The FSA was formed in 1978 to provide the impetus for the development of professional schools of accountancy much like medicine and law. FSA had a unique audience of accredited graduate accounting programs.

Federation of Schools of Accountancy

FSA Strategic Directions and the Timeline of APLG Discussions

Prepared by Gary Peters - 2021-2022 FSA President

On July 31, 2022, the Federation of Schools of Accountancy will dissolve to make way for the newly-named “Leadership in Accounting Education” section of the American Accounting Association. This newly named section is a result of long running joint efforts by the FSA and the AAA’s Accounting Programs Leadership Group to promote their common commitment to high quality accounting education. The timeline below provides an overview of the strategic directions and conversations that lead to this outcome. We remain proud of the historical achievements of the FSA and excited about this next chapter in the lives of our member institutions.

(Compiled based upon Historical Newsletters and Official Board Meeting Minutes)

1977 – The Federation of Schools of Accountancy (FSA) is established on December 6 in New York. Representatives from 21 charter members ratify the articles of incorporation and by-laws. FSA objectives include assisting the development of professional accounting programs, supporting the development of the schools of accountancy concept, supporting a broad spectrum of research activities at members schools and providing a forum for the improvement of accounting education.

1981 – AACSB accreditation of accounting programs begins in conjunction with input from AICPA, AAA, NAA, and FEI. Accreditation initiatives also receive input from the Federated Schools of Accountancy, the Government Accounting Office, and representatives from national public accounting firms. In 1982, a total of 18 accounting programs were separately accredited.

1990 – The Federation of Schools of Accountancy (FSA) holds a Past-President’s forum to consider revisions to the organization’s mission and name. As a result of the meeting, by-law proposals significantly changed the direction of the FSA, including opening membership to AACSB-accredited masters programs and adding a subscript to the FSA name - “The Organization of Accredited Graduate Programs in Accounting.”

1993 – The organization approves an updated set of by-Laws and new strategic plan. At the time of the revised strategic plan update, the organization had 62 Full Members and 35 Affiliate School member and 30 supporting associate members. A plan is approved to move the administrative arrangements from Depaul University to the AACSB.

2000 – The FSA Board submits an updated FSA Strategic Plan that continues to increase a focus on accredited graduate programs.

2003 – The FSA Board and Accounting Programs Leadership Group (APLG) Board hold a joint meeting during the 2003 AAA annual meeting to discuss the substantial overlap of volunteers and activities of the two organizations. The Boards conclude that the commonality of interest and the substantial overlap in membership participation provides the opportunity to conserve substantial volunteer time and money with a joint annual meeting. A joint accreditation committee is established, as well as a Joint FSA/APLG midyear meeting.

2005 – The FSA and APLG hold their first joint Annual Midyear meeting.

2010 – The APLG Board discusses the potential for further collaboration between the FSA and the APLG given their common objectives and areas of interest. The board encourages the president, president-elect, and Jim Benjamin (prior FSA President) to meet with the leadership of the FSA on this topic and the significant overlap between the APLG and the FSA. In earlier years, there was some discussion of merging the two organizations. The joint meeting was the outcome of these earlier discussions. The FSA Board holds a two-day strategy retreat after the AAA annual meeting and reaffirms their interest in maintaining a separate organization at that time. It was also suggested that the organizations should poll their respective memberships to obtain their input. The FSA completes a survey of their membership in August. The results of the survey show a high level of indifference on most issues.

2011 – The FSA updates their Mission Statement and Strategic Plan with a continued emphasis on promoting and supporting high-quality accredited graduate accounting programs.

August 2012 – The FSA Board and APLG Board conduct preliminary discussions and appoint an ad-hoc joint committee to identify efficiencies, redundancies, and opportunities for a strategic combination of the two groups.

September 2012 – The Joint report is delivered to the FSA and APLG organizations.

February 2013 – The FSA Board discusses the ad-hoc committee’s concept which includes combining with the APLG to establish a new section of AAA. The Board identify the need for additional discussion to work out details of combining the organizations. The Board’s discussions include concerns about members having a voice on accreditation concerns. The need to better execute strategic plan was identified by the FSA if they were to remain independent.

May 2013 – The FSA proposes a 2 Year Self-Study period to Tracey Sutherland at the AAA to evaluate the concept of combining with the APLG. The Board also suggests a School Level Membership model to incorporate accredited accounting programs into the AAA.

August 2015 – The FSA Board explores the reinvigoration of the organization’s original objectives surrounding the advocacy of “Professional Schools of Accountancy.”

May 2016 – The FSA Board discusses the declines in the contribution of the Board’s committees as well as the limited bandwidth of historical/traditional Department Chair involvement on the FSA Board.

February 2018 – The APLG Board questions the value-added nature of collaborating with FSA on the co-sponsored midyear conference.

May 2018 – The APLG/FSA Joint Committee is established by Parveen Gupta (FSA President) and Sharon Lassar (APLG President) to re-evaluate partnership between the FSA and APLG. The committee includes Jim Benjamin (prior FSA President), Betty Kozlowski, Elizabeth Oliver, Craig White (Incoming FSA President), Janet Butchko (Board Member – Deloitte Foundation), Fred Mittlestadt (prior FSA President), and Kathleen Shoztic (Deloitte Foundation).

August 2018 – The Joint Committee provides a detailed report to both the APLG and FSA Boards with a proposal for a joint combination of the APLG and FSA. The report affirms the findings of the earlier 2012 Joint Report and addresses the benefits and concerns of a combination between the APLG and FSA. The report addresses unidentified procedural challenges, the potential loss of FSA voice on professional trends, and the details of new organizational structure and activities. The report describes potential approaches to overcome impediments. The FSA Board agrees to further consider a joint combination. The FSA Board establishes a Blueprint Committee to identify potential details of combining the two organizations. The committee includes Elizabeth Oliver - APLG President, Craig White - FSA President, Jon Davis – FSA, Parveen Gupta – FSA Past President, Sharon Lassar – APLG Past President, Sandy Richtermeyer – APLG, Rebecca Shortridge – FSA Past President, and Jeff Wilks – Incoming APLG President.

February 2019 – An Open Forum of members is held at the Joint APLG/FSA midyear meeting regarding the potential combination of the two organizations. The blueprint document was reviewed by the FSA Board. Ongoing thoughtful questions and pros/cons are discussed by the FSA Board. The APLG Board votes unanimously to approve moving forward with an exploration of combining the APLG and FSA.

March 2019 – Following the joint February meeting, the FSA Board holds a meeting to discuss organizational history / contributions / organizational constraints and the value of FSA brand. The Board discuss the potential loss of advocacy for graduate programs and efficiency gains the could be experienced via combining with the APLG and dissolving the FSA.

May 2019 – The FSA Board votes 7-4-1 in favor of continuing discussions with APLG to establish a new organization. Lingering concerns include 1) continuing administrative contract with AICPA, 2) allowance of institutional membership, 3) administration of annual dues. The FSA Board decides to include an article in newsletter to share with the membership the Board’s current position on a potential combination with the APLG.

August 2019 – Craig White (outgoing FSA President) shares the next steps for an APLG combination at the joint APLG/FSA breakfast. Craig White reports on the discussions with the AAA, APLG and AICPA regarding the FSA board’s earlier concerns. Three caveats are presented: 1) The new entity maintains a contract with the AICPA. 2) The new entity allows for organizational membership. 3) The new entity's annual dues amount are approved by the FSA board. Tracey Sutherland, Executive Director of AAA, recommends that the APLG/FSA submit an application to the AAA board to establish a new organization, including a task force and timeline of 18 months or sooner for review. At the point of AAA Board approval, the FSA would need to confirm that the caveats have been met. Megan Tarasi (prior AICPA administrative assistant to the FSA) would reach out to the AICPA legal team to review the Articles and Bylaws and determine steps for sunsetting the organization, if applicable at that time. 

November 2019 - The AAA Board of Directors discusses the proposal for the combination of the APLG and FSA into a single entity (see Steve Matzke Email - November 18, 2019). The AAA Board agrees to support a further exploration of the combination of the two groups. A working group of FSA/APLG members should propose how the combination should take place considering the dual mission and organization of the groups. Terry Shevlin would be the AAA Board liaison with the working group.

December 2019 – Antoinette Smith (FSA President) calls a special FSA board meeting to discuss the Board’s understanding of vote taken at the May 2019 board meeting and whether it constituted the FSA Board’s approval of combining with the APLG based upon satisfaction of caveats or whether the vote simply constituted moving forward with an additional opportunity to vote on a potential combination. A Motion was made that the FSA Board will seek input from the AAA on the caveats, reconvene to discuss input and, if satisfied, affirm moving forward with drafting a clear proposal to the FSA membership. The Board would then seek input from membership on the next steps in the process. All approved motion. 

February 2020 – The FSA Board holds a lengthy meeting that leads to suspending the motion of combining with the APLG. During the meeting, it was noted that limited conversations were completed with the AICPA and AAA about the prior caveats after the December 2019 Special Meeting. Strong reservations were expressed by the sitting President about continuing discussions of the FSA/APLG proposal under the current Presidency. A motion to continue talks with AAA and AICPA was made and seconded. However, a vote on the motion was tabled.

May 2020 – The FSA/Deloitte Faculty Consortium is cancelled due to the COVID 19 Pandemic. A virtual FSA board meeting is conducted. No Discussion of APLG/FSA Combination takes place.

August 2020 – The annual FSA board meeting is conducted virtually since the AAA held its annual meeting online. No discussion of the FSA/APLG combination proposal takes place.

February 2021 – The midyear board meeting is conducted virtually. The Board discusses the dated nature of FSA strategic plan and how new AICPA relationships and the “CPA Evolution” might impact the mission of the FSA.

May 2021 – The board meeting is held virtually. The meeting includes a recommendation that a Resource Committee is formed to explore the potential creation of a new strategic plan for the FSA. The Board also acknowledged the need to consider whether the FSA had fulfilled the limits of its mission under its current organizational form and given the changes in the profession, academia, and membership.

August 2021 – The annual FSA Board Meeting is conducted virtually due to ongoing pandemic. Incoming President Gary Peters identifies the significant number of administrative activities that have been delayed due to the pandemic year and turnover in the AICPA administrative staff (including dues reminders, VP identification, award nominations, board nominations, board member approvals). Gary proposes a special October in-person meeting to take place in conjunction with AAA Diversity Meeting. In addition to unfinished business, the meeting will specifically address the APLG/FSA proposal and the motion tabled during the February 2020 meeting. Gary expresses a desire is to seek definitive closure on the original proposal (see August 2018, May 2019, and December 2019). If needed an additional membership townhall/forum meeting was also suggested later in the semester.

October 2021 – Gary Peters (President) calls a special board meeting prior to the AAA Diversity and Inclusion Section Midyear meeting in Bethesda MD (including virtual attendance). The Board reviews the assignments of committee members and Chairs for the year, including specific tasks given to the committees. Tasks include reconciling the growing list of accredited programs who are not FSA members (approximately 30% of accredited accounting programs are not members of the FSA). Ongoing challenges with AICPA services are discussed, including website challenges and an increase in past due membership accounts. Gary presents the President’s Budget and Stewardship report, highlights need for website redesign and new hosting services, as well as a need to review the services provided by AICPA. The Board reviews the 2018 and 2019 joint APLG/FSA task force documents. Given the administrative relationship changes with the AICPA and the AAA’s work on membership types, the Board notes that the three prior caveats should be viewed as less of a concern. The Board discusses the need for the membership to review the previous proposal reports and provide input into future FSA strategic directions. It is noted that prior discussions seem to fade due to board member fatigue and turnover prior to the opportunity to engage membership input. Gary sets a December Townhall Meeting to gather input from Membership concerning future FSA activities and the potential combination with the APLG. The prior APLG/FSA Task Force documents will be posted to FSA website.

December 2021 – An open virtual townhall meeting is held to discuss future strategic directions of the FSA. Low membership engagement was noted with less than 20 members joining the meeting. Breakout groups drew attention to the large $40,000 expenditure on administrative support by the AICPA. Several members questioned whether the organizational structure of the FSA was effective given the changes in profession and the higher education environment. Several members recognized the importance of preserving the historical legacy of the FSA and allowing the organization to evolve to better serve the profession.

January 2022 – Following the Townhall Meeting in December 2021, a special FSA Board Meeting is called to review an updated set of by-laws for a potential newly-named organization stemming from prior discussions regarding an FSA / APLG combination. The FSA Board unanimously moves to develop an updated proposal document that would be presented to the voting membership followed by a membership vote. The proposal, including by-laws, would emphasize mission alignment, legacy preservation, board structures, and transition team activities. The proposal would also solicit recommendations by AAA attorneys.

February 2022 – The Board unanimously approves an updated proposal to establish a newly-named section of the American Accounting Association, the “Leadership in in Accounting Education.” The proposal includes the dissolution of the FSA and transfer assets to the American Accounting Association. Members Institutions of the FSA would be allowed to nominate an individual for membership in the Leadership Section who were not previously members of the APLG. The proposal was presented for discussion at the FSA membership business meeting during the 2022 FSA/APLG Joint Seminar Meeting. General membership discussion was positive and supportive. No opposing discussion was received during the membership business meeting. On February 22, 2022, the Board delivered the proposal to the voting membership for electronic vote.

April 2022 – As of April 8 2022, the FSA Voting Membership approved the proposal of the APLG collaboration and dissolution of the FSA. Voting was 91 in Favor, 2 Opposed (the vote was reviewed and ratified by the Board of Directors meeting on May 13). At the time of the vote, the FSA was comprised of 121 voting member institutions. On April 12, the AAA Board of Directors approves the establishment of the Leadership in Accounting Education Section and a proposal to accept the transfer of assets of the FSA.

May 2022 - An APLG/FSA Transition Team is established to facilitate the establishment of the newly-named Leadership Section of the American Accounting Association. The Transition Team members include:

•            Gary Peters – President FSA 

•            Norma Montague – Treasurer and Board Member – FSA 

•            Ann Watkins – At-Large Board Member – Member Schools – FSA

•            Greg Sommers – President APLG 

•            JK Aier – Past-President APLG 

•            Elizabeth Oliver – Previous President APLG and prior Merger Task Force Member 

The Transition Team met on May 13 during the Deloitte/FSA Faculty Consortium. The Team discussed a) plans to nominate officers of the new Leadership Section, including potential representation from both APLG and FSA, b) the need to develop recommendations for the continuation of the FSA’s Joseph Silvoso Faculty Merit Award and Mark Chain Award, and c) steps needed to legally dissolve the FSA and transfer FSA assets to the AAA.

July 2022 –The Transition Team proposed a set of officers for the newly named Leadership Section. The officers were approved by both the APLG Membership and the FSA Voting Membership. The initial officers include.

Past President: One year (For the first year of the new organization, the nomination is for two people serving as co-Past-Presidents at the suggestion of Transition Team and President nominee).

·       Gary Peters, Department Chair at University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

·       Greg Sommers, Program Director at Southern Methodist University

President: One year, will serve as Past-President in the following year.

·       Anne M. Magro, Associate Professor at George Mason University

President-Elect: One year, will serve as President in following year and then as Past-President in third year.

·       Gary A. McGill, Senior Associate Dean and Director, Fisher School of Accounting at University of Florida

Secretary/Treasurer: Two years

·       James C. Hansen, Department Chair at Weber State University

Vice President-Programming and Organizational Value: One year

·       Rebecca Shortridge, Department Chair at University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

Vice President-Elect – Programming and Organizational Value: One year, will serve as Vice President-Programming and Organizational Value in the following year. 

·       Andee Hodo, Program Director at Auburn University

Vice President-Leadership Development: One year

·       Jennifer L. Chapman, Program Director at University of Georgia

Vice President-Elect-Leadership Development: One year, will service as Vice President-Leadership Development in the following year.

·       Danny Lanier, Jr., Associate Director at Georgia State University (effective 8/1/22)

Vice President-Constituent Engagement and Advocacy: One year, this allows position to alternate election years with Vice President-Accounting Education Quality.

·       Michael Kimbrough, Department Chair at University of Maryland-College Park

Vice President-Accounting Education Quality: Two years

·       Nelson U. Alino, Professor of Accounting at Quinniapiac University

Advisory Board Member: One year, this allows position to alternate election years with other Advisory Board Member.

·       Scott Lane, Program Director at Auburn University at Montgomery

Advisory Board Member: Two years

·       Renee Olvera, Program Director at Texas Christian University

Nominating Committee Member: One year

·       Ram Venkataraman, Department Chair at University of Texas-Arlington

Nominating Committee Member: One year

·       Robin Clement, Program Director at University of Oregon

In accordance with the membership-approved proposal, initial steps to request corporate dissolution of the FSA with the State of New York are taken. A request to terminate the service agreement with the AICPA is submitted, effective August 15, 2022.

Final Board Meetings of the APLG and FSA Boards are jointly held in conjunction with the AAA annual meeting. An initial board meeting and celebration event for the newly named Leadership in Accounting Education section is established as of July 31, 2022.

The FSA was formed in 1978 to provide the impetus for the development of professional schools of accountancy much like medicine and law. FSA has a unique audience of accredited graduate accounting programs.