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Charles Waldo Haskins


Photo of Charles Haskins

Charles Waldo Haskins was born in 1852 into a renowned American family (his uncle was Ralph Waldo Emerson). In 1886, he set up his own accounting business in New York City, and went on to found Haskins & Sells, a Deloitte & Touche predecessor, with his partner, Elijah Watt Sells.

Haskins was a strong advocate of accounting standards and lectured widely on accounting history and methods. He described the public accountant as "the consulting physician of finance and commerce." According to Haskins, the public accountant "understands the anatomy and physiology of business and the rules of health of corporations, partnerships, and individual enterprises. He diagnoses abnormal conditions and suggests approved remedies. His study and interest is the soundness of the world of affairs."

Haskins was involved in passing legislation to regulate the public accounting profession in New York City and served as president of the New York State Society of CPAs. He played a major role in the 1900 founding of the School of Commerce, Accounts, and Finance of New York University, the first university accounting program in America. Haskins was the first dean of the school, a post he held until his death in 1903.

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