The Future of Accounting Accreditation

AACSB's new and former executive vice president and chief accreditation officers Stephanie Bryant and Bob Reid discuss changes in accounting accreditation based on recommendations from an Accounting Accreditation Task Force that will contribute to a more efficient process.


Bob Reid: [00:16] You've been obviously active in the accounting field for a long time. More recently, you've been involved in the Accounting Accreditation Task Force.

[00:24] Tell me a little bit about that process. Tell me about what you think is going to evolve from that process in the accounting accreditation space.

Stephanie Bryant: [00:31] That's been a really interesting journey. I'm excited to have been a part of that and continue to be a part of that.

[00:40] We have 19 members of the task force that have come together to take a holistic look at accounting accreditation. What do the standards say? What do the processes look like? What are the structures like? Where do we want it to go?

[00:53] What's different about this effort is we've invited people from a profession to be a part of the conversation, so it's not just academics in a room trying to decide what it should look like.

[01:06] Our constituents are the people who hire our graduates. They have a big say in what this looks like. We have members of the ASCPA, the IMA, and NASBA at the table as well, so it's been a very collaborative conversation.

[01:19] Similar to the business side, you're going to see much more engagement with the profession. The faculty qualifications will look very different in that faculty will need to demonstrate that they are current and relevant in the field in which they are teaching.

[01:35] Accounting accreditation is intended to be an add on to the business accreditation. You'll see focus more on the consultative point of view again. When a team comes in, it's not going to be so much are you checking every box, it's going to be is this school meeting its mission.

[01:52] What is its mission? Are they meeting their mission? Are they having good outcomes? Are their students being successful? Those are the things that I think accounting accreditation should be doing. We're moving in that direction, and it's going to be a great change.

Reid: [02:06] Change at times for some makes individuals uncomfortable. It's changing what they know and what they understand to something they don't know and understand quite as well.

[02:18] How do you see yourself in this role interacting with those people, reassuring those people, and helping them adapt to changes in either accounting standards, or business standards, or expectations from a peer review team, from a review process?

Bryant: [02:37] From a change perspective, the most important thing is people have to be a part of the change process. They have to have input into the changes that are being thought about and being implemented.

[02:50] If you take accounting, as an example, we'll have a couple of rounds of exposure drafts. We have exposure drafts when we do changes in business accreditation as well.

[02:58] That's an opportunity for people to weigh in. That's an opportunity to shape and refine what those look like and to ultimately make them a set of standards that people embrace and people are excited about.

[03:10] Beyond that, making sure the information is communicated in every format that you possibly can, making sure that our volunteer training is on spot and conveys what it is we would like to convey if we move to a consultative model.

[03:26] We need to convey that. What does that mean exactly? Helping to get the information out as far as what it is we want to do with that, that's important. Then, last but not least, my role is that of a facilitator.

[03:43] As you're in conversations with people in hallways and various places being available to people, being able to help people understand what a particular change is about, why this change came about, what it is we hope to accomplish. Those are things that help move change forward in a productive way.

Filmed September 2017 on site at AACSB's Annual Accreditation Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.