Professors travel to academic conferences. It is a very good thing, in my opinion. In this blog post, I’ll let you know a little about my past three days attending the annual conference of the North American Accounting Society, an affiliate of the MBAA International organization.
For me, the conference started early on Wednesday morning, when I woke up incredibly early to get to the airport. A big part of post-conference fatigue is the pre-conference trip. Mine was grueling. The flight was cancelled due to weather (11 inches of snow the night before with blizzard winds). We finally left after two rebookings and a departure weather delay.
I traveled to the conference with the two most wonderful accounting colleagues (Concordia College) I’ve ever had the honor to work with: Ron Twedt (tax) and Maggie Jorgenson (principles). They are wonderful people and superb in the classroom.
Once there, I had dinner with a friend from grad school. He was a groomsman at my wedding. After a dual Master of Accountancy and J.D. program, he went on to a long and successful law career advising clients on leases. Back in grad school, he was always the most brilliant student, the best TA. He would have made a great professor. He is now married with two college-age sons.
There are only two types of conference presenters: good and bad. There is no middle ground. I’ll focus on the good presenters who were most interesting.
Thursday afternoon found Roberto DeMagalhaes (University of North Dakota) presenting the results of a survey to North and South Dakota CPAs. With UND colleagues Kate Campbell and DeeAnn Ellingson (not co-authors) in attendance, there was bound to be a great discussion.
The most intriguing result is that 45% of respondents think a BA with 120 hours is sufficient to test for, and receive, the CPA. 46% think a BA with 150 hours is called for. Only 4% prefer a masters degree. Imagine that, a 50-50 split on the 150 hour rule. Actually, I was surprised that 50% of the membership would endorse 150 hours. Although the official push for 150 hours came from the largest auditing firms, the true push came from accounting professors. Back in the 1990s there was a need to bolster enrollment in accounting courses, and having states mandate more accounting education was believed to be a panacea. IMO this survey result is a clear rejection of the academic push for masters degree education.
In the discussion that followed, it was suggested that DeMagalhaes test to see if years of experience is a factor. Also, DeMagalhaes should survey investors. If auditors are there to protect investors (auditors don’t believe they are), then it seems reasonable that investors would have an opinion on auditor qualifications.
The other interesting presentation highlighted here was by Mark Holtzblatt (Roosevelt University, Chicago). Holtzblatt and co-author Norbert Tschakert (Salem State University) are clearly the discipline’s experts on using video for both education and research. Holtsblatt’s presentation was PowerPoint based with several embedded video clips. It was the most visually stunning presentation I’ve seen at an academic conference. If there was such a thing as a Golden A award, I would award it to Mark.
There was only one paper that dealt with fraud. I’ll have to fix that next year.
Along the way, I had opportunities to chat with super-prolific researcher/writer Tim Fogarty (Case Western), former student E. Anne Christo-Baker (Purdue University, North Central), and mesmerizing speaker Carol Jessup (Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville). Many thanks to Jack Elfrink (Western Illinois) for putting together a pretty good program.
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht