Timothy J. Fogarty is passionate about independence in accounting - what he calls the true means to maintaining integrity in his field.
Dr. Fogarty, professor and chairman of the Department of Accountancy at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, said accountants that act independently shouldn't succumb to the lure of high fees.
"I would like the practice of accounting to become more driven by moral principles," he said. "In accounting, morality is all about independence."
Enter Enron, which Dr. Fogarty calls "a morality tale about psychological pressure and economic inducement." He said the Enron debacle gave the accounting industry an example of how a lack of independence can be the industry's downfall.
Another downfall is working accountants not keeping an eye toward academic accountants' research.
Dr. Fogarty, 50, who earned his doctorate in accounting from Pennsylvania State University after practicing law in Buffalo, N.Y., started at Weatherhead as an assistant professor, teaching taxation, auditing, business law and accounting.
Since then, he has written more than 100 articles that have been published in professional journals.
"Accountants in practice don't read what I have written. Accounting practice would be better if practitioners paid attention to what accounting faculty members are doing," he said. "They should become better consumers of accounting research, especially because of Enron. I would like to see more of a marriage between research and practice."
Linda Zucca, associate professor in the Department of Accounting and the College of Business Administration at Kent State University, has known Dr. Fogarty for 15 years. She said she admires his ability to mine for research topics in daily life.
"He is an amazing researcher who has a great imagination," she said. "His work ethic is unsurpassed. He finds topics to research in his daily conversations."
His area of specialty is corporate governance and the strategic management of public accounting firms.
Dr. Fogarty said he sees his duty as two-fold teaching accounting and instilling moral values, which Enron undermined.
Reprinted with permission of Crain's Cleveland Business by Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.