WHAT IS FAI?
The year 2011, marked the Financial Accounting Institute's (FAI)
30th anniversary as a leader in
preparing and teaching courses tailored to the utility industry. In its two
and a half decades, FAI has trained
more than 30,000 utility professionals representing more than 1,000 utilities and utility related firms.
FAI's success began with its identification of the utility industry's real need for effective training
programs in finance and accounting for non-financial professionals. Based on the reaction of the people
who have attended the 600 workshops conducted to date, though, what sets FAI apart from others in the
field is the dedication and innovation of one of its instructors, Dr. Joel Berk.
Early in his career, Joel discovered that finding excitement and humor in subjects that to others were
ineffably dull was his true calling. In short, he decided his true career lay in teaching accounting
His students and colleagues agreed and while teaching at Columbia University Dr. Berk was awarded the
prestigious William H. Newman Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation. As a Professor in the
Graduate School of Business at Columbia, Joel provided his students with their basic knowledge of
accounting and infused them with enthusiasm to the business world and none have forgotten the basic
formulae and tenets they learned in his version of Accounting 101.
In 1981, Dr. Berk helped found the Financial Accounting Institute. For two decades now, he's been
designing and teaching finance and accounting courses and workshops specific to the electric, gas and
telephone industries. His utility-oriented students have included lawyers, accountants, engineers,
managers, public relations, executives, public utility commissioners, regulators, investment analysts
and many others. More than 130 companies have invited him to custom-design programs and teach for
them at their facilities. More than 30,000 utility professionals have attended his two or three day
courses to gain or improve their understanding of utility finance.
Why have so many organizations found FAI's workshops so valuable they send more and more of their
financial and non-financial professionals? Based on feedback from attendees, the answer is Dr. Berk's
unusual ability to clearly explain complex concepts and his use of humor to enliven the lectures. As
a result, demand for his talents continues to exceed his availabilitylittle wonder, when workshop
participants evaluate their experience as "Best class I've ever taken," "best presentation I've
encountered," and "Joel Berk is one of the most knowledgeable and humorous instructors I've ever seen."
||Dr. Joel Berk
Accounting professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business for 16 years, Joel
now specializes in training for the utility industry. more >
||Dr. Robert Vigeland
For the last 20 years Bob has been a Professor and
was Chair of the Department of Accounting
Texas Christian University. more >
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -