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When the storied Journal of Accounting Research (JAR) Conference takes place next year in Chicago, it will do so under a new name.

Thanks to generous gifts from a group of Chicago Booth alumni, faculty, and former colleagues of Ray Ball, MBA ’68, PhD ’72, the Sidney Davidson Distinguished Service Professor of Accounting Emeritus, the conference will be renamed the Ray Ball Journal of Accounting Research Conference, in honor of Professor Ball’s extraordinary career.

“I’m still struggling to comprehend the enormity of it,” Professor Ball says of the honor. “My colleague Philip Brown and I presented a paper at the [second-ever JAR] Conference in 1967, and my career since then has been dominated by empirical work. So the conference has a special historical meaning for me … It attracts the best minds from around the world addressing and debating a wide range of accounting topics, in true Chicago style, and it is an immense honor to have my name attached to that.”

The Journal of Accounting Research Conference is organized by the Chookaszian Accounting Research Center at Booth and has been held in Chicago since 1966. The Journal of Accounting Research, from which the conference gets its name, stands as the oldest private accounting research journal in the field and consistently ranks as one of the top accounting research journals in the world.

Foundational Research

Ray Ball’s renown in the accounting field began with the 1968 publication of “An Empirical Evaluation of Accounting Income Numbers,” a paper Ball coauthored with Philip Brown while Ball was earning his PhD at Booth. The paper had a seismic impact on the field and continues to influence how business scholars and practitioners think about accounting to this day.

Christian Leuz, the Charles F. Pohl Distinguished Service Professor of Accounting and Finance and one of the gift’s donors, explains Ball’s tremendous influence: “Ray Ball’s 1968 publication in JAR is one of the most important capital markets studies in accounting, and it fundamentally altered the profession’s worldview. This work has not only stood the test of time, but also has influenced generations of researchers, regulators, and practitioners. We are very proud that the conference will bear his name going forward.”

The paper’s impact has indeed echoed throughout the decades. In 1986, it received the inaugural Seminal Contributions to Accounting Literature Award, given out by the American Accounting Association, and it was awarded the Wharton-Jacobs Levy Prize for Quantitative Financial Innovation in 2019.

A Pioneering Career

Following his 1968 breakthrough work, Ball continued as a pioneer in the accounting field, founding the Australian Journal of Management (currently in its 48th year) in 1976, and becoming the second-youngest person ever appointed to a full professorship in Australia, at the University of Queensland when he was 26. Between 1972 and 1985, Ball oversaw the creation of the first financial research databases outside of the United States.

Ball continued publishing research that became foundational in the field of accounting, including “Anomalies in Relationships between Securities’ Yields and Yield Surrogates,” (Journal of Financial Economics, 1978) and “The Effect of International Institutional Factors on Properties of Accounting Earnings” (Journal of Accounting and Economics, 2000), which he coauthored with S.P. Kothari and Ashok Robin. His research continues to influence accounting scholars, students, and professionals alike.

Rejoining Booth

Ball rejoined the Chicago Booth faculty in 2000, where he was a leader among the accounting faculty for 23 years.

“The most meaningful part of my time at Booth was when I rejoined the faculty,” Ball says. “It was incredibly rewarding to participate in this legendary accounting group as it regained its worldwide preeminence.”

Professor Leuz similarly credits Professor Ball for playing a major role in elevating the reputation of the accounting group. “Since joining [Booth’s faculty], Ray has been instrumental in building the group, as well as the PhD program, to its current strength and distinction,” Leuz says. “To me personally, but also many others, Ray has been a role model, mentor, and last but not least, a dear friend.”

The conference renaming is a fitting accolade for Professor Ball according to Dennis Chookaszian, ’68, adjunct professor of strategic management and former CEO of CNA Insurance Companies, who helped spearhead the effort to honor him. Chookaszian hopes the gift will serve as a tribute to Ball’s accomplishments in the accounting field while also bolstering future research at Booth.

“We wanted to honor the contributions Ray made and continue to contribute to the development of accounting, accounting standards, and financial accounting infrastructure,” says Chookaszian. “Ray Ball played an important role in accounting not only at Booth but also in the development of accounting concepts over a long period of time. We also hope our tribute will keep Booth at the forefront of developing accounting knowledge.”

The inaugural Ray Ball Journal of Accounting Research Conference will take place May 2 and 3, 2025 in Chicago.

View recordings of previous JAR Conferences.