After retiring as chief executive officer of McGladrey & Pullen in 2006, William Travis (M.Ac. 1975) says six years ago he made one of the best moves of his professional life.
He became involved with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and served on the AICPA Foundation Board of Trustees, most recently as foundation president.
“In the past 10 years there has been a significant decline in the number of accounting doctorates,” says Travis. “The average age of current accounting professors is around 55, which indicates that a real crisis is coming in the next decade.”
Travis and the foundation have been diligently focused on the future of the accounting profession and the task of filling the anticipated shortage of accounting professors. During Travis’ tenure, the AICPA Foundation launched the Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program (ADS), the largest initiative in the United States history to address the shortage of accounting faculty.
Today, he says, the demand for professionals with undergraduate and master’s accounting degrees is at an all-time high.
“There are many talented practicing professionals who can make a significant contribution as faculty members preparing the next generation of CPAs, and ADS is helping make that happen.”
The ADS program is supported by 67 of the nation’ largest CPA firms, 48 state CPA societies, and five other organizations that have committed nearly $17 million to fund an additional 120 Ph.D. candidates in auditing and tax.
“Our Advisory Council is working with about 39 of the best accounting programs in the U.S. each year and to date,” he says, “we have placed 53 very high-quality scholars with the participating universities.”
There are four doctoral students supported by the ADS Program at the Tippie College of Business.
Building a robust supply of accounting faculty was recommended in a March 2008 report by the Subcommittee on Human Capital of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession. The subcommittee endorsed increasing the number of accounting faculty members through public and private funding.
An additional initiative important to Travis is the AICPA’s long-standing focus on diversity.
“I’ve learned that diversity is a very good thing, not only for the accounting profession, but for society. By not being as effective as we could be in attracting minorities, we’re missing an important source of future talent for the profession.” The foundation continues to support diversity through financial support to the AICPA Minority Initiatives Committee and a number of scholarship and fellowship programs.
This fall Travis finished his term as president of the foundation board, but he’s just as busy as ever.
Today Travis is president of Idea Drilling in Minnesota, a core drilling company that supports mineral exploration and mining companies in northern Minnesota and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He’s actively involved in the exploration of one of the largest copper mineral deposits in the northern hemisphere.
He continues to be an advocate of the Department of Accounting at the Tippie College of Business and he was recognized in 2007 as our Outstanding Accounting Alumnus.