Professor Reed Smith: A semester in Rome


It’s said: Mathematics is a universal language, used to transcend boundaries. The same may be true for accounting, the language of business.

While accounting practices can differ from country to country (and company to company), the basic principles remain the same.

J. Reed Smith, professor of accounting and faculty chair of the Graduate Accounting Programs, spent the spring semester on sabbatical. Rather than teaching here in Indianapolis, he taught an international accounting class at LUISS (The University of Italy for the Social Sciences) as a Fulbright – LUISS Research Lecturer.

“A sabbatical does a couple things,” said Smith as he worked in his office, preparing for the upcoming semester. “It energizes you and gives you new ideas. I would like to do a study exchange, in which Italian students come over here and take classes, and I take a group of Americans over here. We could study a different type of financial reporting, called integrated reporting, that we don’t typically look at in the U.S. It’s a much more holistic approach to financial statements.”

Smith says the experience in Rome gives him a deeper understanding and better insight into the educational system and the business climate in Italy – which translates to his teaching at home.

“This experience impacts current students because I now have a broader perspective of the role of accounting in other economies. I presented at and attended research seminars in Rome. I learned how the educational system there differs from ours in the U.S. and, in particular, at Kelley. I learned about some cutting-edge business and accounting principles they use that are different from ours,” said Smith.