Sunday, January 29, 2017

Yuji Ijiri (1935-2017)

Yuji Ijiri passed away earlier this month. He was one of the pioneers of accounting as a form of information economics, with all that has meant for accounting rules as design features of organizations.

Here's the obituary from Carnegie Mellon University, where he taught until his retirement in 2011:
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Inventor of triple-entry accounting was recognized internationally for accounting research and practice.

Here's his obituary in the Wall Street Journal:
Ijiri Explored Accounting’s Foundations and Charted New Directions
Bucking modern trend of estimating current values, Japanese-born professor defended historic costs

"At the age of 14, Yuji Ijiri began keeping the books at his father’s bakery in Japan. Later, as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, he became one of the most celebrated philosophers of accounting, illuminating its underlying logic and defending its traditions, while exploring new frontiers.

"Accountants weren't the stereotypical bean counters, following clear-cut rules that inevitably led to a certain set of numbers, Dr. Ijiri found. Instead, they were champions of accountability, struggling to find a fair balance between the needs of parties with conflicting interests. While investors pushed for maximum disclosure, for example, managers were concerned about giving out information that could benefit competitors."

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