I’m a senior accounting professor. The Summa is my expression of what and how I think about the world of accounting, i.e., the world according to Albrecht.
Why should anyone care? There are a few ways to answer.
One possible answer is because society has decided that there be professors. Professors-to-be are charged with studying in a discipline until such time as they are ready to teach others. What criterion or criteria signal readiness? I think it should be when he/she has sufficient understanding and wisdom to be able to teach students in the way they should go, or be. This is a pretty tall order. Over the years, I’ve claimed this is when a professor has a mature view on the way his/her part of the world works.
A second possibility is because it fits within a professor’s generally accepted professional duties. The consensus is that a professor has three primary areas of responsibility:
- Teaching. College students must be taught. As an accounting professor, I am expected to be part of the process by which students are transformed into accountants or business professionals. Classes are expected to be special learning experiences. It is so involved, that many books have been written about teaching. Teaching is difficult because a professor should a vision of what a successful graduate should be like, as well as a clear understanding of how the professor is going to assist the student’s growth.
- Scholarly activity. Truly, this pertains to a professor’s claims about the manner in which the world works. Or his/her small part of the world. It is possible to communicate this scholarship by speaking or writing (artists are allowed to perform). Because of accountability concerns, scholarly worth is assessed by a requirement for publication in refereed journals (in the referee process, a small committee of professors votes on whether an article should be published). Scholarly activity is usually directed toward toward other academics.
- Service. Professors are a valuable resource to the community, not just the school at which they teach. Service is a means of sharing a professor’s knowledge and understanding, by giving back to a larger community of people who want to learn fromthe professor.
Teaching can be considered as scholarly activity directed toward students. Normal scholarly activity can be considered as teaching other academics. Blogging by a professor is all about teaching and scholarship and service, either to students or other professors, or the larger community of accountants and those who benefit from their services.
A third possible answer is because I’m a senior professor. I’ve been studying accounting for a long, long, long, long, long, long time and in my opinion (and this blog is all about my opinions), I have developed a mature view about the world of accounting. I have something to say. Of course, it can’t be denied that a Ph.D. is license to have an opinion about any and every thing and to express it whenever (frequently at the wrong time). But this blog wouldn’t be written or read if my words were always irrelevant.
A fourth possible reason why anyone in general should care to read The Summa is because some of you do, as validated by your regular readership. Professors seldom get paid a lot, just enough. We are motivated intrinsically by desiring to make the world a better place. And if we can’t make the world better, we should at least matter. Because you read The Summa, I will write.
You might have heard the phrase, “I think, therefore I blog.” In my case, the phrase should read, “I think and because I must express myself, therefore I blog.” Blogging to a group of readers should come as naturally to a professor as opening his/her mouth in the presence of students.
So, why should I bore you with the obvious? It’s because I’m setting you up for a change. Oh, I’m still going to write about accounting standard setting and about financial accounting theory. However, I feel a need to teach about some additional things. Please bear with me while I do. I’ll try to make it interesting.
I’m going to think, reason, write and teach about why American accounting education is the way it is. The same things that affect accounting standards and the standard setting process also affect accounting education. That is, there are economic consequences, parties that benefit at the expense of others, and regulatory concerns. There also is money at stake. Lots of it, although not as much as the trillions that could shift hands as a result of IFRS. If you care about accounting, then you should care about accounting education. And I’m going to write about it. And I’m spot on about it.
I’m going to think, reason, write and teach about accounting and financial blogs. What we’re doing here, both the bloggers and the bloggees (oops, readers), is truly a big deal. All of us need to understand it better so we can be more effective. You should care about the practice of accounting and financial blogs. And I’m going to write about it.
I’m still going to write about financial accounting.
I hope you stay with me. Because you read, I’m going to do my best to write something for you.
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht