William Andrew Paton

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William A. Paton
Born(1889-07-19)July 19, 1889
near Calumet, Michigan, USA
DiedApril 26, 1991(1991-04-26) (aged 101)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan Ph.D. 1917
Scientific career

William Andrew Paton (July 19, 1889 - April 26, 1991) was an American accountancy scholar, known as founder of the American Accounting Association in 1916, and was founder and first editor of its flagship journal The Accounting Review.[1]


Paton was born near Calumet, Michigan to Andrew Patton, teacher and superintendent of the local school system, and Mary Nowlin Paton, also teacher. The family settled on a farm, engaging Patton with farm work in his youth. Paton studied at the University of Michigan, where he obtained his AB and PhD in economics in 1917. In 1927 he obtained his Certified Public Accountant license for the State of Michigan.[2]

After graduation Paton started his academic career at the University of Michigan in 1914. After a year as Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota in 1916-17, he returned to the University of Michigan, where he was Professor of accounting and of economics from 1921 to his retirement in 1958. He has been visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley (1937-28), at Harvard University (1939–40, at the University of Chicago (1959–60), and at the University of Kentucky (1968–69). Over the years he has been practicing consulting accountant, especially during vacation periods.[2]

In 1916 Paton co-founded the American Accounting Association, and served as its president in 1922-23. He was founding editor-in-chief of its The Accounting Review from 1926 to 1929. In 1940 he and A. C. Littleton edited for the American Accounting Association the publication of An Introduction to Corporate Accounting Standards. Over the years Patton also participated in American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in several positions.[2]

Paton received the AICPA's Gold Medal Award in 1944 and was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in its first year, 1950. He was the recipient of the one-time "Outstanding Educator of the Century" prize by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, at the AICPA's 100th annual meeting in 1987. He was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 1950. Paton died at the age of 101 on April 26, 1991.[3]

Selected publications[edit]

Paton published more than 150 articles and numerous books, on his own or with co-authors, including:


  1. ^ Thompson, Joel E. "Paton, William Andrew (1889-1991)." In History of Accounting: An International Encyclopedia, edited by Michael Chatfield and Richard Vangermeersch. New York: Garland Publishing, 1996. pp. 453–454.
  2. ^ a b c Biography at OSU's Accounting Hall of Fame. Accessed 2015-02-16
  3. ^ Narvaez, Alfonso A., "William Paton, 101, Pioneer Accountant, Theorist and Scholar, New York Times, May 1, 1991, [1] Accessed September 5, 2018.

External links[edit]