News from the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy

Faculty Spotlight: Kelly Walker

Kelly Walker (right) and co-author Brett Bueltel received the ATA Journal of Legal Tax Research Outstanding Paper Award.

One might say Kelly Walker is on his third career, and it’s shaping up to be his favorite. Walker is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Adkerson School of Accountancy, primarily focused on taxation and tax law.

After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, he went to work for the U.S. Department of Defense. He served as an auditor in the Defense Contract Audit Agency, working to steward taxpayer dollars while ensuring the needs of the military were met. Four years later, Walker enrolled in law school at the University of Alabama; after acquiring his JD, he went on to earn an LLM in taxation at the University of Florida. He then clerked in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. With that experience, he joined the Gulfport, MS, office of the Balch & Bingham law firm.

Some six years later, Walker began to think about teaching. Finding the idea had strong appeal, he completed a PhD bridge program at the University of Florida. By August 2017, he was on board at ASAC.

Today, he teaches Research in Tax Practice and Procedures, Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders, Income Tax II and Principles of Financial Accounting. Walker, who holds the Don and Peggy Whitmire Fellowship, also serves as Coordinator for the School’s Master of Taxation and Master of Public Accountancy programs.

A few months ago, his research garnered him the 2019 ATA Journal of Legal Tax Research Outstanding Paper Award for a 2018 paper dealing with taxation of online sales. It is entitled “A Legal Analysis of State Tax Policy for Online Sales: The Recipe from Direct Marketing.”

Walker and his wife, a teacher, have two young sons. In his off time, he is usually with them – at soccer practice or swimming or learning golf.

Kelly Walker has not left his first two careers entirely behind. He is a CPA in Mississippi and a member of the bars of Alabama and Mississippi, and he maintains his affiliation with Balch & Bingham. But he seems to have found a home in academia and the Adkerson School of Accountancy.

“I like everything about it,” he states. “I like interacting with the students and explaining things they haven’t learned before. I like the academic research side. I like my colleagues. It’s really collegial, a great place to work.

“It’s probably the best job I’ve ever had.”