One of the biggest honors of my 40-year career was receiving the IMA Distinguished Member Award in 2017. The award was principally in recognition of my teaching and research activities to advance ethics and professionalism, as well as other notable achievements such as speaking on ethics to a U.S. congressional committee shortly before the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
My college teaching career began while I was an MBA student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Starting in 1978, I taught two classes of accounting principles each semester while working on that degree. After earning my MBA, I went directly into the accounting doctoral program at Louisiana Tech University, graduating in 1983.
My first job after the doctoral program was at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). There I joined the local chapter (Tupelo, Miss.) of NAA (National Association of Accountants), IMA’s predecessor organization. A highlight of being part of that chapter was meeting with accounting practitioners as well as professor colleagues from Mississippi State University. Tupelo was about halfway between two sports rivals, Ole Miss and State, so there was always plenty of talk about SEC (Southeastern Conference) football along with business and accounting issues.
My academic record includes numerous conference presentations, but I’m so pleased that in the early 2000s, IMA came up with the brilliant idea to start a student conference. I’ll never forget my first IMA Student Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas, in 2004. My daughter, Hannah, attended with me (see photo above). I gave a presentation on how ethics affects a person’s career, personal life, and society. I told the students:
Ask yourself, “What is my highest aspiration—is it wealth, fame, knowledge, popularity, or integrity?” If it’s not integrity, then your integrity is subject to sacrifice when you face an ethical dilemma. So be prepared. Everyone will face ethical dilemmas as they go through life. Make up your mind in advance to choose integrity and not let it be sacrificed for one of the other choices.
IMA is very supportive of faculty research. Throughout my career I’ve authored numerous research studies, including some published by IMA. In 1993, for example, I wrote two articles on teaching ethics that were published in Management Accounting, the forerunner of this magazine.
IMA also offers research grants to fund faculty research. In 2008, I received a grant from the IMA Foundation for Applied Research to study differences between IFRS and U.S. GAAP, the results of which I presented at IMA’s 2011 Annual Conference & Exposition in Orlando, Fla. This led to an article in Management Accounting Quarterly, “IFRS and U.S. GAAP: Some Key Differences Accountants Should Know,” published in 2012.
This year, IMA celebrates its 100th year of being a wonderful resource for management accounting and financial professionals, as well as accounting faculty and students. Hats off to IMA! Thanks for a century of making a difference for good.