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Real-world lessons bring accounting to life
This alum proves that those who can do, can also teach.
James Flagg is a tenured academic with nearly 27 years of experience in training aspiring accountants and auditors at Texas A&M University. A PwC alumnus, Flagg uses his experience in the corporate world to bring the study of accounting, auditing, and corporate governance to life.
“Auditing is where my heart is,” says James Flagg. “I love teaching it.” In addition to educating future CPAs, Flagg has also published a long list of scholarly articles on subjects related to auditing, financial accounting, SEC reporting, fraud, and bankruptcy. The challenge of mastering an ever-evolving subject is a big part of what Flagg loves about his job. “Auditing is in a constant state of flux,” he says. “You have to keep up with the latest trends and developments, not only to better educate yourself, but also to pass that information along to your students.”
In addition to leading his own lectures and class discussions, Flagg also calls on his network of PwC colleagues to bring their real-world expertise to his classroom. “Students really get a lot out of it,” he says. “It’s one thing to have a professor stand up and tell you something. But if you have someone from the field echoing those ideas, they sink in a little bit more.”
More than two decades after leaving public auditing, Flagg still keeps his knowledge of the practice sharp. He reads relentlessly and maintains a strong foothold in the corporate world. He has chaired the audit committees of two public companies and served as a governor appointed member of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, the agency responsible for licensing Texas CPAs.
Flagg says that making the transition from business to academia requires hard work and willingness to adapt to a different way of life. He points out that the high productivity demands persist after becoming a tenured professor. “Contrary to popular belief, there really aren’t any days off from being a professor,” says Flagg. “The days you’re not in the classroom are quickly filled with either grading papers or conducting research.” But he finds it all worthwhile. “To have a student from a class years earlier come by and shake my hand and tell me ‘thank you’—that’s very rewarding.”