Welcome from the President, David Burgstahler

As the 2016-2017 President, I invite you to join us for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Accounting Association to be held in San Diego, CA!  The theme of this year’s meeting, “Imagining Our Future,” will explore the various ways we can shape the future of accounting as we embark on the AAA’s second century. Accounting will continue to play a critical role in a prosperous society.  As the world’s leading academic accounting organization and as Thought Leaders in Accounting, we must respond to the challenges of our ever-changing environment.

The meeting will start on Saturday, August 5 with a wide array of pre-meeting sessions and workshops, including the Conference on Teaching and Learning in Accounting (CTLA), which attracts an increasing number of members each year.  As in past years, there will be a variety of sessions of interest to accounting educators. Please see the special CTLA program insert included in the Accounting Education News newsletter.

The plenaries and concurrent sessions will take place from Monday morning, August 7, through the evening of Wednesday, August 9, and will feature numerous planned discussions, panels and events.  The Monday morning plenary session will feature three speakers addressing ways to increase the relevance of accounting research.  Robert J. Swieringa will discuss strengthening connections to practice, Cathy Schrand will focus on enhancing the journal review process, and Robert S. Kaplan will consider revisions to academic performance evaluation.  Each speaker will also chair a follow-up panel discussion devoted to their topic later in the day on Monday.  Each year, the AAA President has the pleasure of selecting one or more Presidential Scholars whose work has made fundamental contributions to the discipline of accounting. I am delighted that S. P. Kothari and Richard G. Sloan will be speaking at the plenary session on Tuesday morning as this year’s Presidential Scholars. Tuesday’s Luncheon speaker will be psychologist and author of The Invisible Gorilla, Daniel Simons. Wednesday’s plenary will feature psychologist and author Stephen PinkerAnne L. Christensen, the AAA’s 2017-2018 President, will be our featured speaker at the Wednesday luncheon.

Robert J. Swieringa is Professor Emeritus of Accounting, and the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean Emeritus at The Johnson School at Cornell University. Professor Swieringa earned a BA degree in economics from Augustana College, a MBA in accounting and economics from the University of Denver, and a PhD in Accounting and complex organizations from the University of Illinois. Swieringa's teaching interests are in the areas of corporate financial reporting, corporate governance, and the use of accounting information for decision making and performance evaluation. 

An outstanding teacher and lecturer, Swieringa won the Justice Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching at Cornell and has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his scholarly and professional work. His research interests are in corporate financial reporting, corporate governance, and behavioral accounting.

Catherine Schrand is the Celia Z. Moh Professor and Professor of Accounting at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where she started her academic career in 1994.  She is the Vice Dean of Wharton Doctoral Programs and the Faculty Director of Undergraduate Research and Scholars Programs.  She has a B.B.A. from the University of Michigan and a M.B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.  She was a staff auditor and audit manager for KPMG Peat Marwick.

Schrand’s research interests are in firms’ risk management practices, the effects of disclosure on a firm’s cost of capital, and earnings quality.  She has published research articles in numerous academic journals, and has also published practitioner-oriented articles based on her research for Risk magazine and several textbooks and practitioner handbooks.  Professor Schrand is the past president of the American Accounting Association’s (AAA) Financial Accounting Reporting Section and has served on or chaired several committees of the AAA, including the Financial Accounting Standards Committee.  She was on the founding committee of the Journal of Financial Reporting and the editor of the inaugural issue.  She has served on 17 dissertation committees at the Wharton School (Chair of ten).

Robert S. Kaplan is the Senior Fellow and Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus, Harvard Business School. He is the co-developer of both activity-based costing and the Balanced Scorecard (BSC). His research, teaching, and consulting link cost and performance management systems to successful strategy execution. Kaplan has authored or co-authored 14 books and more than 175 papers including 25 in Harvard Business Review. Recent books include The Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage, the fifth Balanced Scorecard book co-authored with David Norton, and Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing with Steve Anderson. His previous books with Norton include Alignment, Strategy Maps, named as one of the top ten business books of 2004 by Strategy & Business and amazon.com; The Strategy-Focused Organization, named by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young as the best international business book for year 2000; and The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action, which has been translated into 24 languages and won the 2001 Wildman Medal from the American Accounting Association (AAA) for its impact on practice. He also co-authored Cost and EffectImplementing Activity-Based Cost Management, and Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting, which received the 2007 AAA Seminal Contributions to Literature Award.

Elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame in 2006, Kaplan received the AAA Outstanding Accounting Educator Award in 1988, and Lifetime Contribution Awards from the Management Accounting Section of the AAA in 2006 and the Institute of Management Accountants in 2008. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK) granted the 1994 CIMA Award for "Outstanding Contributions to the Accountancy Profession." Kaplan speaks globally on strategy execution, and cost and performance management. 

S. P. Kothari is the Gordon Y Billard Professor of Accounting and Finance and former Deputy Dean at the Sloan School of Management.  He also serves as the Faculty Director of the MIT-India Program.  Previously, he served as global head of equity research for Barclays Global Investors (BGI), responsible for research supporting BGI’s active equity strategies, from 2008-09.  Kothari’s highly cited research focuses on financial reporting and valuation, asset allocation, explaining the diversity in international accounting practices, use of employee stock options for compensating executives and accounting for stock options, evaluating investment performance, and corporate uses of derivatives for hedging and speculation.  The American Accounting Association (AAA) honored his work with the 2014 Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award.  For the past 20 years, Kothari has served as an editor of the Journal of Accounting & Economics, a world-renowned academic research journal in accounting.  He is an expert on economic policy issues and has written numerous opinion-page editorials in The Economic Times.

Kothari received his BE (Hons.) from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani; his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; and his PhD from The University of Iowa.  He has also received an honorary doctorate, Doctor Honoris Causa, from the University of Technology Sydney (May 2013) and a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (2013).

Richard G. Sloan is the Emile R. Niemela Chair in Accounting and International Business at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. For the 2017-2018 academic year, he is Visiting Professor of Accounting at the University of Southern California and is on leave from the University of California - Berkeley. From 2006 to 2009, Sloan was a managing director in equity research at Barclays Global Investors. He has also served on the faculties of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.  While at the University of Michigan, Professor Sloan was the founding director of the John R. and Georgene M. Tozzi Electronic Business and Finance Center.

Professor Sloan’s research focuses on the role of accounting information in investment decisions. His research has received numerous awards, including the American Accounting Association’s Seminal Contributions to the Accounting Literature Award (2016), the American Accounting Association’s Distinguished Contributions to the Accounting Literature Award (2010), and the American Accounting Association’s Notable Contributions to the Accounting Literature Award (2001, 2009).  He is the coauthor (with Russell Lundholm) of Equity Valuation and Analysis, published by McGraw-Hill Irwin and now in its third edition.  He is also an editor of the Review of Accounting Studies and an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics.  Professor Sloan holds a PhD in Accounting from the University of Rochester and a BCom(Hons) from the University of Western Australia.

Steven Pinker asks audacious questions about the human mind—then boldly sets out to answer them. Named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in The World, he’s a brilliant speaker, is enormously popular in the media, and highly respected in scientific circles. And for good reason. Known for his verve, his wit, and his profound ideas—many of them explained by referencing pop culture—Steven Pinker helps non-specialists understanding the science behind human thought and action. One of the world’s leading cognitive scientists, Pinker translates his groundbreaking research into articles (he’s written for The New York Times and Nature) and books that are accessible to the general reader. His books include new title The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (about the power of communication, language, and good writing), The Better Angels of Our Nature, which garnered a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year award and was chosen for Mark Zuckerberg’s book club, and The Blank Slate and How The Mind Works, both bestsellers, and both finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. His acclaimed “language” series includes The Language Instinct, Words and RulesThe Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, and The Sense of Style.

A native of Montreal, Pinker is Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and has also taught at Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has received numerous awards, including the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences.

Daniel Simons is a professor of psychology, advertising, and business administration at the University of Illinois, where he heads the Visual Cognition Laboratory. His research explores the limits of awareness and memory, the reasons why we often are unaware of those limits, and the implications of such limits for our personal and professional lives. He is best known for his research that show people are far less aware of their visual surroundings than they think. 

Simons received his B.A. from Carleton College and his PhD in experimental psychology from Cornell University. He then spent five years on the faculty at Harvard University before being recruited to Illinois in 2002. He has published more than 100 articles for professional journals, and his work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. In addition to his scholarly research, he is the co-author (with Christopher Chabris) of the NY Times bestselling book, The Invisible Gorilla. He has penned articles for the NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune (among others), and he appears regularly on radio and television. His work has been exhibited in more than a dozen science museums worldwide and includes some of the best-known demonstrations in psychology.

Anne L. Christensen is a Professor of Accounting in the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship at Montana State University, where she has served as Director of the Master of Professional Accountancy Program, Director of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a member of the Graduate Council, and on the University Service Learning Advisory Board. She was previously a member of the faculty at Portland State University. She earned her PhD from the University of Utah. Professor Christensen has published extensively in numerous peer-reviewed journals and has also served on the Editorial Board for Issues in Accounting Education, Accounting Horizons, the Journal of the American Taxation Association, and Journal of Accounting Education. Professor Christensen has twenty-eight years’ teaching experience and has received twelve awards for academic excellence including Montana State University’s President’s Excellence in Teaching Award and President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning; the College’s Distinguished Faculty Award and Dean’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Service; and the ATA’s Ray M. Sommerfeld Outstanding Tax Educator Award and Outstanding Service Award.

Christensen served the AAA as Director-Focusing on Segments (2012-15) and on AAA’s Sharpening Our Vision Taskforce I and II (2013-14). She is a member of AAA’s ABOATA, and TLC Sections. She served on the AAA Council (2008-09 and 2001-03), as President (2010-11) and Program Chair (2009-10) of the Western Region, as President (2001-02), Vice President (1999-2000), and Trustee (2010-12 and 2002-04) of ATA, as Chair of ATA’s Publication Committee (2011-12), ATA/Deloitte Teaching Innovation Awards Committee (2008-09), Accreditation & Curriculum Issues Committee (2006-07), Awards Committee (2004-05), and Nominations Committee (2003-04). She has served on the AAA Strategic Region Leader Committee as Co-Chair (2014-15), and as a member of the Council Committee on the Awards Committee (2013-14), Deloitte Wildman Award Committee (2010-11), AAA Journals Task
Force (2004-05), and AAA Nominations Committee (2003-04).

In addition to the great above-listed plenary and lunch speakers, the concurrent sessions during the Annual Meeting will include some exciting at-large panel sessions, which we hope you will be able to attend. The meeting will also feature the fourth annual Global Emerging Scholars Research Workshop, which will be held on Sunday, and the Faculty-Student Collaborations in Accounting (FASTCA-17) which will be held on Wednesday. The purpose of the Global Emerging Scholars Workshop is to provide access to senior leadership to help scholars develop their research. The scholars who attend the workshop will have the opportunity to present their papers and receive constructive feedback from senior mentors and their fellow scholars. Co-chairs Wayne Landsman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Recep Pekdemir, Istanbul University will again be joined by a group of distinguished faculty scholars. This year’s faculty includes Jonathan Glover, Columbia University; Eva Labro, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Terry Shevlin, University of California, Irvine; and Chris Williams, University of Michigan. The Global Emerging Scholars Research Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to network with renowned scholars of international standing and with fellow early-career researchers. In addition, the workshop provides a forum for the discussion of research ideas and issues that could lead to future collaboration among attendees. FASTCA-17 serves to encourage the exploration and discussion of research collaborations between accounting faculty and undergraduate and master’s students. This all-day workshop recognizes the importance of these relationships to creating important learning experiences for students, attracting students to the accounting profession, and the accounting academy—as well as connecting the communities of faculty conducting collaborative research and teaching.

I am also pleased that for this year’s Service Project, the AAA has partnered with ShelterBox USA, an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter and vital aid to people affected by disasters worldwide. Since their inception, ShelterBox has responded to over 270 disasters and humanitarian crises in more than 95 geographic locations and provided emergency aid for well over one million people. You can learn more about ShelterBox on the Service Project’s webpage. Donations to this worthy-cause can be made with your Annual Meeting registration, or in-person at the Service Project desk in San Diego.

The Annual Meeting is a major undertaking and we could not make it all happen without the efforts of all the various committee members, member-volunteers, and AAA Professional Staff in Sarasota. Whether your focus is on cutting-edge academic accounting research, innovative teaching methods, and/or gaining a deeper understanding of the numerous issues facing the accounting and business worlds and society at-large, the 2017 Annual Meeting will provide numerous opportunities to learn, collaborate, catch up with old friends and colleagues, and make new connections.

I hope to see you all in San Diego this August as we “Imagine Our Future” together!