In the world of financial accounting, few academics have worn as many mantles, or won as many awards, as Professor Stephen Zeff.
He is author or editor of 30 books and has written more than 150 articles and comments. He serves on the editorial board of more than a dozen research journals edited in ten countries, and he was until recently the book review editor of The Accounting Review for nine years. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley, University of Chicago, Harvard Business School, Northwestern University, and the University of Texas at Austin, and at universities in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.
For his dedication to teaching and for his research in the area of international accounting, Dr. Zeff received the 1999 Outstanding International Accounting Educator Award by the International Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association. In 2002, he was inducted as the 70th member of the Accounting Hall of Fame, at The Ohio State University. A past editor of The Accounting Review and a past president of the American Accounting Association, Dr. Zeff is also active in several European organizations. He is the only non-British member of the academic panel of the Financial Reporting Council of the United Kingdom, and from 1981 to 2009 he was the only non-European on the executive committee/board of the European Accounting Association. From 1991 to 2002, he was the International Research Adviser for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, which recognized him as its Honorary Research Fellow in 2003. In 2009, he was made an honorary member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England Wales, only the fourth such distinction the Institute has conferred and the first to an American.
Drawing on his extensive fund of knowledge acquired from researching the standard-setting process in eight countries, Zeff imbues his classes with a political perspective that can't be gained from textbooks. "I try very hard to give students a sense of the dynamics by which standards are set," he explains. "It makes the subject come alive. Students realize that it's not just a cold process by which rational accountants come together and say, 'This is the way it's going to be.'"
Zeff's office door is always open to MBA students, and he is generous in providing job connections through his European and American network. At Rice since 1978, he is proud to be affiliated with the Jones School. "Our students are excellent and well motivated. My colleagues are capable and conscientious: good researchers as well as committed teachers. The administration is enlightened; they not only appreciate quality, but reward it," he said. "It's also a very attractive campus. The university stands for excellence in everything it does."
My research is concerned with the comparative international history of standard setting for company financial reporting and with the evolution of accounting thought and practice.