The Collegian
Saturday, April 13, 2024

Accouting professor named one of most influential in field

Joe Hoyle, associate professor of accounting in the University of Richmond's E. Claiborne Robins School of Business, was named to Accounting Today magazine's "Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting" list for 2009.

The list, which Accounting Today has been compiling for nearly 20 years, includes Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and the Chief Executive Officers of firms such as KPMG and Ernst & Young, as well as other professors and professionals who have affected the field.

The article noted Hoyle's Web site,, which provides review materials and practice exams to help people prepare for the CPA exam. According to the article, the Web site had over 4 million views during 2008, its first year in operation.

Hoyle, who has taught at Richmond since 1979, was drawn to accounting's puzzle-like nature, he said. "I think anyone that likes numbers and likes puzzles could do well in accounting," he said.

Hoyle graduated from Duke University in 1970, and is the author of "Advanced Accounting," the number-one selling advanced accounting textbook in the country. He attributed his writing skills to the three years he spent as assistant sports editor of The Chronicle, Duke's daily student newspaper.

"I learned how to write by being a journalist because you learned that clarity was so important," he said. "You know, after you're a journalist, writing a book's not all that hard."

Hoyle began teaching because colleges fascinated him, he said. "I remember even in high school thinking that colleges were the niftiest places in the world," he said. "You went to live away from your family and you had 24 hours of interesting things to do."

He also enjoyed the helter-skelter lifestyle that teaching afforded him, he said. "I didn't like a nine-to-five job," he said. "I still work an awfully hard schedule, but I work when I want to work.

"Last night at 10:30 I was working, but today at lunch I went to an antique store. I can trade that off."

In his years of teaching, Hoyle has learned that challenging students will yield the most interesting results, he said. "I go to class everyday with the idea of, 'Let's see if I can just go confuse them enough to see what they'll do,' and they're very receptive to that.

"I think students are probably smarter than they like to think."

A couple of years ago, during the annual Business School senior recognition dinner, Hoyle was named "The Scariest Professor in the B-School" and "The Teacher that Cares the Most."

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"I like those two awards," he said. "It's easy to be scary, but it's hard to be scary and have students understand that you really do care about what they learn."

Hoyle was pleased with the awards he has won over the course of his career but stressed that students were most important to him. "The best award you ever get is when a student comes up at the end of the semester and says 'I've learned a lot,'" he said. "Those are people who actually knew you."

"Some stranger picking you out for an award doesn't even know you...My goal is to teach my students today. I could have won the Nobel Peace Prize, and that doesn't do me any good as far teaching my students today."

Last year Hoyle appeared on Accounting Today's "Ones to Watch" list, compiled of people who had just missed the cutoff for the Top 100 list, said William Carlino, Editor-in-Chief of Accounting Today.

Mike Lembo, an audit associate for KPMG and a 2008 Richmond College alumnus who took Hoyle's intermediate financial accounting course, said Hoyle was a challenging but rewarding professor.

"He definitely makes you work for your grade," Lembo said.

Hoyle runs his classes by calling on students instead of letting them raise their hands, Lembo said. He usually calls on every student for an answer during each class period, he said.

"I feel like when you get an answer right in his class versus another class, you're pretty happy with yourself," Lembo said. "It's not like you raised your hand for the easy [questions] and shied away from the hard [questions]. You didn't have a choice."

Hoyle also helped his students to mature in more than just accounting, Lembo said. "We would have random assignments and one of them was to write about what our favorite was and why," he said. "He would stress that there was life beyond accounting."

Hoyle likes to think he helps his students learn accounting but also how to think, he said. "On the last day of class, I want my students to say, 'I never knew I could work so hard, I never knew I could learn so much, I never knew I could think so well, and it was actually fun,'" he said. "I try to get students to think about what they want and to realize that if they work for it they can probably get it."

Contact staff writer Guv Callahan at

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