Insights at UBC Sauder

Professor Emeritus Gerald (Jerry) Feltham posthumously inducted into the Canadian Accounting Hall of Fame

Posted 2021-06-28

The Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA) and the Canadian Accounting Hall of Fame (CAHF) Board of Directors announced that the UBC Sauder School of Business’ Professor Emeritus Gerald (Jerry) Feltham has been included in the inaugural group of inductees into the Canadian Accounting Hall of Fame. He has been inducted posthumously in the “Legacy Inductees” category, recognizing his 2004 election to membership in the Accounting Hall of Fame in the USA.

Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Professor Emeritus Feltham obtained his Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan, Nielson Gold Medal from the Institute of Charter Accountants of Saskatchewan, and earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1967. Upon completing his Ph.D., he joined the accounting faculty at Stanford University. He remained at Stanford until 1971 when he returned to Canada to join the accounting faculty at the UBC Sauder School of Business. He passed away in 2019 at the age of 81.

Professor Emeritus Feltham, one of accounting’s most distinguished scholars received almost every major award available to accounting researchers over his long and illustrious career. He is considered a pioneer in information economic theory, in the analysis of accounting as a source of information to facilitate and influence decision making in organizations and markets. In addition, he has authored or co-authored 28 major papers, four books and has a long history of professional service which includes editorships and co-editorships of Contemporary Accounting Research, Review of Accounting Studies and editorial board memberships of the Journal of Accounting Research, the Journal of Accounting and Economics, The Accounting Review, Management Science, and numerous other journals. His contribution to accounting thought continues on in the work of the PhD students he helped to graduate.  He served on 23 PhD committees, serving as PhD supervisor for 18 of those students.

“Jerry was a founding father of modern accounting research,” said Professor Russell Lundholm, Chair of the Accounting and Information Systems Division at UBC Sauder. “He was one of the first to treat accounting problems as economic problems, thereby bringing the rigour of theoretical economics to our field. His approach to accounting problems remains the standard of excellence today.”

Professor Emeritus Feltham’s development of 500 pages of lecture notes led to a collaborative two-volume book: The Economics of Accounting Volume I: Information in Markets and the The Economics of Accounting Volume II: Performance Evaluation with Professor Peter Christensen. These books have become classic readings for Ph.D. students and researchers alike. The books contains 250 rigorously proved theorems, involving algebra, calculus, stochastic processes, differential equations. It is “the Mount Everest of analytical thinking in our discipline,” as described by his former Berkeley Professor and fellow UBC Professor Ricco Mattessich (1922-2019).

The CAHF recognizes and honours individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of the Canadian accounting profession or, as Canadians, have made contributions to the development of accounting elsewhere in the world. These contributions may have been in practice (including assurance, financial reporting, management accounting, taxation, corporate governance, and accounting related consultancy), through professional associations, regulatory bodies, or through academic pursuits. The CAHF is also conceived as a curated biographical history of accounting in Canada. This resource will benefit students and practitioners in developing their understanding of accounting in Canada, and reinforces the role that accounting has played, and continues to play, in the development of Canadian society.