Discover CALS

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  • Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
Thomas Godwin, professor of practice, Accounting, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Academic focus:

Financial accounting, taxation and fraud examination.

Research summary:

My research focuses on two main areas: the role of information intermediaries in capital markets and the impact of regulation in accounting, including financial accounting and tax law changes – basically how accounting information is disseminated and how accounting and tax rules affect different outcomes.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I enjoy hiking, cycling and cooking. I have two small kids (ages 3 and 1) who usually keep my wife and I busy as well when I’m not at work.

What are your current outreach/extension projects?

I am currently leading a team to bring free tax preparation and consulting services for low-income families to Tompkins County through the Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program starting in 2024. My team is also working on a project to partner with Weill Cornell Medicine on pro-bono tax and financial literacy services for refugees served by Weill. I’ve long been coordinating free tax and financial literacy programs for low-income families and am excited to bring them to Cornell.

What are three adjectives people might use to describe you?

Caring, detail-oriented, quick-witted.

What (specifically) brought you to Cornell CALS?

Cornell CALS embraces interdisciplinary work and has exceptional culture. As someone who was educated and worked at land-grant universities, I also strongly identify with the college’s land-grant mission to make the world a better place through CALS.

What do you think is important for people to understand about your field?

Accounting issues work themselves into almost every facet of business decisions, so a solid understanding of the numbers – and limitations of those numbers – is essential for anyone in the field of business.

Why did you feel inspired to pursue a career in this field?

I’ve always been fascinated with understanding numbers and how things work. I originally entered my undergraduate studies planning to go to medical school but changed my major to accounting immediately after taking my first accounting course – coincidentally, the same course I’m teaching this fall at Cornell.

What’s the most surprising/interesting thing you’ve discovered about Cornell and/or Ithaca so far?

As a dad of a 3-year-old chicken nugget enthusiast, I learned that the chicken nugget was invented by a faculty member in CALS. Other than that, I’ve been overwhelmingly impressed by the extent of the Cornell Botanic Gardens all over Ithaca, including some trails a few doors down from my house.

If you had unlimited grant funding, what major problem in your field would you want to solve?

I would want to solve the tax and financial literacy gap that is often concentrated among lower income families. Closing that gap would help many families make better informed financial decisions, averting issues that could otherwise persist for generations.

Learn more about Thomas.

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