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* [TUHS] Role of Unix in Australian Accounting research: Ball & Brown, founding AGSM
@ 2024-02-10  6:47 steve jenkin
  2024-02-10 19:38 ` [TUHS] " Andrew Hume
  2024-02-11 20:51 ` steve jenkin
  0 siblings, 2 replies; 3+ messages in thread
From: steve jenkin @ 2024-02-10  6:47 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS; +Cc: Ian Johnstone

Accidentally ran into this today.
I’ve never seen this put together and thought it worth adding to the TUHS archives.

Hadn’t realised that both the authors of “Ball & Brown” (1968) were Aussies and UNSW alumni.
Studying a little accounting, this paper was mentioned as ’the most cited’ paper in the field.

The Big New Idea in 1968 was to use computers to analyse stock market data & show correlations.

I hadn’t known either had come back to Australia (QLD or WA then UNSW/AGSM),
then founded AGSM, with a focus on digital analysis of data.

Ian Johnstone, from CSE, went to AGSM to run their computers.
He recommended DEC + Unix and was backed by Brown, the director.

	[ Andy Hume was recruited by Ian J, before leaving for a job at Bell Labs in the Computing Research Centre. ]

The AGSM license caused conniptions with the AT&T lawyers.
While AGSM fell into the near free “University & Education” license, they weren’t using Unix just for ‘education’.

AGSM became the first commercial licensee of Unix, or so I was told at the time.
Ian Johnstone was AUUGN editor while at AGSM, before scooting off to the USA and rising to heights there.

While Ball & Brown studied in Faculty of Commerce, they obviously had enough of a grounding
in ‘computing’ and data collection / handling / analysis to set the stage for their 1968 paper.

In 1971, Fortran IV was taught to first year students in Science, using John M Blatt’s (of UNSW) textbook.
It’s not unreasonable that Finance & Accounting had courses or training in Computing 5 years before that.

Within 10 years, they were both back at UNSW, running AGSM, teaching & using Digital research methods,
based solidly on Unix…




Looking back, I realise it must have been a fortuitous convergence for me:
	thanks to Philip Brown and Ian Johnstone, the AGSM had been running Unix machines since 1976;
	 thanks to Bob Wood, I read of Bob Axelrod's work with GAs in examining the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma before it was published 
		(and Axelrod was also at Michigan); 
	thanks to my innate curiosity, I had been reading and contributing to the Usenet news groups on the Internet since 1986. 

	Sydney was not so far from Ann Arbor, finally.


Phillip Brown


Philip Brown holds an important and unique place within the annals of Australian accounting. 
As co-author of the research paper that redefined the course of academic accounting research in the last forty years 
he inadvertently set the research agendas and directions for a legion of academics that followed.

Philip started school at Riverstone in western Sydney with a short stint at Summer Hill in his final two years of primary education 
proceeding to Canterbury Boys High School where he scored an average pass in his Leaving Certificate. 
He then worked as a junior clerk in the accounting department of British Motor Corporation at Zetland. 
Advised to seek tertiary qualifications he thought he should enrol for a commerce degree at the University of NSW. 

Despite this advice, Philip enrolled as a part-time student in the Faculty of Commerce at University of New South Wales gaining the highest pass in the course. 
This level of achievement was maintained throughout his degree leading inevitably to an honours year, 
graduating with First Class Honours and taking a University Medal.

After graduation Philip tutored at University of New South Wales, 
received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the USA heading to the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. 
He completed his MBA in 1963 finishing top of the class

During this period [2 years after MBS] he met Ray Ball with whom he wrote a seminal paper that defined the course of accounting research for the next forty years.

Rather than pursue a career in the United States, Philip returned to Australia as a Reader in Accounting at the University of Western Australia (July, 1968 – June, 1970).

In 1974, Philip moved to Sydney to help establish the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM). 

As inaugural Foundation Director he introduced world-class MBA and MPA (public administration) programs 
to develop the skills of Australia's future leaders.

 During his AGSM days Philip championed the development of Australian data in financial accounting research. 
He saw the need for Australian share price data to be systematically collected and made available to researchers 
spending a great deal of time personally collecting data and providing programming support for these databases. 

The existence of these databases as a high quality resource for researchers is often taken for granted today 
but it was the foresight scholars with foresight like Philip who saw the need and acted accordingly.


Ray Ball


Raymond John Ball is one of the most influential contemporary accounting scholars, 
having held professorial positions in Australia at UNSW and Queensland, 
and in the United States at Rochester and Chicago. 

With a first-class honours degree and the University Medal from UNSW, 
Ray moved to the University of Chicago where he earned an MBA and PhD.

In 1968 Ray Ball co-authored the seminal paper 
	‘An Empirical Evaluation of Accounting Income Numbers’ 
that revolutionised financial accounting research.

 Drawing on the developing financial economics literature and linking accounting information and share prices in a novel manner, 
the paper provided the foundation for modern capital markets-based research. 

As the inaugural recipient of the American Accounting Association’s Seminal Contributions to the Accounting Literature Award in 1986
it was observed that 
	‘no other paper … has played so important a role in the development of accounting research during the past thirty years’.
It remains the most highly cited accounting research paper.

Ray Ball has also had a major influence on accounting education in Australia, h
	aving been Professor of Accounting at the University of Queensland (1972-1976), 
	and foundation professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW) (1976-1986), 
where he was instrumental in the development of the first US-style PhD program in Accounting and Finance in Australia. 

During his time at Queensland and UNSW he was instrumental in developing rigorous empirical research in Australian capital markets, 
addressing issues such as the risk/return trade-off, dividend policy and taxation mechanisms.


Steve Jenkin, IT Systems and Design 
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 38, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

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2024-02-10  6:47 [TUHS] Role of Unix in Australian Accounting research: Ball & Brown, founding AGSM steve jenkin
2024-02-10 19:38 ` [TUHS] " Andrew Hume
2024-02-11 20:51 ` steve jenkin

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