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Barnett jokes, “I’m not worried about students suing me if I make a mistake in the classroom”

profession to some groups of potential employees, which means that the profession as a whole might be missing out on some of the benefits of having a more diverse workforce.” Bujaki became an accountant in 1990 and went back to school

to earn her PhD in management from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., aſter working at a big firm for three-and-a-half years. She was an excellent candidate for a university position because she had the academic credentials as well as real-world experience as an accountant. It’s a combination believed to serve the profession well. But it’s a rare combination. “That ideal candidate is very, very difficult to find because

they are two different kinds of investments in terms of human capital,” Bujaki says. “So many people either do one or the other. It’s hard to find people who do both.” That supply lags demand for academic accountants in

Canada is not a new phenomenon. But the gap is widening due to the growth in business schools, the retirement of baby boomers, tight university budgets, the soſt Canadian dollar and the rising cost of education. Timothy Daus, executive director of the Canadian Federation

of Business School Deans, says there is a very practical reason why the shortage matters. Because demand significantly out- weighs supply, competition for faculty among business schools is intensifying, which is driving up salaries and making it harder for smaller institutions to hire the accounting professors they need to maintain accreditation. There are 22 Canadian business schools accredited by the

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a global organization based in Tampa, Fla. The schools are expected to maintain a certain balance of professionally versus academically qualified faculty, depending on the types of degrees being granted. So to maintain a balance, they have to find the right people. The shortage of PhDs can put pressure on schools to change

the focus of their programs. “The schools have to have account- ing courses because it is core curriculum, but they don’t have to offer accounting majors per se,” Daus says. Glenn Feltham, president of Northern Alberta Institute of

Technology, holds a BA, BSc, an MBA, a law degree and a PhD in accounting from the University of Waterloo. Previously he was on the accounting faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University, head of the accounting department at the University of Saskatchewan and dean of the University of Manitoba’sAsper School of Business. “In my experience there has always been greater demand than

supply of people with PhDs and an accounting background,” he says, adding that it is important for the long-term health of the


profession to encourage and nurture the supply side. It’s the academics, with and without PhDs, he says, who have helped make Canada’s accounting system one of the best in the world. “The amazing career that you can have as a faculty member

and just the size of the contribution you can make to the profes- sion is something that is really important,” he says, adding that it’s not just about the PhD. “Sometimes you have people who have given up really successful practices because of a passion they have for teaching.” James Barnett, a continuing lecturer in the School of

Accounting and Finance at the University of Waterloo, has built such a career. He was director of the school for six years and was the founding director of Waterloo’s master of taxation program, held in downtown Toronto. A major focus of his has been designing courses that go

beyond memorizing formulas and manipulating numbers. “I like designing our tax courses in such a way that they help

our students understand the material so they can solve prob- lems and advise their ‘client,’ ” he says. “We want them to have an understanding of how the system works and why things are the way they are. Why is that rule there? If they understand why it is there, it will help them remember it and they will also be able to say, ‘Yes, this is the answer I was expecting.’ ” Barnett chose academia when, aſter 15 years of working in the

field, he found himself questioning his future. “I asked myself, ‘Do I want to do what I’m doing as a tax partner for the next 20 years?’ ” The answer was a resounding no. Not surprisingly, he took a substantial pay cut to make the transition. Statistics show that accountants working in educational insti-

tutions do earn less than their counterparts in industry. According to CPA Canada’s 2015 member compensation study, the average mean compensation for those working in educa- tional institutions was $122,000 a year, compared with the overall mean of $151,000. With competition among business schools driving up starting

salaries, some academics can begin their careers earning as much —or in some cases more — than accountants starting out in the business world. But as the years roll by, professors’ salaries don’t keep up. And when compared with partner salaries, the gulf between the two worlds can be wide. Barnett, however, has never looked back. “I don’t regret

leaving the partnership at all. I have enjoyed this for 25 years. And besides,” he jokes, “I’m not worried about students suing me if I make a mistake in the classroom.” Fred Phillips, who holds a PhD from the University of Texas, has been an accounting professor at the University of Sas-

Clockwise previous pages: Jay Parson / Frank Desgagnés / Amber Bracken / Greg Huszar / Perry Zavitz / KlixPix

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