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Letter From the Chair

Dear Accounting Longhorns:
I’m writing during our last breath of cool, damp weather in late April, knowing that by the time we mail this to you, Texas will be HOT. And yet, if you haven’t been home to the 40 Acres to visit in a while, I hope this photo will inspire you to make a trip this year, maybe even next spring!

We are looking forward to Commencement on May 16, where we will celebrate as 800 students earn their BBA and 240 students earn their Master in Professional Accounting degrees.

A professor mentor of mine always told this story to the parents at graduation. “I grew up on a farm, and on the farm, the harvest is the happiest time of year, when we bring in the crops and enjoy the abundance. For us professors, graduation is our harvest! We are so glad you parents entrusted your children to us to nurture and educate and mentor. We celebrate with you and them the extravagant, abundant harvest that our students’ graduation represents!” The explosion of wildflowers this spring reminds me that the explosion of fireworks for graduation is coming closer.

GASB AlumnsAt the Advisory Council meeting this spring, we featured one of our most successful senior faculty – Professor Michael Granof, who serves as a voting member of the Government Accounting Standards Board and the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board – with three recent graduates who served as Post-graduate Technical Assistants (PTAs) to the GASB in the last five years. These graduates, Lyra Graff (KPMG), Paul Nabhan (Deloitte) and Meredith Hightower (about to join Deloitte) described how their year at the GASB challenged them to grow into deep thinkers who could express reasoned opinions to senior board members. As Lyra and Paul moved into professional practice, they have become an important resource for their firms and clients in challenging areas of revenue recognition, measurement and valuation, derivatives, and government accounting. We are fortunate to place a student as a PTA with either the GASB or FASB most years, continuing to build our reputation as a program with a strong connection between research and practice.

Professor William Kinney appreciates the value of research to shape thought in practice and standards – and has been able to help others digest academic research, too. During his career Bill has been a member of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, an advisor to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a research fellow at the Security and Exchange Commission, and many other appointments and honors. This coming fall semester he will teach a course in Accounting and Auditing Research: Introduction to Design and Evaluation.

“How do you know which research conclusions to believe and which to reject?" This course helps future accounting practitioners, investors, analysts, and regulators assess financial reporting research relevance and quality as well as how to design and implement credible research projects to inform debate about alternatives. Topics include advantages of archival, experimental, and theoretical methods, assessing validity of design, and overcoming research barriers. Hands on assignments will consider accounting and auditing standards and policy testing as well as concept-driven research. Join Bill Kinney in exploring the research side of accounting”!

If you want to know more about the course, email William.Kinney@mccombs.utexas.edu and I am sure he would send you a reading list this fall of research papers that changed accounting thought!

Read inside for even more great news about Texas – teaching awards, cutting edge research, wildly generous donations, student competitions, faculty promotions, and more.

And, as always, stay in touch with advice or just a hello - Lillian.mills@mccombs.utexas.edu

Hook'em!
Lillian