious, and continue to learn and good things will come.