In Recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This month, Buchbinder would like to recognize the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to the accounting profession. Now the fastest growing minority in the U.S., at 7% of the population, AAPIs are a group of people that speak over 100 languages and hail from over 20 countries, each with their own unique culture and history. In the United States, the experiences of AAPIs have often been characterized by hardship, including racist edicts, immigration restrictions, exclusion from citizenship, and even mass incarceration; even today they are sometimes the targets of violence and hate. Nonetheless, many AAPIs have overcome these obstacles and established themselves as significant contributors to American society, whether in the fields of the arts, sciences, or business, including accounting. AAPIs currently make up about 14% of new hires and about 17% of professional staff in US accounting roles.

AAPI Heritage MonthA notable success story of an AAPI in the US is that of Yugi Ijiri, the founder of the transitional momentum accounting practice (or triple-entry accounting). Born and raised in Japan, Ijiri became the youngest person to earn a CPA certificate in Japan at the age of 21 in 1953; a record that still stands. Later, he came to the US and earned his master’s degree at the University of Minnesota and his doctorate at Carnegie Mellon. He became a professor at Carnegie Mellon where he was named the Robert M. Trueblood University Professor of Accounting and Economics, the University’s highest honor. Ijiri was a prolific thinker and writer, publishing over 100 articles for professional journals and authoring over 20 books. He was the first AAPI to have received the American Accounting Association’s (AAA) Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award, which he received not just once, but four times. He was also bestowed numerous other honors through the AAA, where he served as president and vice president. Ijiri was also the first AAPI to be inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame. In 1990, Ijiri’s commitment to education was memorialized by Carnegie Mellon with the Yuji Ijiri Award for Excellence in Accounting, which is presented every year to one of its MBA students.

Ijiri left a legacy of innovation and intellectual rigor that has had a profound impact on the academic standards of business schools. His lifelong contributions to the accounting profession are an inspiration and aspiration for all those in the accounting profession, and they are a testament to the resolve of AAPIs in the United States.

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