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ASU professor appointed to Arizona State Board of Accountancy

W. P. Carey School faculty member brings school innovations to his term beginning this fall

Portrait of ASU Clinical Associate Professor Gregory Dawson.

ASU Clinical Associate Professor Gregory Dawson

August 14, 2023

Gregory Dawson, a professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business' School of Accountancy at Arizona State University, had been looking for opportunities to give back at both the university and state level when he was surprised to learn that community members interested in serving on one of Arizona’s 220 boards and commissions of interest can apply by visiting the governor’s office website.

After confirming he met the qualifications to serve on the Arizona State Board of Accountancy, Dawson submitted a questionnaire, resume and letters of recommendation. He also underwent an extensive background check.

All of that paid off when Dawson was recently appointed by the governor to serve on the board as the public, non-CPA holding member. 

“It’s a terrific honor,” Dawson said of the appointment. “I think it reflects what the governor and the board believe about ASU and our School of Accountancy.”

Dawson, a clinical associate professor at the Center for Organization Research and Design and senior global futures scientist at the Global Futures Scientists and Scholars Network, will serve a four-year term as one of seven board members. The board’s mission is to protect the public from unprofessional or unqualified certified public accountants (CPAs) by enforcing certification standards, regulations and rehabilitation. 

“As with any other profession, most CPAs are honest, ethical people who do the right thing. But occasionally, some don’t,” Dawson said. “Part of the board’s job is holding them accountable.”

In his role, Dawson will investigate complaints against CPAs and ensure appropriate CPA standards and qualifications. Current CPA requirements include completing 150 college credit hours and passing the Uniform CPA Examination. The board will also discuss widening accounting education and resources. 

The average bachelor's degree consists of 120 credit hours. Dawson says obtaining those additional 30 credit hours can dissuade potential candidates who are unwilling or financially unable to enroll in extra undergraduate courses or pursue a master’s degree. Research shows this also disproportionately affects people of color.

“This is clearly a very bad thing if we’re dissuading lower-socioeconomic people or people of color from going into accounting,” Dawson said. “Accounting thrives where there’s adequate diversity.”

After completing their credit hours, CPA candidates must pass all four sections of the rigorous Uniform CPA Examination within 18 months. In 2022, only 45% to 60% of test takers passed each section. Candidates pay approximately $240 to take each section, with many candidates also investing in test preparation courses and materials.

A Master of Accountancy and Data Analytics program instructor, Dawson says incorporating test preparation into the 150-college-credit-hour requirement can help students be successful.

“As part of the ASU Master of Accountancy and Data Analytics and Master of Taxation and Data Analytics programs, students can take a class that involves prep work with Becker, known as the very best CPA study materials, to prepare them to pass the CPA exam,” Dawson said. “We’re doing everything we can to give our master’s students the tools to be successful so they can pass the exam, and this is on top of the world-class education that we give them on accounting analytics and topics such as artificial intelligence.”

With decades of experience as both an accounting professor and consultant, Dawson is most looking forward to “contributing to the betterment of the profession” in his role as a board member.

“I’m obviously a huge believer in the accounting profession. There are some things I can contribute with my educational background,” he said. “I feel that our role is to uphold the integrity of the financial well-being of companies in Arizona. I appreciate the appointment.”