Accounting Annual Report 2022: Letter from the Chair

May 16, 2023
Accounting Chair Brad Lail

Late in 2021, as we were emerging from the pandemic, the department built a strategic focus enabling students to “Exploring the Possibilities” in their professional journey. Many are familiar with the decline in Accounting majors across the country, as our discipline starves in many ways. Accounting academic units must continue to evolve in attractive ways to draw in high-quality students as our profession expands the needed skill sets. Our strategic efforts to help students see the accounting profession in a broader light has been tremendously successful, as our incoming accounting majors this fall is one of our biggest classes in the past decade. Much work is to be done, but as you read through our efforts in the department’s 2022 Year in Review, I hope you gain an appreciation for what we do in the classroom and beyond!

The “beyond” has led to many great efforts to attract students to accounting. This starts with the professional guardrails we provide, including the Accounting Extravaganza every fall that targets business majors still considering a major. Then for the accounting majors, we provide several panels/nights for students to explore opportunities by listening to professionals like you share their experiences. Incorporation of guest speakers is routine throughout our courses, and our faculty remain committed to the latest changes in our profession to ensure our students are well prepared early in their career.

We have also focused our efforts on providing students a passion for serving. The culture of the department is stronger than ever due to a series of events to promote our faith, our diversity and our profession. These events are for faculty and students, and you can read about many of these in an article by Lauren Farish and Jason MacGregor. The highlights were the 58:10 Project—where we partnered with a vendor and many community friends to pack more than 100,000 meals for Waco families in need—and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program by the IRS, where our students prepared hundreds of tax returns for free and brought in more than $1 million in returns for Waco-area taxpayers.

The great flexibility and work ethic of the faculty in the Department of Accounting and Business Law makes all these opportunities come to fruition. With that in mind, over the past three years, we have had five of our long-time faculty members retire, and in 2022, we celebrate one more as Chuck Stanley will be departing at the end of the fall semester. As a former student of Chuck’s back in the 1990s, I learned the ways of flowcharts and internal controls; I think I can speak for many of his former students in saying how much he will be missed. As we transition, we were able to hire three new faculty that started this fall. Be sure to review the professional backgrounds and perspectives on coming to Baylor from Kevin Hee, Michael Rodriguez and Owen Davidson. We are happy to have them as part of the team.

I hope you find our 2022 year in review to be informative; we are putting our best efforts towards impacting the discipline, developing well-prepared students, and creating an environment where students can explore the possibilities that an accounting degree provides them.

I close this year’s letter on a personal note, as this will be my last as chair. My next step will be in a broader role in the Business School where I plan to utilize all the skills sharpened by my colleagues, our students and our friends of the department. Expect a communication on the next chair to come in the future, but please know that I greatly appreciate the many new friends I have made over the past six years. Our department is successful because of the role you have played in our department.