Great Accomplishments in Accountancy

It should come as no surprise that a profession known for integrity and character has had more than its share of special people and significant accomplishments.

The goals of the profession: establishing a climate of fairness for investors, helping businesses avoid risk and prosper, and aiding people in responsible financial planning, among others, naturally attract principled men and women.

Accomplishments To Date

These accountants, educators, regulators, and auditors were chosen for you. Reasonable minds could argue for different candidates. There were many names that were extremely difficult to eliminate. Without a doubt, though, the men and women on this list, arranged alphabetically, have made a profound impact:

Arthur Andersen left his job as controller of the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. in 1913 to help establish the eponymous firm that was one of the Big Five in accounting until its demise in 2002, following the Enron collapse. He was also head of the accounting department at Northwestern University.

George Anderson served as chairman of the AICPA’s Special Committee on Standards of Professional Conduct in the 1980s, AICPA chairman in 1980–81, a principal in the firm Anderson ZurMuehlen. The special committee’s report led to the AICPA membership’s endorsement of the Plan to Restructure Professional Standards during the same decade.

Thomas Coleman Andrews served as AICPA president in 1950–51. He became the first CPA to hold the position of commissioner of Internal Revenue beginning in 1953, ran for president of the United States in 1956 as an independent candidate; he received 107,929 votes, less than two-tenths of 1% of the popular vote, as Dwight Eisenhower defeated Adlai Stevenson in the election.

Robert Anthony, the Harvard Business School educator, was U.S. assistant secretary of Defense, Controller from 1965 to 1968. He wrote at over twenty-seven books, including Management Accounting: Text and Cases (1956), the first text and casebook on the subject. He was president of the American Accounting Association (AAA) between 1973 and 1974.

In 1972, Marshall Armstrong became the first chairman of FASB, beginning his job from a desk at the AICPA offices. FASB had more than one-hundred staff members when he left as chairman five years later. While AICPA president between 1970 and 1971, he appointed the Wheat Committee, which recommended forming FASB, and the Trueblood Committee, which called for a reporting framework that would be more useful to investors.

In 1947, George Bailey, the longtime Ernst & Ernst partner started George Bailey & Co., which later became part of Touche Ross. The 1947–48 AICPA president is known for developing closer relations between the accounting and legal professions. He also improved accounting education at the university level.

Andrew Barr, the SEC’s chief accountant from 1956 to 1972 received the highest honor the federal government can give a career employee, the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, in 1960. A speech he gave at the end of the 1950s helped trigger a revision in the AICPA’s rules of conduct, barring members from having financial interests in or being employed by audit clients.

Elmer Beamer, the Haskins & Sells executive, chaired the AICPA Committee on Education and Experience Requirements for CPAs. A report published in 1969 by the committee concluded that a five-year collegiate program was necessary to acquire the knowledge needed to begin a career in public accounting.

William Beaver, the Stanford University graduate school professor, wrote a widely read book, Financial Reporting: An Accounting Revolution. He also was a trustee of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) from 1993 to 1996, as well as president of the AAA in 1987 and 1988.

Norton Bedford, the University of Illinois professor, devoted his career to developing the conceptual base for accounting thought. Bedford chaired the AAA’s Committee on the Future Structure, Content, and Scope of Accounting Education, known as the Bedford Committee, whose 1986 report recommended changes to more adequately prepare students for accounting careers.

Dennis Beresford, Chairman of FASB for 10 years beginning in 1987, worked to maintain the independence and integrity of the board under pressure from outside interests. Beresford led the board’s early efforts at internationalization, and later joined the University of Georgia’s faculty. He also was national director of accounting standards at Ernst & Young.

Herman Bevis, the Price Waterhouse CEO from 1961 to 1969, was known for his devotion to the firm’s integrity and quality. After retirement, Bevis spent five years as executive director of the Banking and Securities Industries Committee, seeking to solve paperwork problems in the industry. He advocated the removal of stock certificates held by individual shareholders.


Accomplishments That Are Forward-Looking

Russell Fujioka, President of Xero US
Russ Fujioka is responsible for the expansion and growth of Xero’s U.S. markets and has more than 25 years’ experience providing strategic and operational leadership to cloud, SaaS (Software as a Service) and technology providers.

Fujioka has focused on sales, digital marketing and operational management of high growth businesses and spent a good chunk of his career working in tech companies that are flipping entire industries.

Embracing change is the most important issue accountants are having to grapple with, he says. “How do you embrace change? The world of the financial web is precipitating a rapid change in the accounting and bookkeeping world: the immediacy and access to information is changed forever.

“As with everything in the digital world,” he adds, “Time has compressed: that time allows for the profession to become more useful. Accountants can use their financial acumen to deliver more customer insights to their businesses.”

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Statements of Excellence in Accountancy

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