Message from the Chair
The LP and Timothy Leung School of Accounting’s vision is to “be a premier Christian accounting school, recognized as a thought leader on accounting character and competence to reflect the life of Christ and shine the light of Truth.” Building on Azusa Pacific University’s God First mission, our focus is develop thought leaders in the accounting profession and beyond who have a commitment to the Truth.
Truth, after all, is what accounting is all about. Unfortunately, accounting ethics is frequently viewed as an oxymoron, when in fact it should be viewed as redundant—that is, accounting without ethics is no account at all. In the Leung School of Accounting, we focus on character and competence, because either one alone is not enough. As President Theodore Roosevelt once observed, “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” On the other hand, every professional code of conduct recognizes that there is no room for an incompetent professional.
My favorite accountant in the Bible is Daniel, who rose to manage empires’ assets under three very disparate kings. From Babylon to the Medes and Persians, the king of each kingdom put Daniel in charge because “he was trustworthy, and neither corrupt nor negligent.” These same values are demanded of today’s accountants. In fact, years of research show that if professional accountants fail, it is for one of two reasons: corruption or negligence.
To avoid these pitfalls and serve the public well, accounting professionals must know what to do, and have the moral courage to do it. But how do we have the courage to do the right thing at the risk of great personal cost? That’s where our Christian faith comes into play. Daniel understood that God is sovereign over the kingdoms of this world; firmly believing this truth, the Leung School serves as a thought leader in educating students, accounting professionals, and the public about our duty and calling to ethical accounting, and ultimately to the Truth.
John M. Thornton, Ph.D., CPA
Professor, Leung Chair of Accounting Ethics