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Accounting Professor Chuck Mulford
Accounting Professor Chuck Mulford

Spotlight On: Professor Chuck Mulford

Well-known in the business world as one of the leading experts on financial analysis and reporting, Professor Chuck Mulford is also a beloved core accounting professor, an MBA spelling bee moderator, and an essential part of the Scheller College MBA experience. After 34 years of teaching at Scheller College, Mulford is still passionate about his work. He has a unique ability to inspire MBA students to grasp the fundamentals of accounting and understand financial statements.

Although most MBA graduates do not continue on to careers in accounting, they remember Mulford’s core accounting class as one of their favorites, voting Mulford as “Core Professor of the Year” so many times that the existing teaching excellence award was named after him. Alumni share that Mulford had a way of making the content interesting to students on any career path, taking time to research extra articles to share with students to give them a broader perspective on the content’s applicability.

“My favorite part about teaching is seeing the moment a student understands something they didn’t before, seeing something just click. I’m always thrilled when students ask me questions and I’m able to answer with a good example,” he said.

Mulford is the founding director of the Georgia Tech Financial Analysis Lab which conducts unbiased research on issues of interest to a large segment of stock market participants such as financial analysts, hedge fund managers, money managers, and CPAs. The Lab publishes its findings to more than 1000 subscribers. The most recent report examined factors that affect the placement order of financial statements and was featured in CFO Magazine.

Mulford’s research in the lab is also the source of his proudest professional accomplishments. He was recently recognized by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) for his years of research on cash flow analysis, an area in which he has deep expertise and on which he focused since before there was much interest in cash flow. Since 1987, the FASB has required businesses to formally include a statement of cash flows in the financial statements, but provided little guidance on how to classify cash flows between operating, investing, and financing.

“This ambiguity led many companies to misrepresent the state of their cash flows, and so we started conducting research in the Lab and writing reports to bring attention to the situation, and the FASB welcomed the analysis,” said Mulford.

His research and guidance helped the FASB develop a new standard for reporting cash flows with very specific guidance on reporting, using many of the recommendations from the Financial Analysis Lab. In fall 2016, a representative from the FASB visited Scheller College to present Mulford with a signed and framed copy of the new standard, as a token of appreciation of his direct impact on policy. According to Mulford, this recognition is like winning the Super Bowl in accounting.

At annual Crawfish and Homecoming events, MBA alumni share stories about their incredible experience in Mulford’s classes, including his elective course in Financial Reporting and Analysis for Technology Firms. For alumni striving to keep up with the ever-changing world of business, Mulford suggested reading the Wall Street Journal every day.

“Aside from keeping up with the business world and current events, the Wall Street Journal also helps me pick up on trends and things that my grandkids are thinking about,” he said.

When asked if he has any personal updates he’d like to share with MBA alumni, Mulford said, “I have no plans to retire anytime soon and I look forward to teaching many more generations of Scheller MBAs.”


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