Thomas J. Burns Biographical Research Award

The Academy of Accounting Historians annually honors an individual as the recipient of the Thomas J. Burns Biographical Research Award. Dr. Thomas J. Burns, for whom the award is named, was a long-time professor at Ohio State University and a past president of the Academy of Accounting Historians. The Award is given for outstanding biographical research in the discipline of accountancy and can be for a single publication or for a lifetime of biographical work. Each nomination should be accompanied by a paragraph or more detailing why the nominee should be a candidate for the award. The award includes a plaque and a financial award.

Award: Plaque and $500

Send nominations to: Academy Executive Committee at

Congratulations to the 2021 Award Recipients!

Accounting Thought and Practice Reform: Ray Chambers' Odyssey
(2018, Routledge, New York, NY)

Book Description:

Raymond John Chambers was born just over a century ago on 16 November 1917. It is more than fifty years since his first classic, Accounting, Evaluation and Economic Behavior, was published, more than forty since Securities and Obscurities: Reform of the Law of Company Accounts (republished in 1980 as Accounting in Disarray) and over twenty since the unique An Accounting The-saurus: Five Hundred Years of Accounting. They are drawn upon extensively in this biography of Chambers’ intellectual contributions, as are other of his published works. Importantly, we also analyze archival correspondence not previously examined.

While Chambers provided several bibliographical summaries of his work, without the benefits of reviewing and interspersing the text with correspondence materials from the Chambers Archive this study would lack an appreciation of the impact of his early childhood, and nuances related to his practical (including numerous consultancies) and academic experiences. The ‘semi-biographical narrative’ codifies article and editorial length exercises by the authors drawing on parts of the archive related to theory development, measurement and communication. Other parts are also examined. This allows us to respond to those critics who claim his reforms were naive. They further reveal a man of theory and practice, whose theoretical ideas were solidly grounded on observations from his myriad interests and experiences. Many of his practical experiences have not been examined previously. This approach and the first book-length biography differentiates this work from earlier analyses of Chambers’ contribution to the accounting literature.

We provide evidence to support the continued push for the reforms he pro-posed to accepted accounting thought and practice to ensure accounting is the serviceable technology so admired by Pacioli, Da Vinci and many other Re-naissance pioneers. It will be of interest to researchers, educators, practitioners and regulators alike.

Book Description from:

Frank Clarke
held positions of Professor of Accounting and Emeritus Professor of Accounting at The University of Newcastle, and Honorary Professor of Accounting at The University of Sydney; he had visiting professorial and other appointments also at the Universities of Glasgow, Canterbury (NZ), and Lancaster; he was a past editor of Abacus and a long-term consulting editor; he published widely on myriad topics including consolidation accounting, price and price level accounting, lessons about accounting from analyzing unexpected company failures, Islamic accounting; he was author or joint author of more than a dozen books and numerous refereed journal articles. He died on 1 January 2020, a little over a year after the launch of the Chambers biography, Accounting Thought and Practice Reform: Ray Chambers’ Odyssey.

Graeme Dean is Emeritus Professor of Accounting at The University of Sydney (2012-present), following a Professorial appointment (2001-2012); he also held visiting appointments at sever-al overseas universities, Canterbury (NZ), Cardiff, Glasgow, Hohenheim, Munich, Stuttgart and Graz. He was a long-time editor (1994-2009) and is currently consulting editor of Abacus, the fourth oldest and one of the leading Anglo-American accounting academic journals. He has published several books, including (with Frank Clarke): the Ray Chambers’ Odyssey, Corporate Collapse: Accounting, Regulatory and Ethical Failure, Indecent Disclosure: Gilding the Corporate Lily and more than 50 refer-eed journal articles published in leading journals. Early research examined asset valuation and company failures; followed by ten years exploring the development of ideas related to accounting for inflation, specifically the development and transport of ideas from the European to Anglo-American countries. Then followed work at the interface of accounting and company law, using company failures as the vehicle for testing extant ideas.

Martin E. Persson
is an Assistant Professor of Accountancy at Gies College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on the development of accounting thought, with a particular interest in people, ideas, and institutions from the 1900s, as well as classical ac-counting theory and measurement issues. His re-search has been published in Emerald’s Studies in Development of Accounting Thought book series, Routledge’s New Works in Accounting History book series, and journals such as Abacus, Ac-counting Horizons, and Accounting History. He currently serves as the Associate Editor of the Ac-counting Historians Journal, the official bibliographer of Accounting History Review, and on several editorial boards.

His research has received numerous awards, including a grant from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Past recipients of the Award:

2020 Mikhail Kuter, Marina Gurskaya and Alexander Kuznetsov, Kuban State University
2019 C. Richard Baker, Adelphi University
2018     Nohora Garcia, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
2017 Gary J. Previts, Case Western Reserve University
2016 Martin Persson, Ivey Business School
2015 Tonya K. Flesher, University of Mississippi
2014 Massimo Sargiacomo, University of Pescara
Stefania Servalli, University of Bergamo
Paolo Andrei, University of Parma 
2013 Stephen P. Walker, University of Edinburgh
2012 No Award Presented
2011 Edward Coffman, Virginia Commonwealth University
2010 Laurie Barfitt, Western New Mexico University
Dan Jensen, The Ohio State University
2009 E. Richard Criscione, Morehead State University
2008 Stephen A. Zeff, Rice University
2007 Donald E. Tidrick, Northern Illinois University
2006 Richard G. Vangermeersch, University of Rhode Island
2005 Dale L. Flesher, University of Mississippi

Accounting Historians Journal

First volume was published in 1974. We publish twice a year. Older volumes are available online at AAA Digital Library

Overview of acceptable submissions:

  • History of profession
  • Biography
  • History of accounting change
  • Entity case studies: industries, companies, governmental or NFP entities
  • Development of accounting theory
  • Critical examinations of new or old research
  • Does not have to be old to be a part of our history

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Accounting Historians Notebook

Submissions and any other Notebook editorial matters may be sent to Tiffany Schwendeman, Academy Administrator, at:

The April 2022 Accounting Historian's Notebook is now available online!

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