William Wells, a senior lecturer in accounting at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, has won the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants (WSCPA) Special Award for 2012. This annual award recognizes an individual outside the accounting profession who has demonstrated significant support or promotion of CPAs and the profession.
Wells may not work in the profession. But he has certainly made a big impression on many who do.
“Through his inspiring and highly effective teaching, Bill has been a positive influence on many aspiring accounting students, convincing them of the value of a CPA,” says WSCPA board member Pete Miller, CPA, a principal with Clark Nuber PS. “He is a great ambassador for the profession.”
Has been for decades. After serving a distinguished 20-year career in the military—including stints as an intelligence officer, analyst and controller in the US Army and a financial analyst for NATO—Wells earned his master’s degree in professional accounting in the Foster School’s MPAcc Program in 1989. He joined the school’s faculty that same year.
Ever since, he’s been leading Foster undergraduates through a rigorous “Introduction to Financial Accounting.” He also teaches “Accounting for Problem Solving,” a course geared toward students in the UW Educational Opportunity Program, and previously taught “Introduction to Government and Not-For-Profit Accounting” (from 1993-2008).
Wells is a tough but highly accessible instructor. He’s known around PACCAR Hall as the “Pied Piper of Accounting (as the certificate in his office attests).
He’s been active in the development of young accountants outside of the classroom as well. From 2000 to 2005, Wells was faculty director of the Foster School’s Delta Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the national accounting student organization. Under his guidance, the Foster chapter earned four-consecutive Superior Chapter distinctions and grew from 30 to more than 200 members. In 2005, it was named “most improved” in the nation.
From 2005 to 2008, Wells served as Northwest regional director of Beta Alpha Psi. He was elected to the board of directors of the Washington Society of CPAs in 2008.
Wells won the 2010 Ernst & Young Inclusive Excellence Award, recognizing his extraordinary efforts to create a more diverse learning environment that helps students succeed in the modern global marketplace.
In 2006, he received the UW Distinguished Teaching Award, honoring the university’s top five educators.