While it has been hinted at extensively over the past two years in various speeches by various AAA leader types, at the 2014 AAA Annual Meeting the vision for the future of the AAA in concrete terms was finally spelt out. And it is intriguing.
As I understand it the AAA would be organized around four themes, centers or “product lines.” They are:
The production of knowledge – research;
The transmission of knowledge and skills – teaching;
The interface with the accounting profession broadly conceived – professional focus;
The interface with public policy and thought leadership based on accounting expertise – what they are calling the “public interest”.
While no doubt the devil is in the details, it seems like a reasonable approach on the surface. Sort of a revised four pillars approach. It will be interesting to see how it evolves over the next two years leading up to the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the forerunner of the AAA – the American Association of University Teachers of Accounting (I probably have that wrong but it is close).
The somewhat split personality of the AAA was on display at this year’s annual meeting whose theme was “Global Engagement!”
The Association is “globally engaged” so they say including featuring the world as part of their logo. further, they refer to themselves as the “global leader in accounting thought and education.” Who elected them as the “global leaders?”
But it really is an AMERICAN association at heart – not that there is anything wrong with that. Indeed a bit more recognition that it is an AMERICAN association would be welcome.
The new President’s address to the conference (she is a Canadian by birth) illustrated the issues. She states the forerunner of the AAA was founded in the mist of the first World War – in 1916. Yet any good American high school textbook will tell you from a US point of view world war I lasted from 1917-1918 because that is when it became a world war – when the USA joined.
In the very same speech where she showed her Canadian roots a major focus was on US only higher education statistics. US President Obama’s attempt to have all US U’s report a balanced scorecard for their performance and the S&P’s (or was it Dunn and Bradstreet’s?) assessment of the prospects of US based universities both got a fair amount of play. And that is as it should be at the AMERICAN accounting association.
So lets encourage the AAA to keep the “global leadership” rhetoric down and tell them to enjoy being the AMERICAN accounting association. It would make us all (the ROW and US academics) much happier if the American Accounting Association stuck to being just that – the AMERICAN association.
The sometimes improvised nature of our discipline came to the foreground yet again this year at the AAA Annual Meeting with for a third straight year yet another publication rates received a best paper published award. This time the readers of Issues in Accounting Education gave the award. So of all the articles published in Issues in 2013 the only one that merits attention is about publication rates. Anal or naval gazing I guess.