The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 12, No. 2 Fall 1985
Tonya K. Flesher and
Dale L. Flesher UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
JAMES O. MCKINSEY
The first book on the subject of budgeting, and the first textbook on managerial accounting, were both authored by James O. Mc-Kinsey, a professor at the University of Chicago. Before McKinsey, internal users of accounting information were largely neglected by educators.1 Only through years of practical experience could a young accountant hope to master the knowledge needed to profit-ably use management accounting information. McKinsey also authored the first edition of what later became, according to indus-try sources, the most successful accounting principles textbook in America. Unfortunately, McKinsey's name does not appear in much of the current literature on accounting history.
He was also one of the main contributors to the development of accounting education in the United States during the first third of the twentieth century. He became president of the American As-sociation of University Instructors in Accounting, the predecessor of the American Accounting Association, in 1924 when only 35 years of age. One noteworthy aspect of his year as president was that conferences with representatives of the American Institute of Accountants resulted in accounting instructors being accepted for membership in the Institute. Previously, Institute membership had been limited to practitioners.2 This milestone is especially note-worthy because educators had been seeking admission for nearly a decade.
McKinsey made another significant change in 1923, when vice president of the American Association. Prior to that time, account-ing educators had always held their annual meeting in conjunction with that of the American Economic Association. However, in 1923, McKinsey made the decision to break with tradition and hold a separate annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio. He believed that the Association's major base of support was in the Midwest, and that