Professor pens accounting association history
When Dale L. Flesher addressed the centennial meeting of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy last October in Maui, he warned the 600-member audience that his topic, the centennial history of the NASBA, might seem redundant since they had each already been given his new book, 100 Years of NASBA: Serving the Public Interest.
Flesher, associate dean and holder of the Arthur Andersen Alumni Lectureship, spent more than two years researching the history of NASBA, the organization that oversees the administration of the CPA examination, ensuring the book would be ready in time for the organization’s centennial meeting.
Flesher has written 43 books, including texts on the history of other accounting-related organizations such as the American Accounting Association, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AACSB-International and the Accounting Programs Leadership Group. He has also authored more than 400 journal articles in more than 100 different journals. He is a noted biographer of accounting personalities, having won the inaugural 2005 Thomas J. Burns Biographical Research Award, and he is a past president of the Academy of Accounting Historians.
“The biographical experience helped with respect to the early history of the organization. Until 1972, NASBA was purely a volunteer-run organization with no employees,” Flesher said. “Thus, it was the personalities of the early leaders that led the group to meet its goals.” According to Flesher, many of the 20th-century’s accounting “greats” once served as officers of NASBA.
“One of the things I learned during my research was what an important role my former colleague Charles W. Taylor played in the organization’s history,” Flesher said.
Taylor, a retired UM accounting professor and longtime member of the Mississippi State Board of Accountancy, was an active member and officer of NASBA.
“Taylor is cited on at least five different pages in the book,” said Flesher. “He was instrumental in getting the CPA exam to become a nondisclosed exam, which ultimately led to the exam’s becoming computer-based. Taylor also came up with the idea for a CPE registry to certify that providers of continuing professional education are qualified to do so.”
According to Flesher, it was Taylor who recommended he serve as the author on the centennial book, and he served on an editorial review committee that reviewed the manuscript prior to publication.
Flesher also conducted interviews with many of the living past presidents of NASBA, many of whom provided stories that ended up in the book.
According to Flesher, one particularly helpful individual was Nathan Garrett, a former member of the North Carolina State Board of Accountancy. Following the Maui meeting, Garrett told Flesher, “The NASBA 100-year history was truly an outstanding work, and I cannot thank you enough for writing it. It is a keepsake that I will proudly leave to family and friends.”
Flesher is in his 31st year at Ole Miss. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ball State University and a doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. He and his wife and faculty colleague, Tonya Flesher, will co-chair the 2008 American Accounting Association annual meeting to be held in August in Anaheim, Calif. Flesher is president-elect of the association’s Teaching and Curriculum Section.