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William McCarthy

Department: Accounting and Information Systems
North Business Building
632 Bogue St Rm N225
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 432-2913
Areas of Expertise
  • Biography
    William McCarthy is a Professor of Accounting and Information Systems at Michigan State University.  Professor McCarthy's research interests center on the application of knowledge-based systems, object orientation, and database theories to the problems of building better accounting systems. His 1982 paper on REA (Resource-Event-Agent) accounting systems was given the first "Seminal Contribution to the Accounting Information Systems Literature Award" by the American Accounting Association (AAA) in 1996, and his present interests focus on (1) the development of REA enterprise ontologies, (2) the use of independent-view REA models in open value networks (OVN) and blockchain environments, and (3) the development of component-based information system architectures with REA business process patterns and their integration with OVNs. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and by multiple accounting firms. Two keynote presentations of his REA research work are given here ( ) and here ( REA Ontology (Spark series; June 2020) on Vimeo ). 

    McCarthy's REA papers are available here: .  Professor McCarthy has recently authored (with Guido Geerts and Graham Gal) a research monograph from the American Accounting Association entitled "The REA accounting model as an accounting and economic ontology."   The AAA link to that monograph is here: The REA Accounting Model as an Accounting and Economic Ontology | American Accounting Association Bookstore ( .

    Professor McCarthy has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining the accounting information systems track within the accounting masters program at MSU, a track that continues to enjoy a high degree of placement and acceptance from accounting, consulting, and industrial firms around the country. For his teaching efforts there, he has been given student-selected teaching awards from the Masters in Accounting and from the Broad MBA programs. In 2003, he was given the American Accounting Association's "Innovation in Accounting Education Award" for his role in developing semantic modeling approaches to teaching accounting information systems. He has supervised nine doctoral dissertations, including the 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1999 national AIS award winners. He has also served as an invited participant and faculty opponent on doctoral committees in Canada, Finland, Australia, Belgium, and Austria.

    Professor McCarthy worked in the Artificial Intelligence Group of Arthur Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) where he was part of a research team that analyzed the first uses of embedded semantics for the SEC's EDGAR system. Most recently, he has been especially active in international e-commerce standardization efforts. He was a member of the Business Process Analysis and Specification Schema teams of the UN-based ebXML project, and he was a member of the Business Collaboration Patterns and Business Object Type Library teams of UN/CEFACT.  He is also an editor for the ISO-based Open-EDI initiative where he was the principal architect of the accounting and economic ontology for Open-EDI (ISO 15944-4).  In the area of blockchain, he is the co-editor of a new ISO standard (ISO 15944-21) for Distributed Business Transaction Repositories whose operations are discussed in a state machine video here: .

    Professor McCarthy has served in many leadership positions at the American Accounting Association, including being Editor for The Accounting Review, being Editor for the Journal of Information Systems, and being Vice-President. He received the "AAA Outstanding Service Award" in 2007 for his efforts in educating accounting professors worldwide to teach accounting systems courses in a more conceptual and integrated fashion.

    Professor McCarthy was the recipient of the Department of Accounting's "Roland F. Salmonson Outstanding Teaching Award" in 1985, 1993, 2003, 2011, and 2019. In September of 1999, he was given the "Withrow Teacher-Scholar Award," the lifetime teaching award from the Broad College of Business, and in February 2000, he was presented with the Michigan State University "Distinguished Faculty Award." In 2008, he was honored with the American Accounting Association's "Outstanding Accounting Educator Award," the highest honor given to accounting professors nationally.  In 2019, he was awarded the "Cook Prize" from the AAA for being the top graduate accounting teacher in the USA. an award that included a silver medal and large cash prize. .

  • Courses
    • ACC 821: Enterprise Information Systems
    • ACC 823: Advanced Database Systems
    • ACC 825: Object-Oriented Enterprise Systems
    • ACC 890: Accounting Interoperability
  • Media Mentions
  • Links

Related News:

Professor Bill McCarthy explores the digital ledgering system behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin
Broad Matters podcast hosted by the MSU Broad College of Business, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts
Uncover the mysteries of blockchain with accounting professor Bill McCarthy on this episode of Broad Matters.