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Accounting Contact

Department of Accounting
College of Business and Economics
University of Idaho
ALB 125
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3161
Phone: (208) 885-6453
Fax: (208) 885-6296
Amber Gray

Robert Bunting Speaking

Robert Bunting

What did the College of Business and Economics provide to you to be successful?
RB: It certainly provided an excellent education – that’s sort of the “goes without saying” part of it. I think the things I mostly got out of the University was the result of it being a small university, and the fact that I came from a small town. In any small environment, you have to be much more aware of how you behave and how you treat other people because you’re going to see them again and again. When you’re in a larger environment, you’re not consciously aware of that and you might have a completely different persona. My time growing up in Idaho and my time at the University taught me that everyone you deal with, you’re going to meet again. So it became a recognition of the importance of integrity and how you deal with people. I really attribute that to my experience at the University of Idaho because I was growing up and on my own and having to figure things out.  I’m not sure I would have figured it out if I were in a very large institution. This was a small place and you realized you were part of a pretty small social network. How you dealt with people determined what your reputation was and how people thought of you. And I’m a CPA; our reputation is critical to our ability to make a living. It was a very good thing to learn.

What are your thoughts about being inducted into the Alumni Association Hall of Fame?
RB: I have to tell you that I keep score a lot differently than whether I get an award or not, but I find myself at a stage in life where I’m getting recognition. It’s a little bit embarrassing, but I am grateful for it. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with why I do what I do. But it is really great. It’s wonderful to be included in a club with other people who have achieved so much. But, if I took every award I ever received and put them away, I could still take great pleasure in just having the kind of professional live I’ve been able to lead. That’s what I go to work every day to do. I get a lot of pleasure out of what I do. Maybe that’s why you get recognition – not because you’re striving for recognition, but because you like what you do.

You really have the opportunity to see the accountant profession from an international level.
RB: What I’m doing is very involved with the attempt to regulate the global economy. The area I’m in is international standards for financial reporting, auditing, accounting ethics and the standards for educating accountants around the world. I come at virtually everything related to finance or accounting from an international or global perspective.

Not everyone is lucky enough to identify exactly what it is they want to do. How did that come about for you?
RB: I don’t know where it came from. It may have come from my mother – it may have been genetic. My father is a very self-effacing man and my mother was very driven. I can remember from a fairly young age setting out expectations that my father thought were a little exaggerated. I always had a gene somewhere that said I wanted to do a little bit more than people expected. I always like surprising people. The first time I made the dean’s list here at the University, I didn’t tell my father. I let him read it in the local paper. I thought that would be more of a surprise than if I told him. People came up to him on the street and said “congratulations.” He said, “For what?” That gave me a lot of pleasure.