Marriott School Professor Receives American Accounting Association Award

Professor honored for impacting accounting practice

PROVO, Utah – Feb 14, 2014 – Marriott School of Management accounting professor Bill Tayler was among those honored by the American Accounting Association for an article he co-wrote on the methods and effectiveness of measuring performance. Tayler received the AAA Management Accounting Section’s Impact on Management Accounting Practice Award at a conference last month in Orlando, Fla.

“The fact that it can influence practice makes this study really matter,” Tayler says. “I hope this research can change the way people think and help them make more effective strategies.”

Tayler was honored for the article “Lost in Translation: The Effects of Incentive Compensation on Strategy Surrogation.” In the research Tayler and his co-authors found that current methods of measuring company progress are limited, and giving incentives for high performance may not have the desired effect on a company’s growth and overall health.

The award is given annually to recognize research that will have a great impact on the management accounting practice. Members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants reviewed the submissions and selected the paper because of its application in many types of institutions.

“This study provides practical guidance for establishing effective performance measurement systems throughout an entire organization, as well as for avoiding common pitfalls in their design,” said Ken Witt, a technical manager at the AICPA, as he presented the award at the AAA conference.

According to the study, people are often distracted from an end goal, such as the health of a company, as they focus on limited measures of success, such as customer satisfaction ratings or an earnings forecast. This substitution of the success of a few measures for the overall strategy is what the authors call surrogation.

Tayler co-wrote the article with Willie Choi, assistant professor of business administration at the University of Pittsburgh, and Gary Hecht, associate professor of accountancy at the University of Illinois. Tayler says the study has helped the accounting practice by creating a name for surrogation, and he hopes that organizations will recognize this problem and take a more holistic approach to evaluate performance.

“I hope that the impact of this research eventually will go beyond accounting,” Tayler says. “I believe that just knowing about this problem decreases the tendency to submit to surrogation both in business and in life decisions.”

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems, and entrepreneurship. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Bill Tayler was among those honored by the AAA for impactful research.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Angela Marler