There you have it—a snapshot of the first century of the Journal of Accountancy’s coverage of the accounting profession in America. The past 12 months of creating this centennial issue have given an exhilarating look at the profession from its infancy to today. If the next 100 years are as event-filled as the last 100, future editors of the JofA are in for an exciting journalistic ride—and I hope they will enjoy it as much as I have. When I took the job of editor-in-chief almost 18 years ago, friends and colleagues questioned my decision. “How could you work on an accounting journal,” they asked, “after all those glamorous consumer magazines?” Except that it seemed a challenge to do something quite different, I didn’t know the real answer until a year or so afterwards—I would never be bored.
That was reinforced in the planning of this issue. Business big and small is fascinating, and though we know we live in tumultuous and unpredictable times, the fact is that it has always been that way—every decade has a story. The accounting profession from its very start has ridden the wave of the American economy. As the U.S. business engine grew into a powerhouse, it depended more and more on accountants’ participation. A profession born in the late 1800s to support America’s industrialization now is a major global force integral to the successful functioning of the world economy.
We started planning the issue more than a year ago when the JofA staff mapped out the content with Anita Dennis, a former managing editor of the JofA who had agreed to shepherd the issue from idea to print. Then we turned to scholar, historian and master storyteller Gary Previts, a professor of accounting at Case Western Reserve University, whose vast knowledge of the profession guided us in making many choices for articles. Their professionalism made this centennial issue a magazine we are proud to publish. If you enjoyed reading it, you—and we—have in great part the two of them to thank.
This is a good time to recognize others whose dedication makes the JofA possible this and every month. The AICPA staff gives unstintingly of its time and talent to the JofA . Whether it’s an opinion on content or the explanation of a complex standard, the Institute’s people are at the ready. And so is the JofA’s editorial advisory board, some 54 CPAs who review the articles—often more than 40 in a single month—that are submitted for consideration. You’ve got to admire them—with a full workload of their own they never say “no” to taking on the added responsibility of working for us. Thanks also to Geoff Pickard for his limitless advice and counsel and to the JofA staff—you couldn’t ask for a better, smarter, more generous group to work with.
Before you close the cover, take another look at the authors who have left their mark on this issue. The roster is an excellent representation of the people who make up this proud profession. There are many—accountants from every segment of the profession, managing partners of the biggest and the smallest firms, CEOs, professors, AICPA board chairs—who wrote or volunteered in some way to put this issue together. But that’s indicative of my experience working with CPAs over the years: You can depend on them, when asked, to step up to the plate.
With all these people responding to our every call for help, counsel and guidance, I must say that being the editor-in-chief of the JofA is not a job—it’s a pleasure. My thanks to all.
— Colleen Katz