My name is Ellen Lippman and I hold the John Becic Distinguished Professorship in Accounting position at the Pamplin School of Business. I took my first accounting class, and really my first business class, in a master’s program. Previously I was in a very, very different field. However, I realized I wanted a career that is mobile (unlike law where lawyers must take the bar in multiple states), one that could be transferable not only to multiple states in the US but to multiple locations across the world. I wanted a career that was somewhat technical in nature such that not anyone could hold themselves out as an expert. I wanted a career that did not have physical limitations; as I aged I could continue in the field (unlike, say, athletics). Accounting has all of these elements that can make for a rewarding career. Even for those not interested in accounting, a strong understanding of accounting provides a springboard to many other fields, and I really love to share this with my students.
Accounting isn’t about numbers. It is about understanding information and using that data to lead organizations. A successful accountant understands the goal of the organization and has the added advantage of understanding and using information to make reasoned decisions.
I earned my B.A. from Colorado College, my M.S. in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin (Madison), and my Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Oregon. I am a Certified Public Accountant and specialize in teaching financial accounting and auditing. My recent research interests include analyzing the ethical responsibilities of accountants. My publications in this area include the Journal of Business Ethics, the Accounting History Journal, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Professor-Practitioner Cases, and the Accounting Historians Journal. My published work won the Innovation in Accounting History Education award. I enjoy mentoring students and have coached student teams that have won accounting competitions at the regional and national levels. I belong to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Oregon Society of CPAs. These two organizations are wonderful places to network and meet people in the field.
At 20 I had a very different career in mind. But I knew then that the direction we take can change over time. I encourage students to be flexible, really in all ways (physically, emotionally, intellectually). In this way, we can adapt to the surprises and opportunities we may find.