William R. Snodgrass
2015 Hall of Fame Inductee
In 1955, William R. Snodgrass became Tennessee’s first elected Comptroller of the Treasury, nearly three decades before the Governmental Accounting Standards Board was established to set generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, for state and local governments. He was re-elected by each General Assembly until his retirement in 1998. His tenure stands out not only for its length, but also for the way in which it was served.
The past half-century has seen revolutionary reform in government financial management. Bill Snodgrass was on the front lines of this reform, providing leadership, practical ideas, and manpower to numerous improvement efforts.
He enjoyed telling the story of how his office implemented GAAP for all local governments, and began auditing them for adherence, long before others. Under his leadership, Tennessee was the first state to receive a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association.
Snodgrass credited the formation of the national and regional intergovernmental audit forums in the 1970s with making state and federal audits more efficient. He was instrumental to establishing these forums as the vital link they are between auditors working today at all levels of government.
Bill Snodgrass was an instrumental player in the formation of the GASB. He served as a member of the Financial Accounting Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and he and his staff participated in early discussions, and later the due process hearings, that led to the establishment of GASB Statement Number 34.
He received numerous awards in his lifetime, and in 1998, the National State Auditors Association established the William R. Snodgrass Distinguished Leadership Award in his honor. He was president of NASACT in 1979.
After his retirement in 1999, until his death in 2008, Snodgrass continued to serve as state comptroller emeritus, working part time from his office in the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower. The naming of Tennessee’s largest state office building after him was just one of many honors bestowed during his lifetime.
Years after his death, Bill Snodgrass’s legacy is still felt. He is true legend in the State of Tennessee… and around the nation.