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James Hill, Jr.

Accountant James Hill, Jr. was born in Baltimore on August 20, 1941, to Joyce and James Hill, Sr. Hill graduated from Central State University with a B.S. in accounting in 1964, and received his M.B.A. in personnel administration and accounting in 1967 from the University of Chicago. He is CPA-licensed in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

In 1964, Hill began his career as a cost accountant for Union Carbide in New York, where he stayed for one year. After receiving his M.B.A., he began working as a Chicago staff auditor for Alexander Grant & Company. Between 1968 and 1970, Hill worked as the deputy director of the Chicago Economic Development Corporation. In February 1972, he founded his own accounting firm. In 1975 he took on a partner to become Hill, Taylor, Certified Public Accountants where he presides today as chairman and CEO.

Hill has received numerous awards and honors for both his professional and community work. His professional affiliations include the American Institute of CPAs, the Illinois CPA Society, the National Black Association of Accountants and the National Black MBA Association. He is a board member of various community and nonprofit organizations, including the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Better Government Association, Citizen Information Service, the Chicago Commons Association, the Economic Club of Chicago, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and the Chicago Economic Advisory Committee. He is also a council member to the graduate business schools at both the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois.

Hill married Sheree in 1995. He is father to two adult sons, James III and Brian.

Accession Number

A2003.007

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/15/2003

Last Name

Hill

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Dunbar High School

Central State University

University of Chicago

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

HIL03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

Begin Today To Mold The You of Tomorrow.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/20/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Vegetables

Short Description

Business chief executive James Hill, Jr. (1941 - ) owned the accounting firm, Hill, Taylor, Certified Public Accountants.

Employment

Union Carbide Corporation

Alexander Grant & Company

Chicago Economic Development Corporation

Hill, Taylor Certified Public Accountants

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Hill's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Hill lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Hill describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Hill talks about his father, James Hill, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Hill describes his mother, Joyce Lee Hill

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Hill talks about how his parents met and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Hill describes the sights, sounds, and smells of Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Hill describes his interest in sports as a boy

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Hill talks about his elementary school experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Hill remembers attending Dunbar High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Hill recalls his high school activities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Hill talks about his post-high school plans

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Hill talks about deciding to attend Central State University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Hill describes attending Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Hill describes his professors and the president of Central State University

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Hill talks about pledging the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity at Central State University

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Hill talks about majoring in accounting at Central State University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Hill describes the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Hill remembers his first accounting job at Union Carbide in Niagara Falls, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Hill describes Niagara Falls, New York in 1964

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Hill talks about getting his MBA from the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Hill talks about his reasons for taking a job at a CPA firm in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Hill talks about his divorce and children

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Hill remembers working for Graham Thornton and the Chicago Economic Development Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Hill recalls briefly entering the car wash business in 1970

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Hill describes starting his own accounting firm in 1972

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Hill describes his accounting firm's specialty areas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Hill describes the highlights of his accounting career

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Hill talks about his accounting work with nonprofits

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Hill gives advice to young people who are interested in accounting

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - James Hill shares his view on the Arthur Andersen scandal

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - James Hill describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - James Hill talks about his volunteer activities

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Hill describes the technological changes in accounting since the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Hill talks about ethics in accounting

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Hill reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Hill talks about his father's pride in his success

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Hill describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Hill talks about the future of his accounting firm

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Hill talks about the key to business success

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Hill reflects upon his skills

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Hill describes how small nonprofits do not understand accounting

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James Hill talks about his business partner, Kenneth Yu

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - James Hill describes ABLE, Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Hill narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
James Hill remembers working for Graham Thornton and the Chicago Economic Development Corporation
James Hill describes the highlights of his accounting career
Transcript
So who did you get hired by after you got your certification?$$After I got--I wasn't certified. What happened after I got my MBA, I got accepted to Graham Thornton. I had done an internship with them, they were called Alexander Graham at the time and they hired me as an intern. I was the first black to work for them also in the history of their company. And so I worked for them and then after I got--after I finished school, I went to work for them full time. So that's how I gained my experience. I still have an excellent relationship with them even today as we speak.$$Now this takes us--where are we now in terms of time?$$We're in 1967, that's when I graduated and that's when I started to work for them. So I worked for them for a couple of years and then I got an opportunity I couldn't refuse. I went to work for Chicago Economic Development Corporation and they made me a job offer I couldn't refuse because at the time they were going to make me the number two person, I was very young then. I was like twenty five/twenty six. They had about twenty five people that I was going to be in charge of and they were a nonprofit organization so they were totally out of accounting. I still had not gotten my CPA [Certified Public Accountant] at that point in time but I had the experience now. I could take the exam but you still had to have the experience in those days. So I had the experience but once you had a Master's degree that gave you years of experience automatically. In the state of Illinois, I think you only needed one year's experience or that Master equivalent so I had that. So I was able to take it or it might have been two years because I had the extra year. But anyway I went to work for Union Carbide-I mean, I'm sorry, I went to work for Chicago Economic Development Corporation. I was there number two man there and so I stayed there until 1970. The reason why I left because the person that was my boss whose name was Garland Guice who is deceased now. He was a young man, he was only about five/six years older than me so I had nowhere to go. I mean being the number two man is fine if you are older, if that happened today and I was the number two man, I probably would stay on longer. But when you're twenty five/twenty six years old and you're the number two man, you don't have no place to go so if you've got ambition then you want to do something else. But by then I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to go back into a corporation, so.$What are the--looking back on this, what are--I don't know much about accounting but what are the highlights of a career as an accountant? Are there some memorable--(simultaneous) (unclear)?$$I think some of the highlights of being able to be a trailblazer. We've been a trailblazer for the state, we were the first minority firm to do state auditing and that has open the door for other minority firms to do state auditing. We were the first minority firm to do any work for corporations here in this state, that's opened the door for other minority firms to do it. I was the first black to work for Union Carbide as a cost accountant or as an accountant, I'm sure they've got other blacks now in their accounting departments worldwide. I was the first to work for Graham Thornton, again that's open the door for other blacks to work there as accountants. So these have been some highlights in my career that I think, that's been good. I'm also very--I've been very involved in the profession. I was on the state board of directors of the Illinois CPA Society. I served on that board for three years. I was also on the state board of accountancy, I was appointed by Governor [James R.] Thompson on the state board of accountancy. I served five years on that, I believe. I've been on committees with the American Institute of CPAs, so I've been on two or three committees with them. So I've been very involved there. I headed the task force for the State of Illinois to deal with whether or not we should do quality review and quality review means that we get audited. So we did a study on that to determine whether or not the State of Illinois wanted to have quality review which they did do--a peer review we call it. So those are some of the highlights that we've had and also the fact that we've maintained a very good reputation over the years. People know us, people know our firm, they know what we do. If you talk to anybody about accounting, not just being a minority CPA, we're noted now as being a good CPA firm. You know, years ago you try to sell it based on minority but we don't try and sell it on that now. We try to sell it on our experience and what we do and what we do best and that's how we do. We can compete favorably with anybody our size and our size standards on what we do. So that's how, what we look at.