125 people of impact in accounting: leaders who left a mark on the profession.

Author:Tysiac, Ken


It should come as no surprise that a profession known for integrity and character has had more than its share of special people.

The goals of tile profession--among them establishing a climate of fairness for investors, helping businesses avoid risk and prosper, and aiding people in responsible financial planning--naturally attract principled men and women.

In celebration of tile Al CPA's 125th anniversary the JofA set out to identify 125 people who have made a significant impact on the profession since 1887, the year the organization that would become known as the AICPA was founded. The 125 accountants, educators, regulators, and auditors were chosen by the JofA staff with the help of an expert panel. Reasonable minds could argue for different candidates. There were many names that were extremely difficult to eliminate. Without a doubt. though, the 125 on this list, arranged alphabetically, have made a profound impact:


Arthur Andersen. He left his job as controller of the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. in 1913 to help establish the eponymous firm that was one of the Big Five in accounting until its demise in 2002, following the Enron collapse. He also served as head of the accounting department at Northwestern University

George Anderson. He served as chairman of the AICPA's Special Committee on Standards of Professional Conduct in the 1980s, AICPA chairman in 1980-81, and principal in the firm Anderson ZurMuehlen. The special committee's report led to the AICPA membership's endorsement of the Plan to Restructure Professional Standards.

Thomas Coleman Andrews. After serving as AICPA president in 1950-51, he became the first CPA to hold the position of commissioner of Internal Revenue beginning in 1953. He ran for president of the United States in 1956 as an independent candidate. He received 107,929 votes, less than twotenths of 1% of the popular vote, as Dwight Eisenhower defeated Adlai Stevenson in the election.

Robert Anthony. The Harvard Business School educator was U.S. assistant secretary of Defense, Controller from 1965 to 1968. He wrote at least 27 books, including Management Accounting: Text and Cases (1956), the first text and casebook on the subject. He was president of the American Accounting Association (AAA) in 1973-74.

Marshall Armstrong. In 1972, he became the first chairman of FASB, beginning his job from a desk at the AICPA offices. FASB had more than 100 staff members when he left as chairman five years later. While AICPA president in 1970-71, he appointed the Wheat Committee, which recommended forming FASB, and the Trueblood Committee, which called for a reporting framework that would be more useful to investors.


George Bailey. In 1947, the longtime Ernst & Ernst partner started George Bailey & Co., which later became part of Touche Ross. The 1947-48 AICPA president is known for developing closer relations between the accounting and legal professions and improving accounting education at the university level.

Andrew Ban The SEC's chief accountant from 1956 to 1972 received the highest honor the federal government can give a career employee, the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, in 1960. A speech he gave in 1959 helped trigger a revision in the AICPA's rules of conduct, barring members from having financial interests in or being employed by audit clients.

Elmer Beamer. The Haskins & Sells executive chaired the AICPA Committee on Education and Experience Requirements for CPAs. The committee's 1969 report concluded that a five-year collegiate program was necessary to acquire the knowledge needed to begin a career in public accounting.

William Beaver. The Stanford University graduate school professor wrote a widely read book, Financial Reporting: An Accounting Revolution. He also was a trustee of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) from 1993 to 1996 and president of the AAA in 1987-88.

Norton Bedford. The University of Illinois professor devoted his career to developing the conceptual base for accounting thought. He chaired the AAA's Committee on the Future Structure, Content, and Scope of Accounting Education, known as the Bedford Committee, whose 1986 report recommended changes to more adequately prepare students for accounting careers.

Dennis Beresford. Chairman of FASB for 10 years beginning in 1987, he worked to maintain the independence and integrity of the board under pressure from outside interests. He led the board's early efforts at internationalization, and later joined the University of Georgia's faculty He also was national director of accounting standards at Ernst & Young.

Herman Bevis. The Price Waterhouse CEO from 1961 to 1969 was known for his devotion to the firm's integrity and quality After retirement, he spent five years as executive director of the Banking and Securities Industries Committee, seeking to solve paperwork problems in the industry. He advocated doing away with stock certificates held by individual shareholders.

Carman Blough. As SEC chief accountant, he produced a famous Accounting Series Release (ASR no. 4) in 1938 that said financial statements prepared in accordance with principles without authoritative support would be presumed misleading or inaccurate. The release helped the profession standardize accounting practices, which had been widely diverse at the time.

Charles Bowsher. He served a 15-year term as comptroller general of the United States beginning in 1981 and increased the visibility of the General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office). He also was a FAF trustee and served four years as assistant secretary of the Navy for Financial Management.

Ernest Breech. He was chairman of the board of Ford Motor Co. and Trans World Airlines. His leadership helped restore Ford to prosperity following World War II, and rebuilt an ailing TWA into a profitable corporation in the 1960s.

Abraham Briloff. The City University of New York professor joined the faculty in 1944 and became known for his biting criticism of the profession. His writings pointed out the misuse of accounting principles by some corporations.

Samuel Broad. The Peat Marwick Mitchell partner and AICPA president (1944-45) is credited with recommending that the SEC draw a distinction between auditing procedures and auditing standards. He was the first expert witness for the SEC in its investigation of the McKesson & Robbins fraud in 1939, and he drafted a key auditing reform advising auditors to confirm receivables and observe the taking of inventory


Frank Broaker. He helped draft the Wray Bill, which in 1896 made New York the first state to license CPAs. He also helped prepare the first CPA examination, received the first CPA certificate, and served on the first state board of examiners and as president of the AICPA precursor organization, the American Association of Public Accountants. In 1897, he published The American Accountants' Manual, a CPA review book that was the first accounting text published in the United States.

Donaldson Brown. The financial officer, first with DuPont and later with General Motors, is credited with modernizing cost accounting for business. His flexible budgeting systems and pricing systems geared to specific return on investment helped save GM in the 1920s and became models for the business world.

Percival Brundage. After a stellar career with Price Waterhouse, he became the first CPA to become director of the Bureau of the Budget, a position he held for two years, until his retirement in 1958. He served as AICPA president in 1948-49 and was director of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Robert Bunting. His leadership qualities were illustrated by his service as chairman of the AICPA board of directors in 2004-05 and as president of the International Federation of Accountants from 2008 to 2010. He was president and chairman of Moss Adams LLP from 1982 to 2004.

John "Sandy" Burton. He succeeded Andrew Barr as chief accountant of the SEC in 1972, serving four years. He forged the SEC's relationship with FASB, initiated the first requirements for companies to disclose the impact of current costs in their financial reports, and nudged the accounting profession toward a self-regulatory structure that included peer review. He also was dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Business.

John Carey. He worked in a variety of leadership roles for the AICPA as its longtime administrative chief, serving as secretary, executive director, and administrative vice president. He also was JofA editor from 1949 to 1954 and publisher from 1955 to 1966, and authored two highly respected books on ethics in the profession.

Arthur Carter. A Haskins & Sells managing partner...

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