I would like to personally invite you to Chicago, Illinois for the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Accounting Association! The theme of this year’s meeting “Building Bridges to Our Future” speaks to our place in AAA’s history, poised as we are, on the cusp of AAA’s 100th birthday in 2016.  The theme also speaks to the significant progress we have made in enhancing AAA’s existing structure via the creation of four new Centers focused on advancing accounting in the areas of research, education, practice and in the public interest. Together with AAA sections, regions, members, and other key partners, the Centers will enable AAA to pursue new activities and strengthen existing activities for the benefit of members and society. During the Annual Meeting you will have opportunities to learn more about the initial projects planned for the Centers, some of which are already underway. Finally, this year’s theme recognizes that to achieve our vision to be thought leaders in accounting, we must build and maintain strong bridges between AAA and our many key partners throughout the world.

The meeting will kick off on Saturday, August 8th, with a wide array of pre-meeting sessions; the main series of plenary and concurrent sessions will take place from Monday morning, August 10th, through Wednesday evening, August 12th. There are many planned discussions, panels, and events. I am pleased to announce the following keynote speakers: Jacob Soll (University of Southern California),Samia Msadek (World Bank), Charles M. C. Lee (Stanford University), The Second City Works, Thomas Davenport (Babson College), Brian Sommer (Vital Analysis),Dr. Ann Cavoukian (The Privacy and Big Data Institute at Ryerson University), and Bruce Behn (The University of Tennessee).  Please click HERE for more information about these wonderful speakers.

Monday’s Plenary session speaker will be Jacob Soll, a Professor of History at the University of Southern California. He was previously Professor of History at Rutgers University, and has lectured at Princeton University and held visiting scholarships at the National Library of Portugal, Lisbon, and Trinity College, Cambridge, as well as the Fernand Braudel Professorship at the European University Institute in Fiesole, Italy.

Samia Msadek, the Director of the Governance Global Practice Group at the World Bank will also be a featured speaker at the Monday Plenary. She is leading the Financial Management agenda in the public and private sectors in the World Bank Group’s member countries and her goal is to use global knowledge to meet local needs with efficiency and effectiveness.

Tuesday’s Plenary will feature Charles M. C. Leethe Joseph McDonald Professor of Accounting at the Graduate School of Business (GSB), Stanford University.  He is also a Senior Academic Fellow of the Asian Bureau of Financial and Economic Research (ABFER), and Co-Founder of Nipun Capital, LLC, a San Francisco based asset management firm focused on Asian equities. Professor Lee studies the effect of human cognitive constraints on market participants and other factors that impact the efficiency with which market prices incorporate information.  His work on market microstructure, investor sentiment, equity valuation, and financial analysis is widely published in leading academic journals in Accounting and Finance, and he has received numerous awards and honors for this research.  He has also received nine school-wide Teaching Excellence Awards (at Michigan, Cornell, and Stanford).

Tuesday’s luncheon will feature The Second City Works group.  Actors from Chicago’s renowned comedy theater, The Second City, will reveal the secrets of successful improve comedy and demonstrate how those secrets can be applied in your classes everyday to make them more efficient, effective, and engaging experiences for both you and your students!

Wednesday’s Plenary will feature Thomas Davenport.  He is the President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, the co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics, a Fellow of the MIT Center for Digital Business, and a Senior Advisor to Deloitte Analytics. Professor Davenport teaches analytics and big data in executive programs at Babson, Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School, and Boston University. He pioneered the concept of “competing on analytics” with his best-selling 2006Harvard Business Review article (and his 2007 book by the same name). His most recent book is Big Data@Work, from Harvard Business Review Press.

Brian Sommer, a ZDNet & Diginomica contributor and renowned accounting software expert, will be another Wednesday plenary speaker. Prior to his current role at Vital Analysis, Brian served as a senior partner at Accenture. Brian has sold, designed and implemented massive financial and HR solutions around the world and has been active on the industry speaking circuit on most every continent. Brian has written extensively on business value and ROI for prestigious publications like Optimize and the Wall Street Journal Europe.

Wednesday’s plenary also features Dr. Ann Cavoukian, who is recognized as one of the world’s leading privacy experts. She is presently the Executive Director of the Privacy and Big Data  Institute at Ryerson University. Appointed as the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada, in 1997, Dr. Cavoukian served an unprecedented three terms as Commissioner. There, she created Privacy by Design (PbD), a framework that seeks to Proactively embed privacy into the design specifications of information technologies, networked infrastructure, and business practices, thereby achieving the strongest protection possible. In October 2010, regulators at the International Conference of Data Protection Authorities and Privacy Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution recognizing PbD as an essential component of fundamental privacy protection. Since then, PbD has been translated into 37 languages.

Wednesday’s Luncheon will feature Bruce Behn, the Deloitte LLP Professor of Business, CBER Faculty Fellow, and Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Executive Education at The University of Tennessee. He has taught at Arizona State University and The University of Tennessee, where he previously served as Chair of the Department of Accounting and Information Management. Prior to obtaining his PhD at Arizona State University, he gained international professional experience in Uithoorn, The Netherlands, as international financial coordinator for Allen-Bradley Europa B.V. and the controller for PTI Controls in Tecate, Mexico. He also has domestic professional experience with Allen-Bradley Company as controller and financial analyst and KPMG Peat Marwick as senior auditor. Professor Behn has published widely in peer-reviewed journals including The Accounting Review, Accounting Horizons, Issues in Accounting Education, Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, and Contemporary Accounting Research.

As in the past, there are a number of pre-meeting activities, including our eighth Conference on Teaching and Learning in Accounting (CTLA). Every year, this conference attracts more and more of our members. Have a look at the program and the insert included in this issue. As in the past, there will be a host of sessions of interest to accounting educators.

The concurrent sessions during the Annual Meeting will include some at-large panel sessions which we hope you will be able to attend. The second Global Emerging Scholars Research Workshop will be held on Sunday. Last year’s Workshop was such a success that we have expanded the number of participants for this year’s event.  There will be twenty emerging scholars from all parts of the world invited to a workshop to help them improve their research. A group of our senior scholars have volunteered to help mentor these emerging scholars. We will continue with an initiative started last year of producing short videos of our best researchers, educators, and leaders to enable worldwide access to their expertise, insights and perspectives on the world of accounting and their experiences with the American Accounting Association throughout their careers.

The annual meeting is a major undertaking from the logistical and content points of view. Zoe-Vonna Palmrose (University of Washington-Seattle) and Gerry Searfoss (The University of Utah) are the Speaker Selection Co-Chairs this year.  Tracie Miller Nobles (Austin Community College) and Monte Swain (Brigham Young University) are the Education, Workshops and Symposia Co-Chairs, and Sara Melendy Kern (Gonzaga University) is the Section Liaison Chair of the Section-Sponsored Concurrent Sessions Team. You can view the full list of members of the Section-Sponsored Concurrent Sessions Team at http://aaahq.org/About/Directories/2014-2015-AAA-Committees-Task-Forces/Committees-Task-Forces/Annual-Meeting-Advisory-Committee. We could not make it all happen without the tireless efforts of the AAA professional staff in Sarasota. Everyone is working hard to make this a great meeting! I am extremely appreciative for the contribution of time and expertise of all of volunteers and staff who put together all of the many pieces of the Annual Meeting puzzle. This year’s meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago and Swissôtel Chicago. These hotels are connected by an underground walkway, which makes it very easy to walk between venues and experience all that this year’s Annual Meeting has to offer.

Whether you are interested in cutting-edge academic accounting research, innovative teaching methods, and/or gaining a deeper understanding of pressing issues at the intersection of accounting and business and society, the 2015 Annual Meeting will provide a multitude of opportunities to learn, collaborate, see old friends, and make new ones. Downtown Chicago boasts eighteen moveable bridges in just two short two miles. I cannot imagine a better setting for AAA members, guests, and partners to gather and continue to “Build Bridges to Our Future” together. I look forward to seeing you in Chicago this August.

Christine Botosan
President, American Accounting Association