W. Richard Sherman, LL.M., CPA

Professor Emeritus

Areas Taught: Accounting

Expertise: Taxation, Corporate Social Responsibillity, International Accounting, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

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Using Accounting to Assess Corporate Responsibility

"How can a company get the message out to its stakeholders that it's socially responsible and environmentally friendly?" It is a question accounting professor W. Richard Sherman raises, and one for which he is developing an answer. New methods of accounting, he says, can yield new metrics for assessing corporate social responsibility (CSR). Beyond the vehicles of advertising and public relations, he envisions a model for quantifying a company's CSR and required disclosure similar to the financial disclosures mandated for publicly traded companies.

"People — investors — really do care about whether a company is socially responsible. The idea of 'making money and making a difference' has great appeal, particularly if investors are not forced to suffer lower-than-average returns," he says.

A fellow of the Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics at Saint Joseph's, Sherman also teaches and writes on taxation issues, international accounting, and strategic management.

He received bachelor's and law (J.D.) degrees, both cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, and also received an M.B.A. from Temple University and a master's of law in taxation from Villanova University School of Law.

At Saint Joseph's, Sherman serves as site coordinator for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, overseeing students in Saint Joseph's Erivan K. Haub School of Business as they help elderly and low-to middle-income residents of the neighboring community prepare their tax returns each year. Sherman has been honored with the IRS's outstanding achievement award for his work with the SJU program, the largest university-based VITA site in the region.

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