Despite having a father as an accountant, Susan Borkowski, Ph.D., did not initially set out to become one herself. Always a high achiever, she skipped a grade in school and completed a bachelor’s degree in biology in less than three years with her sights set on medical school. However, despite a 3.9 grade point average, she did not get accepted.
“It was a different time then, there were very few spots available for women medical students in the early 1970’s,” said Borkowski, a professor of accounting at La Salle. “Since I was only 18 at the time, they told me to wait a couple of years. I did, but in the meantime, I decided to change gears and return to school for accounting—my other passion.”
Since entering the accounting field, Borkowski has continued to be a high achiever as an internationally-recognized scholar, teacher, and mentor.
Borkowski is considered one of the leading experts on the issue of transfer pricing in accounting. A tax management strategy, the transfer price is the amount which one subsidiary in a multinational company charges another subsidiary in the same company for the transferred product or service.
“Manipulating the transfer price allows a company to shift profits from high-tax to low-tax countries, therefore increasing their profits,” explains Borkowski. “As a result, tax authorities around the world have become more aggressive introducing stricter penalties, new documentation requirements, and increased information exchange.”
Borkowski has worked with the United Nations as an expert on transfer pricing for developing countries. She has also received international research grants from various government agencies such as the Government of Canada and the United States Agency for International Development.
“I love to learn, and luckily for me, transfer pricing is a constantly changing field,” said Borkowski.
Also a past recipient of the School of Business Excellence in Teaching Award, Borkowki admits that teaching is her true passion. “While I greatly enjoy the satisfaction I receive from my research, I could never give up teaching—I love it too much. I enjoy the fact that I can conduct my research and then bring it into the classroom,” she said. “One of the reasons I came to La Salle is because I did not have to choose between research and teaching like you do at many large universities.”
In addition to her stellar research and teaching, Borkowski also serves as mentor and advisor for the La Salle chapter of the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) international honor society. Induction into BGS is one of the highest achievements available to business students in the world, as the honor society is open only to business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)—a distinction held by fewer than five percent of business schools worldwide.
As advisor, Borkowski encourages BGS students to take advantage of the many opportunities membership offers. “BGS is a very prestigious network—many successful, well-connected business people,” said Borkowski. “Events such as the Student Leadership Forum and regional BGS alumni events allow our students to make some great connections in the business world.”
In recognition of her work with BGS, Borkowski was named the 2009 BGS Outstanding Chapter Advisor—selected from more than 500 advisors internationally. Also a result of her dedication,
In the past 10 years, La Salle’s chapter has been selected nine times as one of the top five chapters in the world.
Borkowski also serves as an advisor for La Salle’s many student case competitions. Over the past eight years, La Salle business students have participated in invitation-only national competitions such as Johnson & Johnson’s Case Competition, PwC Extreme Accounting (xACT), and the Eller Ethics Case Competition.
“Our students have been very successful,” said Borkowski. “For the xACT competition, our team placed in the top five national teams in 2009, sharing a $10,000 prize
“Case competitions are great opportunities for our students,” said Borkowski. “Not only does it allow them to use their business skills, but it proves that our students can compete with the best business students anywhere.”