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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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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


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The American Accounting Association is the professional organization for accounting professors.  It is divided into seven regions (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Ohio, Southwest and Western).

The primary activity of each region is to hold an annual conference.  My home region, Ohio, recently (May 10-12) held its annual conference in Covington, Kentucky, which is part of the Cincinnati, Ohio metropolitan area.  The 2012 conference was the culmination of region president Wally Wood (U Cincinnati) and program chair Akhilesh Chandra (U Akron).

Wood and Chandra deserve a ton of credit for planning and guiding a terrific conference.  If only the other regions had a conference as nice as Ohio’s.

Thursday, the first day of the conference, started out slowly for me.  I-75 road construction in northern Cincinnati led my GPS to redirect me through six miles of side streets.  Consequently, I arrived 20 minutes late.  Veteran AAA staffers Dee S and Debbie G recognized me and were able to quickly complete the paperwork so I could start my conference day.

Dee and Debbie greet us at every AAA conference

The afternoon is devoted to two CPE (Continuing Professional Education) sessions.  A tour of a local brewery is led by David Stott, BGSU.  A session on positive applied psychology is led by Marsha Huber (Youngstown SU).  The workshop I was to conduct has been cancelled for low attendance.  I attended the Huber workshop and was introduced to her world of applied psychology.  She has been studying and researching several areas that are unfamiliar to most accounting professors, however they have great relevance for both professional practice and accounting education.  She taught about resilience, emotion, growth, game playing and influence in informal organizational networks.  Although psychology causes me to break out in hives, I’ve offered to come on board and help write one of her papers.

John and Allie from McGraw-Hill

During breaks we head into the exhibitor’s hall for snacks and hot drinks.  I like chatting with publishers representatives who show us books to consider using in our courses.  At the right are John and Allie of McGraw-Hill.  John told me that being a publishers representative was the next best job to being a professor.

From 4 pm until 10 pm, the main social activities took place.  First, we all stood around and chatted at the welcome reception held in the hotel main lobby.  Then we took a steamboat tour on the Ohio River.   As the following collage shows, this time we sat around talking.  And eating.  My primary job at the dinner was to take photos.

Tomorrow is a very busy day.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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The American Accounting Association (AAA) is the professional organization for accounting professors.  I have been a member for nearly 25 years.  The two main activities of the AAA are to hold membership meetings and to publish journals.

I especially enjoy AAA regional meetings, and my favorite is put on by the Ohio Region.  My favorite memory is from years ago when Ed Conrad (U Akron) led a discussion on humor.  He’s a funny guy.

Thomas Calderon (U Akron) says, “Attending the Ohio Region AAA meeting is always a highly beneficial experience. Attendees can expect exceptional panel sessions, outstanding paper presentations, and superb networking opportunities with academic colleagues and leaders in the profession.

Jerry Weinstein (James Carroll U) says, “The Ohio meeting provides a great opportunity to network with in-state colleagues and stay on top of trends in the region. The paper, panel and plenary sessions cover a broad gamut of topics but most of them have a focus on the art of being an educator so attendees receive great value.

This year, the Ohio AAA regional conference is held in the Cincinnati metropolitan area (Covington, KY), May 10 through May 12.  The local organizers are Wally Wood (U Cincinnati), Ohio Regional president, and Akhilesh Chandra (U Akron), Program Chair.  Tracey Sutherland, executive director of the AAA, will also be there.

The program for the 2012 conference is on-line.  There are a few highlights worth noting.

The conference starts with $45 CPE workshops on Thursday afternoon.  The premier workshop is “Building Resilience, Well-Being, and Mastery into Your Life,” by Marsha Huber, PhD, CPA, Masters of Applied Positive Psychology.  Marsha is a long-time faculty member at Otterbein, but now is at Youngstown State.  Marsha Huber is a well-published researcher who brings her knowledge of applied psychology and social networks to the field of accounting.  She has presented dozens of workshops, and has won several awards for her presentations.

I most definitely would be attending her workshop if I wasn’t already on the program to present a workshop at the same time.  My workshop is titled, “Social Media in the Classroom.”

Friday starts with two plenary sessions that promise to be interesting and provocative.   J. Clarke Price, CEO of the Ohio Society of CPAs, provides his annual, “State of the Accounting Profession.”  This is followed by a panel discussion led by Thomas Calderon (U Akron), “Looking Through the Crystal Ball: Views of Managing Partners from Accounting Firms on the Future of the Accounting Profession.”  Large firm panelists are, Susan McPartlin (Office Managing Partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, Cincinnati), Robert Taylor (Office Managing Partner Grant Thornton LLP, Cincinnati), and Craig Marshall (Office Managing Partner, Ernst & Young, Columbus).

Following these are panel discussions and presentations of research papers.  Timothy Fogarty (Case Western Reserve U) has four papers on the program this year.

Check here for registration information.

I hope to see you there.

Debit and credit –  – David Albrecht


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Today is Saturday, August 6, the preliminary day of the American Accounting Association Annual Meeting (aka Accounting Professor Convention).  190 are attending CTLA (Conference for Teaching & Learning in Accounting).  By Sunday night, 2,900 accounting professors will be onsite for the start of the conference.

I got out for a walk this morning, hoping there wouldn’t be any professors out already.  I was wrong.  Wally Wood from University of Cincinnati was walking from his hotel to the main conference hotel.  He’s presenting a workshop on ethics education today.  I wish we had more profs like Wally.

I turned off my walk down the main tourist strip in downtown Denver into a small park area.  Coming from small town Bowling Green, OH, I just wasn’t thinking about this:

This brings us to the main topic of today’s blog post.  Kevin Stocks (Brigham Young), 2010-2011 President of the AAA proposed a service project for this year’s conference.  It is a way to interact with the conference’s host city, and is also a way to lend a hand to those less fortunate.

Kathy Casper and Barbara Gutierrez, two of the exceptional staff members of the AAA, filled me in on the particulars.  The goal this year is to raise enough money and in-kind donations for 500 backpacks filled with school supplies.  Denver has 1,800 homeless children in addition to its population of homeless adults.  The Denver school district will be sending a school bus down to the conference hotel on Wednesday afternoon to receive the filled back packs.

Barbara Gutierrez and Kathy Casper show the contents of a donated backpack.

This is a very nice idea.  If you want to donate to the project, click here.  Thanks to Kathy and Barbara for telling me about the project.  They shared that everyone in the AAA office got involved.  Thanks.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Today is my travel day.  I’m heading out to Denver for the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Accounting Association.

Accounting profs at a convention don’t change their normal demeanor of dull, boring, and dull.  Do you think we’re any different than what we show in Accounting 101?  Not likely.

Boredom is occasionally observed in Accounting 101.

So, what’s to do at an accounting professor convention?  Walking around, checking e-mail, sitting in on presentations.

I have a poster presentation scheduled on Monday.

A regular presentation is where a speaker is allotted 30 minutes to bore the audience to death.  More lethal than death by PowerPoint, it’s death by professor presentation.

A poster presentation is different.  A professor tacks up a 48×36 poster, and stands in front of it for 90 minutes.  People will walk by and perhaps make a comment.  Most accounting professor posters aren’t any more interesting than Accounting 101, but no one dies.  My poster can be viewed by clicking here (thanks for Marsha Huber for basic instruction in how to create posters, and thanks to the incredibly talented BKA who designed it in Powerpoint).

Debit and credit – – Dave Albrecht

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Nearly 3,000 accounting professors will be packing up this week, and heading for Denver.  The American Accounting Association (AAA), the professional association for accounting professors, is holding its annual meeting, August 6-10.  Although Saturday and Sunday are filled with workshops, the convention proper starts on Sunday evening with an early bird reception.

Professors will be coming from schools big and small, public and private, 4+ and 2 year, North American and elsewhere.  At one time there were many practitioner members of the AAA, this year there may be one or two  in attendance (except for about a dozen invited speakers).  The drop off is because it has been years and years since a prominent professor wrote anything in any way relevant to the real world.

I’ve been attending these things almost every year since 1989.  1989 was one of the final years of feast.  Recent years have been characterized by famine.  In 1989 there were huge nightly galas, with free food and large audit firm booze everywhere.  It was popular to roam the halls and stagger into lavish parties, with long tables filled with incredible delicacies.

Last year had very little of that.  There were only a few invitation only parties, with guards to keep out the uninvited.  Perhaps its because the baby boom generation of professors has aged and can no longer party all night.  Booze conflicts with many medications.  (By the way, I quit drinking in 1976, so have never been tempted by Big 8,7,6,5,4 booze.)

There are four reasons for accounting professors to attend the national conference.  First, there’s a chance to present a paper (or two or three), cutting notches in the scholarship section of the resume. Papers are presented on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  It’s a feather in the cap to be selected to be a discussant.  A discussant provides scholarly criticism and suggestions for improvement for the three papers presented in a 75 minute concurrent session.  Attendance at these scholarly sessions tends to be high on Monday and Tuesday, then it tales off after exhaustion sets in.  Most accounting presenters are such terrible presenters, I wonder how pained their students must be.

Second, there are CPE workshops for professors to develop their professor skills.  They might be related to technical areas of accounting, research, or teaching.  With the creation of  CTLA for teaching and learning, attendance has dried up for CPE workshops.  CPE and CTLA overlap on Saturday and Sunday.  CTLA is a mistake, in my opinion, and will eventually kill CPE.  Did I mention that I’m presenting two CPE sessions on Sunday?  My workshops are “Using Social Media in the Classroom” and “Blogging for Professors.”  If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by.  They cost $90 per four hour session.

Third, there is an opportunity to fellowship with friends and colleagues at other schools.  I’ve never been at a school with another faculty with the identical research and teaching interests as I have.  That’s because  faculty tend to specialize, and no school needs many specialists in a narrow area.  So, I spend much of my time at the convention talking with my buddies (Tim Fogarty, Thomas Calderon, Bryan Green, John Walker, Marsha Huber, Kate Campbell, Mark Holtzblatt, and many, many others).  I will spend at least three hours with one of my co-authors, and talk over possible projects with potential co-authors.  I hope to get a chance to talk with Caleb Newquist, editor of Going Concern.  I’ll have a video cam with me, so some of the interviews might end up on The Summa.

Finally, there is the career center. This is where many schools conduct preliminary interviews with professors looking for jobs.  These professors might be rookies, soon to finish a Ph.D.  Other professors are more experienced who want to move for one reason or another.

I am in the market this year (e-mail me if you have a position and want to talk).  Concordia College is a nice school, and I am eternally grateful to it for hiring me two years ago. My wife, didn’t move to Minnesota with me, though.  Now I am looking for another school so we again can live together.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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