Mary Elizabeth Barth

Mary Elizabeth BarthBorn and raised in upstate New York, the only daughter of a father who was their hometown savings bank leader and a devoted mother who attended to raising her and her two older brothers, she aspired to study math having been inspired by her 7th grade mathematics teacher. A career goal included a math Ph.D. and becoming a math professor.

After entering her undergraduate program at Cornell University, she decided theoretical math was not for her--she wanted more contact with the real world. She received advice, often given to individuals so awakened, that if she liked math, she would like accounting.

Thereafter she took her first accounting coursework from “Pete” Dukes, a recently minted Stanford University Ph.D. who had been supervised by Bill Beaver. 

Her studies next moved to Boston University, where she obtained an MBA in January 1975 thereafter joining the staff of Arthur Andersen & Co., where she worked through the career path leading to her promotion to audit partner.  

She became interested in how to bridge the divide she perceived between academic and practicing accountants. She aspired to conduct research to shed light on the many issues of concern to practicing accountants, particularly accounting standard setters. In 1985 she left public practice, earned a Ph.D. at Stanford University in 1989, working as a research assistant to Bill Beaver and began her academic career on the faculty at Harvard University until l995, when she returned to Stanford University where she is now the Joan E Horngren Professor of Accounting. Beyond her teaching and research, her career has touched the many areas of our profession, serving as a member of the International Accounting Standards Board, as President of the American Accounting Association and currently as Senior Editor of The Accounting Review.

She has contributed distinctively to our academic and professional communities as a scholar, educator, editor, standard setter and organizational leader. Her family live revolves around her husband Jeffrey Barth, their son and daughter in law and two grandchildren.

Mary Elizabeth Barth is the Ninety-Fifth member of The Accounting Hall of Fame.