Three new members of The Accounting Hall of Fame will be inducted by the American Accounting Association (AAA) in August 2024, during the organization’s Annual Meeting. The Accounting Hall of Fame originated at The Ohio State University in 1950 and has inducted 117 members since its inception. In 2017, the operations of The Accounting Hall of Fame were assumed by the AAA.

For 2024, the three inductees represent a diverse group of accounting thought leaders from both practice and educational backgrounds, according to Mary S. Stone, a past president of the AAA who chairs The Accounting Hall of Fame Committee. The nomination process engaged members of The Accounting Hall of Fame, the AAA, and other professional accounting organizations. This year’s inductees are Robert Libby, Frank Kenneth Ross, and Ross Leslie Watts. Profiles of the 2024 inductees follow.

Robert (Bob) Libby is the David A. Thomas Professor of Management and former Accounting Area Chair in the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University. He previously was a faculty member of the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago, and The Pennsylvania State University. He had visiting positions at Nanyang Technological University, University of Maastricht, The University of Texas at Austin, University of New South Wales, and Yale University.

When accounting researchers and PhD students throughout the world hear the name Bob Libby, they think of “Libby Boxes,” a predictive-validity framework introduced to the accounting literature in his first book, Accounting and Human Information Processing: Theory and Application. The preface to the book describes it as written “to bridge the gap between the basic theory of decision making and its application to accounting.” That goal, articulated in 1981, captures the essence of Libby’s research for over fifty years.

Since earning his PhD in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1974, Libby has led the use of experimental research methods to address behavioral topics in financial accounting and auditing. He has published over sixty articles in prestigious academic journals, co-authored six books (including popular undergraduate accounting texts), chaired eighteen PhD committees, served as a distinguished faculty member at eight American Accounting Association/Deloitte/J. Michael Cook Doctoral Consortiums, and spoken at university workshops in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He has served as Editor of The Accounting Review and on the editorial boards of The Accounting Review (multiple times); Accounting, Organizations, and Society; Journal of Behavioral Decision Making; Journal of Accounting Research; and Journal of Accounting Literature. His work has been recognized with two AAA/AICPA Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Awards, and his many contributions have been recognized with the AAA’s Outstanding Accounting Educator and Outstanding Service Awards.

Libby also has served as an institution-builder in important ways. In 2009, consistent with his commitment to strengthening the bonds of academics with accounting/auditing practitioners and regulators, he became a founding academic member of the Research Advisory Board (RAB) of the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ). During his tenure on the RAB, Libby worked with practitioners to identify grant proposals likely to result in insights relevant to the accounting/auditing profession as well as scholarly publications. Similarly, as the AAA’s VP of Publications and work on Intellectual Property Task Forces, he was instrumental in obtaining ongoing support for accounting research and the AAA that continues to this day.

Robert Libby will be the 118th inductee to The Accounting Hall of Fame.

Frank Kenneth Ross is a retired KPMG partner, a co-founder and first president of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), a former director of the Howard University School of Business Center for Accounting Education (CAE), a founding member of the AICPA & CIMA National Commission on Diversity & Inclusion (NCDI), an author, and a visiting professor. Most importantly to Ross, he has been a mentor, inspiration, and role model for minorities who have achieved senior-level accounting positions as well as for individuals who have established their own accounting firms.

Ross was one of the first black CPAs to become a partner in an international accounting firm. During his 38-year career with KPMG, he served as Mid-Atlantic Area Managing Partner for Audit and Risk Advisory Services, Managing Partner of the Greater Washington, DC offices, member of KPMG’s Board of Directors, and Chairman of the KPMG Foundation Board of Directors.

In 1969 when he was 26 years old, Ross and eight other Black professionals founded the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). Today, NABA has more than 10,000 members across the country. It has awarded over $11 million in scholarships to students who have entered the accounting profession. He later served as Director of the Howard University School of Business CAE. The Center works to attract students to the accounting profession and then provides programs to help them become leaders. To date, more than 3,500 students and young professionals have participated in and benefited from CAE programs.

He is a graduate of the Brooklyn, NY Campus of Long Island University (LIU) where he received his BS and MBA degrees. Ross received his initial CPA Certification from New York State in early 1969. He has received many honors for his service to the community as well as to the profession. He was awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees from LIU and the University of the District of Columbia. In 2014, he received the AICPA’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Service.

Throughout his career, Ross has been instrumental in building awareness of the unique challenges and limited opportunities Blacks faced in the accounting profession. Former colleagues praise him for being a role model, a calming voice when needed, and an outspoken voice when required.

His co-authored book Quiet Guys Can Do Great Things, Too, tells his life story from immigrant to successful CPA. Blacknews.com describes the book as “a classic and triumphant American tale, a parable of how one man’s awe and inspiration at life’s possibilities was not thwarted or halted by the darker realities of racism, segregation, and discrimination.” The book is available on Amazon.

Frank Kenneth Ross will be the 119th inductee to The Accounting Hall of Fame.

Ross Leslie Watts is the Erwin H. Schnell Professor of Management Emeritus and Professor of Accounting Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1971-2005, he was assistant professor, associate professor, and chaired professor at the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Rochester. He had visiting appointments at the University of Otago, Northwestern University, the University of New South Wales, and Monash University. His PhD is from the University of Chicago.

Soon after becoming faculty members at the University of Rochester, Watts and his frequent co-author, Jerry Zimmerman, began changing the way accounting academics thought about the role of accounting, the research questions they posed, and the way they addressed those questions. The role of academic research changed from developing normative prescriptions to empirically testing predictions based on contracting theory. Papers published by Watts and Zimmerman in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s provided researchers the framework to address fundamental questions about why managers manage earnings, make voluntary disclosures, lobby against proposals that would constrain their accounting choices, and value external audits.

Early in their academic careers (1979), Watts and Zimmerman founded the Journal of Accounting & Economics (JAE). The journal met the needs of an expanding number of methodologically skilled PhDs entering an academic market in which The Accounting Review and Journal of Accounting Research were the primary outlets for publishing high-quality research. JAE expanded new academics opportunities to publish their empirical and analytical work in a journal that soon became one of the top three journals in accounting. The 1986 publication of Positive Accounting Theory (with Zimmerman) introduced contracting theory to a broader audience of educators and their students.

In 1994, Watts co-founded the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), and since then has served as Director of the Accounting Research Network (ARN). SSRN, which has grown to include sixty distinct discipline-specific networks (including ARN), has improved the quality and quantity of research by making unpublished working papers readily available to researchers worldwide.

One of his most enduring and far-reaching contributions to accounting scholarship and education is his former students. During his career, Watts chaired twenty five PhD dissertations and was a dissertation committee member for eighteen other students. Many of his academic progeny are chaired professors at elite universities, prolific authors, members of editorial boards, frequent workshop presenters, and, likely most importantly to Watts, now mentors to their own PhD students.

Ross Leslie Watts will be the 120th inductee to The Accounting Hall of Fame.

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.


The Accounting Hall of Fame honors accountants who have made, or are making, significant contributions to the advancement of accounting since the beginning of the 20th century. Since its establishment in 1950, 117 leading accountants have been elected to the Hall of Fame.

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Accounting Hall of Fame (AHOF) Committee


Mary S. Stone

Chair, Past President AAA

Mary Barth

Past President AAA and AHOF Member

Christine Botosan

Past President AAA

Bob Herz

AHOF Member

Olivia Kirtley

AHOF Member

Chuck Noski

AHOF Member


Yvonne Hinson

AAA Chief Executive Officer

Steve Matzke

AAA Senior Director of External Relations

Rick Young

The Ohio State University

Board of Directors Liaison

Elaine Mauldin

AAA BOD Liaison/Past President AAA