The Legend of Katherine Schipper

From the moment that first FedEx package arrived, the legend of Katherine Schipper was born. Brilliant, poised, and surprisingly hilarious, her tiny frame packs a magnanimous presence. She is intimidatingly confident – comfortable in her own skin. She quotes US GAAP and IFRS rules chapter and verse.

A quick Google search reveals her standing as the only woman in the Accounting Hall of Fame (who knew there was one?), her stint on FASB, and her Wikipedia entry. In the click of a button, you can find a cacophony of awards, papers, nods, and general fuel for the legendary fire.

The whispers grew louder when we arrived in London: she was the woman who brought down Enron (which was never confirmed by her) and that she handed over a crystal ball position paper in 2004 on how mortgage-backed securities would cause a financial meltdown. She didn’t confirm that one either, but her buddy James Leisenring from the IASB did in his private lecture to us. She is humble and often deflects questions about her legend. Her face turned bright red and she quickly cursed Google when we called her out on her fame. She doesn’t go by “doctor” and in fact, you won’t see PhD written anywhere on anything she gave us. I can understand though, since I’d be ashamed to admit I went to Chicago too (Go Duke!).

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