Kenneth Wilson Stringer

Kenneth Wilson StringerDuring the early years of his life in the small rural river town of Birmingham, Kentucky, Ken Stringer lived a quiet life, the son of the town’s barber, Amos, and his talented wife, Nicie, a seamstress.

He graduated from a forerunner of Western Kentucky University, receiving the Betty Austin Cup, in recognition of his being an outstanding graduate. He pursued the CPA examination and at that time was the youngest Kentuckian to pass the examination. While visiting his mother, recuperating in the hospital from an auto accident, he met and married Catherine Gatten, a hospital nurse. They would share the next half century and beyond together.

Before the outbreak of World War II, he was hired as a junior level accountant with Haskins & Sells, a forerunner firm of Deloitte, in Cincinnati. When the war intervened, he served stateside as a warrant officer. After his Army service he became a partner in a two-person firm but by 1951, encouraged by the managing partner of the Deloitte Cincinnati office, he returned to the larger firm.

His technical expertise in audit applications drew the eye of the Executive Office of the firm in 1957 and he became a lead partner involved with technical applications of statistical sampling methods in auditing and analytical review. He served as Chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Statistical Sampling Committee during the years 1960-64 and was a member of that organizations first committee on Auditing of EDP records. Fascinated by computer technology he and his son programmed an early Atari computer, using BASIC language, to play blackjack.

While collaborating with others in a variety of disciplines, the major developments in the principles of audit evidence inherent in today’s auditing standards can be traced to Stringer’s pioneering efforts. By conducting dedicated working retreats, being a contributor to professional literature and making countless conference presentations, he led and advanced audit practice developments profession wide, all the while relating his knowledge to academics and influencing university teaching. In 1981, he received the American Accounting Association’s first ever award for contributions to the field of auditing.

Kenneth Wilson Stringer (1918-2014) is the Ninety-Seventh member of The Accounting Hall of Fame.

View the 2018 Interview with the Stringer Family