Art of Accounting: Meeting Accounting's Top Historians

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IMGCAP(1)]One of my hobbies is my interest in accounting history.

Delving through history is very interesting but usually a solitary pursuit. However, when you meet likeminded people, the discussions can become very animated. It can also cause you to meet extraordinarily interesting, bright and nice people, and I have.

I wrote the lead article in the Journal of Accountancy’s 125th Anniversary issue, and two of the editors were Dale Flesher and Gary Previts. We “met” over the phone discussing the article. A few months afterwards the AICPA had their 125th Anniversary Council meeting and Dale and Gary called and suggested I come to Washington, D.C., to meet them and perhaps visit the Capitol and have our photos taken in front of the painting by John Vanderlyn showing the Landing of Columbus, including Roderigo Sanchez, the accountant hired by Queen Isabella to accompany Columbus.

It was a great idea and I went there and met them. Unfortunately Gary and I were not able to get to the Capitol with Dale and the Mississippi Delegation (who did get their photo taken there). However, I spent an enjoyable day and a half with Dale and his wife Tonya (a CPA and college professor, as are Dale and Gary), not only talking history but sharing many other professional interests. Now our discussions are through regular emails.

Dale and Gary, combined, have written over 50 books and 300 articles and, between them, have been awarded the highest honors bestowed by our profession. Dale is a professor at Ole Miss and Gary at Case Western University. Gary’s book, A History of Accountancy in the United States, is the definitive book on the topic. Dale was the leading force to have the AICPA Library transferred to Old Miss.

[IMGCAP(2)]Hobbies enrich lives and in my case led me to greatly expand my interest and knowledge and to establish great friendships.

Here’s a link to my blog post about the AICPA 125th Anniversary meeting:

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner emeritus at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz (published by CPATrendlines) and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition” (published by the AICPA). Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 964-9329 or

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