At the American Accounting Associations conference this week in New York, accounting education seemed to be booming.
The AAAs annual meeting attracted its largest attendance ever, according to president Sue Haka, with 3,183 people having registered as of early Tuesday morning. The conference is mostly geared toward educators, but this year it also attracted influential leaders such as Financial Accounting Standards Board chairman Bob Herz, International Accounting Standards Board chairman Sir David Tweedie, House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank, and FASB board member Tom Linsmeier.
The halls and exhibit floor of the New York Hilton were crowded with attendees, in contrast to some other recent accounting conferences I have gone to in the same space. Haka presented the outstanding accounting educator award to Linda Smith Bamber of the University of Georgia, who gave an emotional acceptance speech. Bamber also noted that her university has the second-highest pass rate on the CPA Exam, right behind her alma mater Wake Forest University.
The profession recognizes the importance of accounting education, especially as accounting has taken on greater visibility in the wake of the financial crisis and the lingering recession. Even as the U.S. economy shows some signs of recovery, the global effects are still being felt. Accounting educators, academics, students and practitioners will need to find ways to adapt to this changing environment and find a way with the rest of the world out of the downturn. The renewed interest in accounting education is one hopeful signal.