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