Five new members of The Accounting Hall of Fame were inducted by the American Accounting Association (AAA) in August 2020, during the organization's virtual Annual Meeting on Tuesday, August 11, 2020. The Accounting Hall of Fame originated at The Ohio State University in 1950 and has inducted 106 members since its inception. In 2017 the operations of The Accounting Hall of Fame were assumed by the AAA.
Bruce Behn, a past president of AAA, who chairs The Accounting Hall of Fame Committee, stated that this year’s inductees represent a diverse group of accounting thought leaders from a breadth of practice and educational backgrounds. The nomination process engaged members of The Accounting Hall of Fame, the AAA and other professional accounting organizations. The inductees, Victor Zinn Brink, Robert Mednick, Leslie French Seidman, Shyam Sunder, and Doyle Zane Williams are briefly profiled below.
Victor Zinn Brink (1906-1992) was the face of internal auditing for half a century. He played a key role in laying the foundation for the modern practice of internal auditing and he co-founded the organization that now represents more than 200,000 internal auditors in about 200 countries worldwide. Based on his doctoral work at Columbia University of Business, Brink wrote the first major textbook on internal auditing in 1941. It is still in circulation (the latest edition of Brink’s Modern Internal Auditing was published in 2016). In addition to his service as a founder of The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) in 1941, Brink was 1950-1951 international president and served as chairman of the International Planning Committee, Director of Research, chairman of the Committee on Relations with Other Organizations, chairman of the International Executive Committee, among other positions. Brink, PhD, CIA, CPA, held a number of executive positions with Ford Motor Co., including as general auditor. Over his career, he authored over a dozen books on internal auditing and at least 180 articles in professional journals. In 1977, The IIA published his book-length history of the organization, titled Foundations for Unlimited Horizons: The Institute of Internal Auditors, 1941-1976. Brink was among the first recipients, posthumously, of The IIA’s American Hall of Distinguished Practitioners award in 2012 and was honored with the prestigious Bradford Cadmus Memorial Award in 1967. The IIA established the Victor Z. Brink Award for Distinguished Service, recognizing outstanding service to the internal audit profession. He taught at several schools, including the University of Nebraska, Dartmouth College, and Columbia University.
Robert Mednick has made important contributions to the accounting profession both in the U.S. and abroad. He was a key figure in tort reform initiatives, convergence to a single set of accounting and auditing standards, and the expansion of the audit function to broader assurance services. Mednick has written and spoken extensively about the role and future of accounting and accountants in a changing world which have raised awareness about the responsibilities, ethics, and social and developmental role of accountants. He was worldwide managing partner of Professional and Regulatory Matters at Arthur Andersen/Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) for more than five years before retiring in mid-1998. He was also chairman of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in 1996-1997, having previously served on its Auditing Standards Board, the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council and the SEC Practice Section Executive Committee. Other board service included the Rand Corporation Institute for Civil Justice and the Ray Garrett Jr Corporate and Securities Law Institute at Northwestern University Law School. Since retirement, Mednick has served as a senior consultant to the World Bank, the founding chairman of a Compliance Advisory Panel at the International Federation of Accountants, a member of the Board and Executive Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA, and a member of three advisory groups to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, DC. In 2010, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) honored Mednick with its lifetime achievement award (the IFAC Global Leadership Award in Honor of Robert Sempier), which is awarded to only one person worldwide once every four years. He is the only person to hold that award and the AICPA Gold Medal of Distinction, the AICPA’s highest recognition for lifetime contributions to the profession.
Leslie French Seidman is an independent director for General Electric and Moody’s corporations where she serves as the chair of the Audit Committee (for both companies), as well as serving on other committees. She was the founding director of the Center for Excellence in Financial Reporting at the Lubin School of Business at Pace University and serves as an advisor to Idaciti, a digital reporting company. Seidman is a past chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), where she also served as a member of the board (2003-2013). She is also a past member of the board of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and Financial Executives International. Previously, Seidman was an auditor with Arthur Young & Co., a Vice President of Accounting Policy with J.P. Morgan & Co., and a member of the FASB staff. She has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Award from the Institute of Management Accountants, for launching the innovative Women’s Accounting Leadership program. Seidman has been ranked among the Top 10 Most Influential People in Accounting by Accounting Today and was named to the NACD Directorship 100 for Governance. Ms. Seidman authored the first three editions of Financial Instruments: A Comprehensive Guide to Accounting and Reporting (currently in its 19th edition from Wolters Kluwer). Seidman graduated from Colgate University in 1984 with a degree in English and earned a master’s degree in accounting from New York University. She is a CPA and is certified in cybersecurity oversight.
Shyam Sunder is the James L. Frank Professor of Accounting, Economics, and Finance at the Yale School of Management and Professor (by courtesy) in the Department of Economics. He is a renowned accounting theorist and experimental economist. His research contributions to accounting include financial reporting, information in security markets, statistical theory of valuation, social norms and regulation. He is a pioneer in the fields of experimental finance and experimental macroeconomics. Sunder’s research includes ten books and more than 220 articles in the leading journals of accounting, economics and finance, as well as in popular media. His monograph, Theory of Accounting and Control (1997), has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. He and his research have been awarded multiple honors including the AAA/PricewaterhouseCoopers Foundation Outstanding Accounting Educator Award (2013), the AAA Distinguished International Lecturer (2000) and the AAA Presidential Research Lecturer (1999). He is a two-time recipient of the AAA/AICPA Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award (1982, 1998) and a recipient of the Competitive Manuscript Award (1975). He is a past president (2006-2007) and director of research (1988-1990) of the AAA, former director of Yale’s Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance, and fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center, distinguished fellow of the Center for Study of Science and Technology Policy in Bengaluru, and research fellow of Research Institute of Economics and Business Administration, Kobe University. He is also a member of the International Academic Advisory Boards of the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, and the Business School of Jindal Global University, Sonepat, India. He is a founding editor of Accounting, Economics and Law: A Convivium.
Doyle Zane Williams is a dean emeritus of the University of Arkansas, where he was dean of the Walton College of Business for twelve years. He served as an initial agent of change in data development related to educational research. His work is documented in the AICPA Education Statistical studies that he developed and were published covering the years 1967-1993. He is a past president of the AAA (1984-1985) and past chair of the Board of Directors of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) from 2004-2005. His role as chair of the AACSB Board gave him the opportunity to strengthen, expand and advise institutions as to the elements of accounting accreditation activities. He served as Director of Education of the AAA, president of the Administrators of Accounting Programs, and president of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy. He also served as chair of the Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC) from 1989-1993. The AECC’s statement on the “Objectives of Education for Accountants” was widely quoted and its work served as the basis for many curriculum advances. Working with the Atlanta office of KPMG, he established the Financial Reporting Roundtable involving the 20 largest companies headquartered in Georgia. Williams was the founding dean of the School of Accounting at the University of Southern California, served as Accounting Area Coordinator at Texas Tech University, and was a senior scholar at Kennesaw State University. He also served as Executive Director of the Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program, administered by the AICPA, from 2008-2012. He received the FSA/Joseph A. Silvoso Faculty Merit Award for distinguished contributions to the Federation, to the profession of accounting, and to accounting education in 1993 and again in 2011. He received the AAA’s Outstanding Accounting Educator Award in 1996. He was the fifth educator to receive the AICPA's Gold Medal for Distinguished Service in 2002. Upon his retirement from the University of Arkansas, the university established the endowed Doyle Z. and Maynette D. Williams Chair in Professional Accounting.
About the American Accounting Association
Promoting excellence in accounting education, research, and practice, the American Accounting Association (AAA) is the largest community of accountants in academia. Founded in 1916, we have a rich and reputable history built on leading-edge research and publications. The diversity of our membership creates a fertile environment for collaboration and innovation. Collectively, we shape the future of accounting through teaching, research and a powerful network, ensuring our position as thought leaders in accounting. For more information about the AAA, please visit http://aaahq.org
The Accounting Hall of Fame was established at The Ohio State University in 1950.