Stephen A. Zeff

Keith Anderson Professor of Accounting

In the world of financial accounting, few academics have worn as many mantles, or won as many awards, as Professor Stephen Zeff.

He is author or editor of 30 books and has written more than 150 articles and comments. He serves on the editorial board of more than a dozen research journals edited in ten countries, and he was until recently the book review editor of The Accounting Review for nine years. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley, University of Chicago, Harvard Business School, Northwestern University, and the University of Texas at Austin, and at universities in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

For his dedication to teaching and for his research in the area of international accounting, Dr. Zeff received the 1999 Outstanding International Accounting Educator Award by the International Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association. In 2002, he was inducted as the 70th member of the Accounting Hall of Fame, at The Ohio State University. A past editor of The Accounting Review and a past president of the American Accounting Association, Dr. Zeff is also active in several European organizations. He is the only non-British member of the academic panel of the Financial Reporting Council of the United Kingdom, and from 1981 to 2009 he was the only non-European on the executive committee/board of the European Accounting Association. From 1991 to 2002, he was the International Research Adviser for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, which recognized him as its Honorary Research Fellow in 2003. In 2009, he was made an honorary member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England Wales, only the fourth such distinction the Institute has conferred and the first to an American.

Drawing on his extensive fund of knowledge acquired from researching the standard-setting process in eight countries, Zeff imbues his classes with a political perspective that can't be gained from textbooks. "I try very hard to give students a sense of the dynamics by which standards are set," he explains. "It makes the subject come alive. Students realize that it's not just a cold process by which rational accountants come together and say, 'This is the way it's going to be.'"

Zeff's office door is always open to MBA students, and he is generous in providing job connections through his European and American network. At Rice since 1978, he is proud to be affiliated with the Jones School. "Our students are excellent and well motivated. My colleagues are capable and conscientious: good researchers as well as committed teachers. The administration is enlightened; they not only appreciate quality, but reward it," he said. "It's also a very attractive campus. The university stands for excellence in everything it does."

To read more about Prof. Zeff's work, please visit Rice Business Wisdom.

Teaching Interests: 

-Accounting theory
-Financial accounting

Research Interests: 

-Comparative historical development of the setting and enforcement of accounting standards
-Biographical studies in accounting
-History of accounting thought and practice

Intellectual Contributions

Working Paper

Zeff, S.A. & Dyckman, T.R. (Working Paper). A Historical Study of the First 30 Years of Accounting Horizons. 


Zeff, S.A. (2016). Memorial articles for 20th century American accounting leaders. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

Journal Article

Zeff, S.A. (2016). The Trueblood Study Group on Objectives of Financial Statements (1971-73): A Historical Study. Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 35(2), 134-161. 

Dyckman, T.R. & Zeff. S.A. (2015). Accounting research: Past, Present, and Future. Abacus, 51(4), 511-524. 


Camfferman, K. & Zeff, S.A. (2015). Aiming For Global Accounting Standards: The International Accounting Standards Board, 2001-2011. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Journal Article

Zeff, S.A (2015). The Wheat Study on Establishment of Accounting Principles (1971-72): A historical study. ¬†Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 34(2), 146‚Äď174.

Journal Article

Zeff, S.A., Radcliffe, V., & Gunz, S. (2014). Accounting and auditing activities of the Ontario Securities Commission, 1960s to 2008 Part 3: The fifth Chief Accountant, 1996-2008. Accounting Perspectives, 13(4), 223-252.

Journal ARticle

Dyckman, T.R. & Zeff. S.A. Some methodological deficiencies in empirical research articles in accounting. Accounting Horizons, 28(3), 695-712.

Journal Article

Zeff, S.A. (2014). The objectives of financial reporting: A historical survey and analysis. Accounting and Business Research, 43(4), 262-327.

Journal Article

Zeff, S. A. (2012). The evolution of the IASC into the IASB, and the challenges it faces The Accounting Review, 87(3) (2012), 807-837