Graham Peirson was a scholar at Monash University from the mid-1960s until retirement in 2002 and held visiting appointments at the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Illinois; the University of Florida; and the University of Washington. During much of the last 20 years of his time at Monash Graham provided strong leadership as Head of the then Department of Accounting and Finance and as the Director of the Centre for Research in Accounting and Finance. He supervised and/or mentored numerous academic leaders and members of the current professoriate in Australia and overseas. Whilst Graham published numerous papers in top international journals, including a sole authored paper in The Accounting Review, a particular feature of his scholarship was his editorial work and the numerous papers published in more applied journals that made cutting edge thought leadership accessible to practitioners. He co-authored five textbooks and two of these, Issues in Financial Accounting and Business Finance are in their sixteenth and twelfth editions, respectively. Through this writing, Graham has translated and communicated knowledge and influenced thousands of students over the years. He also made a sustained contribution to CPA Australia and the profession as President of the Victorian Division during a 10-year tenure on the Victorian Divisional Council. He was also Chair of the Victorian Recruitment Committee and the inaugural Chair of the CPA Australia External Reporting Centre of Excellence. Arguably, Graham’s most significant service was his outstanding contribution to accounting standard setting and regulation through scholarship and membership of the Public Sector Accounting Standards Board and the Australian Accounting Standards Board. Graham was one of those rare individuals who could make a major contribution to a standard setting discussion on any topic and in respect of any sector. A key contribution during this period, both through writing and direct influence, was his drive to ensure that all exposure drafts and standards were consistent with and underpinned by the Australian Conceptual Framework and that measurement and recognition criteria were applied, to the fullest extent practical, in all standards. Graham’s period of service on the Public Sector Accounting Standards Board included the introduction of accrual accounting into the public sector. In 1990 he produced a report on accounting standards setting in Australia that set the institutional framework for many years. In recognition of his sustained contributions, Graham was awarded CPA Australia’s Victorian President’s Award in 1999 for outstanding and enduring contribution to CPA Australia and the accounting profession. In the same year he also received the inaugural Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand award for Outstanding Contribution to Accounting & Finance Practice. In 2004, Graham received a CPA Lifetime Achievement Award for 48 years of outstanding service to CPA Australia and the profession. On his retirement from Monash, Graham Peirson was recognised with the award of the title emeritus professor.
The Australian Accounting Hall of Fame honours Graham Peirson as a scholar, office holder and distinguished standard setter.
Graham Peirson was an academic at Monash University from the mid-1960s until retirement in 2002 when he was appointed Emeritus Professor. A graduate of The University of Adelaide, he has held visiting appointments at the University of California - Berkeley; University of Illinois; University of Florida and the University of Washington. Graham taught and researched financial accounting and reporting with a focus on issues relating to accounting standard setting and the regulation of financial reporting.
During much of the 20-year period ended 2002, Graham was Head of the then Department of Accounting and Finance at Monash University and Director of the Department’s Centre for Research in Accounting and Finance. He provided outstanding leadership during periods of resource constraint, difficulties with appointing suitably qualified staff and challenges in the aftermath of the Dawkins reforms in the late 1980s but remained adamant of the need to maintain academic standards. Not surprisingly, he set very high standards for the academic staff and was a strong HDR supervisor, role model and mentor to numerous junior academics, many of whom have moved into influential leadership roles in Australia and overseas both in the research domain and the university administration domain.
Numerous papers were published in refereed journals such as Abacus, Accounting and Business Research, Accounting and Finance, Australian Accounting Review, the Economic Record, along with a sole authored paper in The Accounting Review. A particular strength of his scholarship was his editorial work and the sheer volume of papers published in more applied journals such as the Australian Accounting Review, Australian Accountant and Companies and Securities Journal that made cutting edge thought leadership accessible to practitioners. He has also co-authored five textbooks titled Business Finance, Essentials of Business Finance, Financial Accounting Theory, Issues in Financial Accounting and Financial Accounting: An Introduction. Two of these, Issues in Financial Accounting and Business Finance, are premier Australian texts in the area as evidenced by the fact that they are currently in their 16th and 12th editions respectively.
Over the years Graham has made significant contributions to the profession through various senior volunteer roles including leadership within CPA Australia. These include:
- Member, Victorian Membership Promotion Committee/Victorian Recruitment Committee (1979-1983)
- Chair, Victorian Recruitment Committee (1981-1982)
- Member, CPA Australia Victorian Divisional Council (1979-1989)
- President, CPA Australia Victorian Division (1985)
- National Councillor of CPA Australia (1986 – 1987)
- Member, Victorian Disciplinary Appeals Committee (1990)
- Inaugural Chair, CPA Australia External Reporting Centre of Excellence (1992- 1998)
- Member, CPA Australia’s Continuing Professional Development Committee (2004)
An additional dimension to Graham Pierson’s contribution to the development of accounting in Australia was in accounting standard setting and regulation. He was a member of the Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (PASB) of the Australian Accounting Research Foundation from 1989 until it merged with the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) in 2000. He continued as member of the AASB from 2000 to 2002. During this time, he was on numerous working parties responsible for preparing Exposure Drafts as well as the initial Australian Conceptual Framework. A senior member of the AASB staff who was involved in standard setting during this era indicates, “Graham was one of those rare individuals who would make a solid contribution to a standard setting discussion on any topic and in respect of any sector -- whether it be public sector, private sector for-profit or private sector not-for-profit.” His period of service on the PASB was particularly significant and included the introduction of accrual accounting into the public sector at all levels, an important but challenging change process. His contribution was crucial to embedding a philosophy of applying the same recognition and measurement requirements across all sectors to the extent feasible. This philosophy remains largely intact today. Australia is seen as a world leader regarding quality of accounting standards and a jurisdiction that made a very successful convergence and ultimate transition to IFRS in 2005. A key contribution made by Graham during this period through his writing and direct, as well as indirect, influence on standard setting was his drive to ensure that all exposure drafts and standards were consistent with and underpinned by the Australian Conceptual Framework. Indeed, he consistently promoted the use of the Conceptual Framework in deliberations of both the PASB and AASB, which influenced virtually all of the standards that both boards issued.
In 1999 Graham Peirson was awarded the Victorian President’s Award (the then Charles Holmes Medal) in 1999 for “outstanding and enduring contribution to CPA Australia and the accounting profession”. In the same year he received the inaugural AFAANZ Outstanding Contribution to Accounting & Finance Practice award. A Lifetime Achievement Award from CPA Australia was awarded in 2004 for “48 years of outstanding service to CPA Australia and the profession”.