“Houston, we have a problem!”

Folks, now that I have caught your eye, we really have an image problem.

I was attending the American Accounting Association annual meeting several days ago. With approximately 3,100 registered attendees this is a rather large mass of accounting professors.

My wife, Shirley, and I decided to stop by the club on the 18th floor of our hotel to have a bit of liquid refreshment and enjoy some music. There is an outside deck with an outstanding view of the area. We actually wondered if we could get in to this venue.  We were shocked when we walked into this great dance club and there were only ten customers and over a dozen staff. I asked the bartender where everyone was. He replied somewhat gruffly, “In their rooms. We heard there was a big group coming and we needed to staff up for it. And then we hear it is a group of accountants.” Wow, I guess we lived down to those expectations!

If there is one difficulty that accounting professors face it is the preconceived image of accountants. Hollywood presents finance majors as Michael Douglas playing Gordon Gecko while accountants are parodied as Rick Moranis in “Ghostbusters.”

I think we should not view this as a depressing situation; but, rather an opportunity to laugh at ourselves, always a good start, and let our true personalities shine forth. Be the most fun, uplifting and outgoing person you can be everyday in the classroom. Lead by example. Show your students your fun side. Put your inner persona on display. The simple act of displaying a personal photo is a great start.

 Shirley and I dancing at our niece's wedding.

Good luck to us all this upcoming semester!

About Edward Hums

Edward F. Hums, M.B.A., C.P.A. Teaching Professor of Accountancy Ed Hums is in his tenth year as a full-time faculty member of the Mendoza College of Business and currently teaches financial and managerial accounting to undergraduates and team teaches a course in the Masters in Non-Profit Administration program. He also lectures in the Executive Education program at the University and at various corporate locations. Ed is currently faculty coordinator for the Vivian Harrington Gray Notre Dame – St. Mary’s Tax Assistance Program. In addition to his teaching and lecturing, Ed monitors the rail industry. Ed received the Frank O’Malley Teaching Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, the highest individual teaching award at the University, in 2004 and the Paul Fenlon Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2005. In 2006 when the on-line version of Business Week initially profiled America’s favorite business professors, Ed was the first faculty member listed. In 2008 Ed received an Edmund P. Joyce C.S.C. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In October 2010 at the request of Student Government, Ed delivered Notre Dame’s Fall 2010 “Last Lecture” in Washington Hall. Ed served Notre Dame for 26 years in various administrative roles at the University including budgeting, financial planning, tax reporting, systems management, and financial reporting. In 1989 while working in administration, Ed began teaching on a part-time basis. Ed is a 1975 graduate of Notre Dame with an undergraduate degree in accountancy. He was lead student trainer on Notre Dame’s 1973 national championship football team. Ed holds two masters’ degrees from Indiana University South Bend, and is a licensed CPA in Indiana. Ed and his wife, Shirley, a staff member in the University’s athletic department and Notre Dame alum, reside in Mishawaka. Ed is a member of the Edward Fredrick Sorin Society, Notre Dame Monogram Club, Indiana CPA Society, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, American Accounting Association, Beta Alpha Psi, National Association of Rail Shippers and is player/coach of the Notre Dame faculty hockey team.
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