What makes an accountant outstanding? The jury may still be out on the exact list, but the experts agree on several things that prove quality. For a start, they need to have the proper academic background. Just like in other subject areas, this is essential to being successful in the industry. Next, they should show commitment to the entire industry or particular research interests. Passion about their work is vital. Excellent accountants also need to have impressive communication skills whether they work with clients or students. These eight outstanding accountants showcase these skills, going above and beyond their job descriptions.
Outstanding Accountant: John B. Macarthur, Ph.D.
Though born in Wales, John B. Macarthur spent most of his career in the United States. Macarthur has a Ph.D. in Accounting, which he acquired at the University of Wales in 1985. He specializes in cost management and management accounting. Since then, his career as an accountant has reflected outstanding work.
His professional career started in electricity supply in the UK. However, in 1975, Macarthur’s academic career began at the Institute of Technology and Science at the University of Wales. There, he worked as a lecturer for six years before moving to the US.
With a start and decades of service to the Northern Iowa University, Macarthur moved to the University of North Florida. During his tenure, he has served as both a professor and department chair for the Finance and Accounting Department. Today, he is a Professor of Cost Management and Accounting.
Macarthur often holds presentations at annual meetings of the American Accounting Association. His list of publications includes more than 50 articles where he was either the sole or co-author. Additionally, he is the recipient of annual exemplary evaluations at his university for outstanding teaching, research, and service.
Outstanding Accountant: Read about John B. Macarthur.
Accounting Influencer: Veronica Wasek
Veronica Wasek considers herself an accounting influencer. As an expert in QuickBooks bookkeeping software, the industry recognizes her as one of the Top 10 Pro Advisors for this tool. As an aside, the goal of QuickBooks is to help users maximize benefits while minimizing time spent on bookkeeping. Her work with this program helps small businesses everywhere.
Wasek graduated from the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston in 1987. She holds a Bachelor degree in Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in Accounting. Additionally, she is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Texas. Per her expertise in QuickBooks, she is an Intuit Certified Advanced QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor and Intuit National Trainer Writer Network.
After 25 years of experience working in public accounting, Wasek decided to start VM Wasek CPA, LLC in 2010. She focused on providing advisory and accounting services for QuickBooks. Shortly after launching her business, Wasek established the “5 Minute Bookkeeping” blog. She remains the chief blogger. Of note, her blog focuses on explaining uses and processes within QuickBooks and includes in-depth guides.
Wasek's achievements are quite numerous. Her blog alone was voted as both the 2016 and 2017 Best Small Business Blog by Fit Small Business. It is also a Top 40 bookkeeping blog. She is also the recipient of the Insightful Accountant's Top 100 ProAdvisor recognition for 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Outstanding Accountant: Read about Veronica Wasek.
Awarded Accountant: Debra Coleman Jeter, Ph.D.
Debra Coleman Jeter is a CPA with extensive experience and numerous recognitions. She graduated from Murray State University in 1975, obtaining a B.S. in Accounting. Debra continued her education, earning a Ph.D. in the same field of study in 1990 from Vanderbilt University.
Groner, Boyle, and Quillin offered her a position of Team Leader and Staff Accountant in 1976, and Jeter worked there for three years. She quickly decided to focus on her academic career after that short endeavor in the corporate world.
In 1983, Jeter became an Assistant Professor at Austin Peay State University. She then joined her alma mater, Vanderbilt University, as a professor in 1995. Since then, she has remained a part of the university’s team. Of note, she is also a visiting research professor at New Zealand’s Auckland University.
Jeter publishes frequently in journals such as The Accounting Review, Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory, Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, and Journal of Management Accounting Research, to name a few. Her topics of interest vary. Interestingly, she also writes for popular magazines from time to time on practical subjects like insurance and taxes. Jeter has also co-authored two textbooks.
When it comes to achievements, Jeter received fellowships and scholarships from the American Accounting Association, KPMG Peat Marwick, and Deloitte Haskins & Sells. She received the Teaching Excellence James A Webb recognition in 2002.
Outstanding Accountant: Read about Debra Coleman Jeter.
Accounting Educator: Thomas I. Selling, Ph.D.
Tom Selling did not initially take interest in accounting specifically. He obtained a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University in 1973. Four years later, he acquired an M.B.A and Ph.D. in Accounting from The Ohio State University. Nonetheless, he moved into the field quickly.
Selling's career started at Executive Enterprises in 1993. He remains a part of that company today as the instructor, chair, and developer for several courses related to accounting and financial analysis and reporting. In 2002, Selling co-founded Grove Technologies, a company that develops software tools designed for seminars and projects. He later joined the Business Learning Institute of the Maryland CPA Society in 2010.
In addition to his experience, he is a well-published author in accounting. Among his publications are business cases, research articles for both academic and professional journals, and reference materials. He also wrote a textbook about international financial reporting.
Of note, Selling received the Educator of the Year Award from the Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management in 1992. He is also a member of the Standing Advisory Group within the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. He formerly was part of a subcommittee as part of the CPA exam oversight.
Outstanding Accountant: Read about Thomas I. Selling.
Published Accountant: Diana Falsetta, Ph.D.
Diana Falsetta is an accounting associate professor at the University of Miami Business School. Her research interests focus on tax policy, including taxpayer judgment and decision-making. Moreover, she has experience in the corporate world having worked as a Senior Tax Specialist at KPMG, LLP.
Falsetta holds typical academic degrees in addition to her certification as a CPR. She earned her B.S. from Florida State University. Later, she went on to earn an M.P.A. in taxation at The University of Texas at Austin. Finally, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.
Her first teaching position was at Northeastern University. Her current tenure began in 2006. At the moment, she is part of the Doctoral Consortium Committee of the American Accounting Association. Beyond her academic work, she is a research author.
Falsetta’s notable work includes the “Discussion of the Psychology of Billing” and “Transferring Risk Preferences from Taxes to Investments.” These papers were published in 2018 and 2011, respectively. She is also part of several editorial boards. Of note, she served as the associate editor of Behavioral Research in Accounting from 2015 to 2017. Additionally, Falsetta received the Excellence in Teaching award in 2018 and the American Accounting Association’s Best Paper Award.
Outstanding Accountant: Read about Diana Falsetta.
Accounting Educator: Joshua Ronen, Ph.D.
Joshua Ronen teaches accounting at the Stern School of Business of New York University. He has been a part of the university for more than four decades. Ronen currently teaches several courses, including financial accounting, managerial accounting, and financial statements analysis.
His academic background includes a B.A. in Economics and an M.S. in Accounting from Hebrew University in Israel. Later, Ronen moved to the United States and acquired a Ph.D. in Accounting from Stanford University in 1969.
His research areas include financial reporting, capital markets, fair valuation, and corporate governance. During his rich academic career, he was a guest lecturer at Tel-Aviv University, Hebrew University, Canterbury University, and the National University of Mexico. In his work, he often suggests accounting reforms that have been recognized by both the media and legislators.
Ronen is also the recipient of several awards. He holds the 2009 and 2013 Best Abacus Manuscript award from the Accounting Foundation of the University of Sydney. Moreover, he is well-published and serves as an editor for the Journal of Law, Accounting, and Finance. His work can be found in The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting, Abacus, and Journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, among others.
Outstanding Accountant: Read about Joshua Ronen.
Outstanding Accountant: David Aboody, Ph.D.
David Aboody is a Professor of Accounting at UCLA's Anderson School of Management. He has been a part of the Anderson team for more than two decades. Currently, he teaches courses in the school's graduate and doctoral programs. Of note, he also chaired the accounting department of the faculty for several years.
Aboody's academic background is quite vast. He graduated from Hebrew University in 1987 with a B.S. in Accounting. Three years later, he earned his M.A. in Finance at the same institution. Upon coming to the US, he obtained a Ph.D. in Accounting from UC Berkeley in 1995.
As for his research, Aboody focuses on dealing with concerns of standard-setters, market regulators, and investors. He is dedicated to empirical financial accounting with particular emphasis on the relation between firm actions and executive compensations. Additionally, he takes interest in analyzing the ways a hedge fund creates its strategy. He is a firm believer that strategies often lose effectiveness over time, but the recommendations he makes can prolong the success of hedge funds.
Beyond his academic commitments, Aboody is part of the Review of Accounting Studies’ editorial team. He also participated in the creation of dozens of papers on topics like earnings quality, insider trading, and the cost of capital.
Outstanding Accountant: Read about David Aboody.
Published Accountant: Richard Slack, Ph.D.
Richard Slack is a professor in the accounting department at the Business School of the University of Durham in the United Kingdom. He joined the faculty in 2012. Additionally, he is the head of that department. His academic background includes earning degrees in the field from the University of St. Andrews.
Prior to his move into academia, Slack tested the waters of the corporate world. He garnered huge success as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse; however, he ultimately decided to pursue an academic career. Newcastle Business School offered him his first opportunity in teaching.
Aside from his professorship, Slack is also a guest lecturer at the University of Florence. Moreover, Slack is the co-chair of the annual Financial Reporting and Business Communication Conference.
As a reputable professor, he is also a member of the editorial boards of two journals, Accounting and Business Research and the Journal of Applied Accounting Research. Slack is also well-published. His research interests include CSR, fair trade and ethics, as well as corporate reporting voluntary disclosure.
Outstanding Accountant: Read about Richard Slack.
Awarded Accountant: Sir David Tweedie, Ph.D.
A Scottish Chartered Accountant, Sir David Tweedie served as the chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board from its inception in 2001 to 2011. He revitalized international standards for the field, leading the advocacy movement for global transparency, accounting efficiency and accountability.
Tweedie received both his bachelor's and doctorate degrees at Edinburgh University in the 1960s. Since then, he has gone on to contribute greatly to accounting education.
After graduating, he began a professorship at his alma mater. Later in his career, he continued his commitment to students in the field as the chair of the Trustees of the ICAS Foundation. There, he took strides to incorporate youth from marginalized communities into the finance world. He continues to contribute academically as a Fellow at Cambridge University in the Judge Business School. Moreover, he is a visiting professor at his initial employer, Edinburgh University.
His list of recognitions and awards is lengthy and includes an additional nine honorary degrees from various British universities. Perhaps his crowning achievement, however, was his 2013 induction into Ohio State University's Accounting Hall of Fame.
Outstanding Accountant: Read more about Sir David Tweedie.
Outstanding Accountant: Olivia F. Kirtley
As the most recent past President and Chairman of the IFAC, Olivia Kirtley easily makes the list for outstanding accountants. Her role included oversight of a body committed to collaboration between 175 international members from more than 130 countries.
Kirtley completed her undergraduate work at Florida Southern College. She went on to earn a graduate degree from Georgia State University. Also, she is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Global Management Accountant.
Prior to her work at IFAC, Kirtley served as Chairman of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Of note, she was the first woman to chair this organization. Her current tenure is as a non-executive administrator within U.S. Bancorp and Randgold Resources. She is also an independent director at Papa John's International.
In addition to her work within the international accounting community, Kirtley is a frequent speaker at universities. Her topics of interest include issues of governance, risk and audits. Her initial ties to the academic community stem from her faculty tenure with The Conference Board Directors' Institute.
Outstanding Accountant: Read more about Olivia Kirtley.