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MAS-aaa[New Orleans, LA] Today is Thursday, January 10, 2013.  I’m in New Orleans for a conference.

The Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association is holding its annual mid-year meeting.

The primary reason why academic organizations hold meetings is for professors to present papers.  The other reason why academic organizations hold meetings is provide a location for face to face networking.

I wonder if small academic conferences like this have outlived their usefulness.  Total attendance for this will be about 250, I think.  It is expensive to attend, ($1,300-1,600 depending on travel).  Can today’s world of digital communication and social media produce an acceptable on-line substitute?  I’m sure it can.

I am not a member of the Management Accounting section.  Twenty years ago, it was populated by researchers who focused on behavioral issues within businesses in a budgeting context.  Now, I’m not so sure.

Take a few minutes and go to this link to see the program for the current year.  Researchers have obviously moved on to different issues.  For the most part, however, I’m not sure these new issues are what I would recognize as Management Accounting.  I’ll try to have someone explain it to me at Friday’s luncheon.

Moreover, I’m not tempted to attend many of the the research presentations.  I’m here only to make a short presentation.

I’m presenting on Friday at 3:30 for 15 minutes.  I have created a simulation for students to compute their personal learning rate in an assembly or manufacturing context.  In my next blog post, I’ll write about what I presented.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht

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#AAADC Day -3 Arrival

[Friday, August 3, 2012]  I’m at the Gaylord National Hotel in the Washington metro area for the American Accounting Association (AAA) Annual Meeting.  The AAA is the professional group for accounting professors.

Confused by the title?  #AAADC is the Twitter hashtag used to tweet about the conference.  Day -3 refers to three days before the conference start.  Arrival is what I’m writing about.

I love going to conferences with other accounting professors.  They are dull and boring, and shall we say eccentric.  But so am I.  For a few days I’m normal!

Just before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 3, the AAA staff was setting up the registration stand and getting ready for the 5:00 opening.  In these two photos, you can see the staff nervously pacing, summoning energy for the frenzied start to registration.

Then the first eight arrivals rushed up to receive their registration packets.  Eventually, over 3,000 would register to attend the conference.

Friday is the first of three preliminary days of the annual meeting.  There are continuing professional education (CPE) sessions on each of these three days.  On Saturday is the CTLA conference.  CTLA is the Conference for Teaching & Learning in Accounting.  I only get involved on Sunday, the final preliminary day.  On Friday and Saturday I get ready for my presentations, and I rest.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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Incoming AAA President Karen Pincus on AAA Ohio riverboat cruise.

On Friday (day 2 of the AAA Ohio Annual Conference), incoming American Accounting Association (AAA) president Karen Pincus addressed all in attendance.  She reviewed the evolution of the AAA over the past 50 years, and announced the theme for her 12 month presidency.

Pincus is the author of Core Concepts of Accounting Information course materials for introductory accounting, published by McGraw-Hill.  In the early to mid 1990s it was very popular in the United States as accounting programs sought to make first year accounting more relevant and effective, moving to a user orientation from a preparer orientation.  I remember using it at BGSU.  It had a positive and meaningful impact on my teaching approach.

Pincus holds the S. Robson Walton Chair of Accounting in the Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. She has prior teaching experience at U Maryland and U Southern California.

In May 2006, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AIPCA) awarded Pincus the 2006 Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award. Later in 2006, she was named to the Accounting Today Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting.

Pincus started her speech by showing the changing nature of AAA membership over the past 50 years. Figure One (Pincus) shows a 20% decline in AAA total membership with a concurrent change in composition from 32%  to 82% professors.

Figure One. Changing Composition of AAA Membership

She said that this has led to a change in the AAA’s activities. Professors desire more meetings (to present papers), sections with a narrower research focus, and journals in which to publish their research.

Pincus then compared the current mix of activities (meetings, sections and journals) to those of other business disciplines: Academy of Management, American Economic Association, American Finance Association and the American Marketing Association. Accounting holds 1/6 of business faculty, yet has three times as many meetings as the other associations combined. The AAA also has more journals, and a much larger web site than the other associations. She said that the AAA is more successful of meeting needs of professors than its sister organizations.

Pincus then turned to the AAA logo, in which the AAA claims its members to be thought leaders in accounting.

She said that we are thought leaders only to ourselves. We aren’t thought leaders in tax, or in accounting/auditing.

She then moved on changes in AAA governance. She said that the Council has become a real governance body. It will now perform the following tasks:

  1. Populate all the AAA awards committees.
  2. Choose all candidates for one board position annually (total of 3 board seats in steady state) and continue to choose majority of Nominating Committee members for other board positions.
  3. Provide input on strategic planning initiatives.
  4. Review/approve advocacy positions in name of AAA.
She is especially excited about AAA’s ability now to make comments advocating one or another position.

Greg Waymire, the current AAA president, has had as his theme, Seeds of Innovation. He is responding to the established lack of diversity and innovation in research. Pincus says that his presidency addresses a significant problem area, “There is a fine line between rigor and rigor mortis.”

Pincus concluded by announcing the theme for next year is Brilliantly Disguised Opportunities.” She adds,

It was inspired by a quote (attributed to various speakers) that “all of life’s best opportunities come brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” Next year’s annual meeting in Anaheim will include sessions about the major changes and challenges facing colleges and universities and how they might be turned into opportunities.

She reminded us to think of today’s problems as opportunities in disguise.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


Want more of The Summa? Sign up to receive email notification of posts.  And please follow me on Twitter (@profalbrecht).

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