November 28, 2017
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The Department of Accounting’s The Department of Accounting’s Accounting Circle recently strengthened its ties to the business community with the addition of two new members to its Executive Committee: James D. Watson, CPA, CIA, and Michael D. Colgan, CAE—two noteable business leaders in the region.

Launched in 2009 to provide the department with a strong link between academe and industry, the Accounting Circle includes distinguished individuals —accounting firm, corporate, and community leaders, alumni, and other friends—who believe in the accounting profession and education. Members, including both Fox and non-Fox alumni, boost the value of a Fox Accounting education by supporting students and faculty as volunteer guest speakers in the classroom, participants in departmental programs and events, scholarship sponsors, and more.

James Watson has more than 17 years of experience as an accounting professional since he graduated from the Fox School in 2000 with a major in Finance and Accounting. He started his career as a senior investment accountant for PFPC and has been working with CliftonLarsonAllen LLP for the last 14 years, currently serving as the managing principal of the Philadelphia region.

On why he became a member of the Executive Committee, James shares, “The Fox School gave me a solid foundation that I was able to leverage into a successful career. I joined the Executive Committee because I felt it was a great opportunity for me to give back to the Fox School and to help the school further its mission of transforming lives through knowledge creation and sharing.”

Michael Colgan joins the Executive Committee with nearly 30 years of experience as an accounting and CPA advocate with the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA). Currently serving as CEO and executive director of the PICPA, Michael became a member for “the opportunity to interact with thought leaders throughout the profession in Pennsylvania and have an impact on accounting curriculum.”

“The Department of Accounting is proud to welcome two impressive new members to the select group of professionals who make up the Executive Committee of the Accounting Circle,” says Eric Press, PhD, chairman of the Department of Accounting. “As James and Michael have decades of professional experience in the accounting industry, I have no doubt our students and faculty will benefit from the industry insight they will offer as members.”

Learn more below about James Watson and Michael Colgan and their reasons for getting involved with the Executive Committee in the Accounting Circle in the Q&A profiles below.

At press time, two additional members joined the Executive Committee; stay tuned for the Spring 2017 edition of Footnotes from Fox to meet the two noteworthy professionals.


WatsonJames D. Watson, CPA, CIA
Managing Principal, Philadelphia Office
CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Are you a Fox graduate? If so, what was your major and what year did you graduate?
I graduated from Fox in 2002; my major was in Finance and Accounting.

What is your current connection to the Fox School? How do you maintain and foster that connection?
I have just recently re-connected with Temple and the Fox School as well as the MAcc program. I maintain that connection through Temple U Connect, on-campus recruiting opportunities, networking with Sheri Risler and Jim Tutelman, and with my new role on the Executive Committee of the Accounting Circle.

Why did you decide to join the Department of Accounting’s Accounting Circle and become a member of its Executive Committee? What do you hope to get out of your membership and achieve?
The Fox School gave me a solid foundation that I was able to leverage into a successful career. I joined the Executive Committee because I felt it was a great opportunity for me to give back to the Fox School and to help the school further its mission of transforming lives through knowledge creation and sharing.

Why is it important for business leaders like yourself to support excellence in accounting education?
It is important to ensure that future generations of leaders will have the necessary capabilities and acumen needed to steer businesses through evolving innovations in technology and economic ecosystems.

The Accounting Circle provides the Fox Department of Accounting with a direct link to the accounting business community. Do you feel this is important? How does this benefit the next generation of accounting professionals?
Yes, this is critical. Keeping a pulse on the current and impending issues, challenges, and needs that the accounting business community is dealing with allows the school and faculty to develop a program that provides relevant and valuable learning opportunities for accounting professionals.


Michael D. Colgan, CAE
CEO & Executive Director
Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs

Are you a Fox graduate? If so, what was your major and what year did you graduate?
No (Drexel University)

What is your current connection to the Fox School? How do you maintain and foster that connection?
As CEO of the PICPA, I am responsible for strategic direction of PICPA, which includes a robust careers in accounting program that establishes relationships with all colleges and universities in Pennsylvania that offer accounting programs. Each year I present an abbreviated version of the annual presentation I share with CPAs across Pennsylvania to Fox MAcc students in the Colloquium on Current Issues in Accounting Practice course.

Why did you decide to join the Department of Accounting’s Accounting Circle and become a member of its Executive Committee?
The opportunity to interact with thought leaders throughout the profession in Pennsylvania and have an impact of accounting curriculum. 

What do you hope to get out of your membership and achieve?
I hope to see the curriculum in accounting programs continue to expand to include skills necessary to successfully integrate into the changing accounting profession.

Why is it important for business leaders like yourself to support excellence in accounting education?
The future of the accounting profession depends on the entry of high quality graduates.

The Accounting Circle provides the Fox Department of Accounting with a direct link to the accounting business community. Do you feel this is important? How does this benefit the next generation of accounting professionals?
Extremely important if you are going to provide your students with the best tools to help them integrate with the profession upon graduation. It benefits the next generation of accounting professionals by providing opportunities for internships and networking.