Reed Karl Storey

For three decades, this respected accounting scholar played a key role in the development of accounting concepts and standards, first for the Accounting Principles Board and later for the Financial Accounting Standards Board. He was born in 1926 to a father who encouraged him to pursue a career in accounting. In 1944, following graduation from high school, he entered Weber College in Ogden, Utah. In the following year, he was called to active service in the U. S. Naval Reserve, serving until mid-1946. From 1949 to 1952, he worked as a staff accountant for his father, Karl S. Storey, C.P.A., in Ogden Utah. In 1952, he completed his baccalaureate degree at the University of Utah, where he served as a teaching assistant, and also became a C.P.A. Following graduation, he began preparation for an academic career by entering the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his PhD in 1958. His doctoral dissertation, titled “Matching Costs with Revenues: An Analysis of Accounting Adaptation to Uncertainty,” was completed under the direction of Maurice Moonitz and was later published in book form. Related articles were also published in The Accounting Review and the Journal of Accountancy during the 1960s.

From 1956 to 1963, he served on the accounting faculty at the University of Washington. During his last year at Washington, he was on leave working as a project manager for the accounting research division of the American Institute of CPAs. During that year he accepted an appointment as the AICPA’s assistant director of accounting research and in 1964 he succeeded Paul Grady as director with responsibility for developing and supervising the research staff and program of the Accounting Principles Board. He served as director until 1973 when the APB was succeeded by the FASB. In that year, he joined Bernard M. Baruch College at the City University of New York as professor of accounting. During this period, he also served as a consultant to Haskins & Sells and to Coopers & Lybrand. He remained at Baruch until 1975 when he joined the FASB’s research and technical staff. He was named assistant director of research and technical activities in 1977 and senior technical adviser in 1981, retiring in 1996.

 During his last years at the University of Washington, he conducted a study of the history and development of accounting principles which was published by the AICPA in 1964 under the title The Search for Accounting Principles: Today’s Problems in Perspective. As director of accounting research at the AICPA, he oversaw the publication of the acclaimed series of Accounting Research Studies written by both academic and practitioner author teams. Several of these studies included “Comments by the Director” some of which were critical of the accompanying study. While senior technical advisor at the FASB he played an important role in many of the Board’s projects, including accounting for foreign operations and foreign exchange transactions, accounting for restricted debt, consolidations and related matters, impairment of long-lived assets, and accounting for contributed assets and services. In addition, he was closely associated with the entire conceptual framework project and was instrumental in developing the first six of the FASB Concepts Statements. At the 1980 Annual Meeting of the American Accounting Association, he articulated his views on the “Conditions Necessary for Developing a Conceptual Framework” in an address that was published in following year in the Journal of Accountancy. His views on the relationship between concepts and standards are set forth in The Framework of Financial Accounting Concepts and Standards, written with the assistance of his daughter Sylvia, and published first in 1991 as the lead chapter in The Accountants’ Handbook and in 1998 as a special report of the FASB. He had a capacity for insightful, closely reasoned argument and a talent for clear writing. He is remembered by former colleagues for his mentoring of younger staff and for his insistence that standards for financial accounting and reporting practice rest on a foundation of objectives and fundamental accounting concepts.

He and his wife, Maria, had three children and two grandchildren. He died in 1999 and his wife in 2008. He is the eighty-eighth member of The Accounting Hall of Fame, Reed Karl Storey.