Professor of Accountancy
School of Accountancy
College of Business
Dr. Stephens formerly led the University's Ohio Center for Professional Accountancy (OUCPA). Launched in 2007, the Center provides formalized structure for accounting faculty, students and professionals to network, collaborate and exchange information about current trends in the accounting profession.
"The real goal of the Center was to increase interaction between people who are teaching accounting, learning accounting, and practicing accounting," Stephens says, adding students benefit from increased placement opportunities through their involvement with the Center.
The OUCPA coordinates efforts between the Ohio University School of Accountancy and numerous accounting firms and corporations. The Center serves as a focus point for research and some outreach activities of the School of Accountancy to expand the accounting faculty's and students' knowledge by increasing interaction with practitioners and to provide services to the accounting profession. This interaction is also a requirement of the separate accounting accreditation of the accounting program by the AACSB.
Investors, regulators, and users of financial information are demanding better and more transparent information because of recent scandals, especially financial information. Therefore, Stephens says the need for professional accountants is increasing due to these expanding expectations. Professional accountants are critical to foster strong corporate governance, to provide internal audits for organizations, the audit of financial statements, to provide information for decision-making, and to develop systems of internal control.
According to Stephens, professionals are looking to academics to assist in meeting the need for an understanding of accounting changes, specialized accounting topics, and research for solving accounting issues.
The success of the OUCPA has been evident in its results — all of the founding sponsor companies employ Ohio University graduates.
Before joining Ohio University, Stephens worked as a consultant for companies such as Myers Industries, American Electric Power, F&R Lazarus, JC Penney Casualty Insurance, Kellogg Company, and Rockwell International. He is also the former Academic Accounting Fellow with the Securities and Exchange Commission and former Senior Academic Fellow in the Ohio Office of the Auditor. He currently serves as the North American Accounting and Auditing consultant for CPA Associates International, serving as consultant for more than 50 CPA firms. Stephens is also a frequent expert witness in litigation involving accounting and auditing.
Stephens has received numerous awards and honors. He was the 2008 recipient of the Ohio Society of CPAs 100th Anniversary Most Influential Accountant in First 100 Years award, the 2004 recipient of the Ohio Society of CPA's Gold Medal, and the 2004 recipient of the National Beta Alpha Psi Business Information Professional in Education Award. In 1995 he was named the Ohio Outstanding Accounting Educator. He is a frequent instructor for executive and continuing education programs and was awarded an AICPA Outstanding CPE Instructor in 1991 and the Ohio Society of CPA's Outstanding Discussion Leader in 1995.