"...Our blood continues to run orange"
Accounting & Information Management - Alumni
The pursuit of accounting took Bill Harrison from Kingsport, Tennessee, to Harvard Business School and back again. Harrison grew up as the son of an accountant in Kingsport and his father’s business was a family affair.
“My dad had a small CPA firm,” Harrison says. “My mom worked for him, and I did bookkeeping and small tax jobs for him when I was in high school and college.”
Harrison spent the first two years of his bachelor’s degree in accounting at King College in Bristol. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1978 and went on to Harvard for his MBA.
Harrison stayed in Boston for the early portion of his career but his Southern blood soon drew him back to Tennessee. After earning his CPA with Touche Rosse, Harrison moved to Memphis to join SSM Partners, a private equity and family business advisory group. In 2009 he became chief financial officer of E. Ritter & Company in Joneseboro, Arkansas.
Ritter is a fifth generation, family-owned company that operates in the agriculture and telecommunications industries. Harrison’s role includes strategic planning with business unit managers, managing the balance sheets of the parent company and subsidiaries, and reporting the progress of the business to the company’s board and shareholders.
In 2016, Harrison was named the Arkansas Business Large Company CFO of the Year.
Harrison and his wife, Vikki, have two grown sons who live in New York and Philadelphia. The couple met at UT, and Vickie followed Bill to Boston where they began their family.
“While our blood continues to run orange, we also support the Arkansas State Red Wolves, a hometown team that has made being a local fan a really fun endeavor,” Harrison says.
He also serves on the board of the Royal Furniture Company in Memphis, a growing residential furniture dealer with stores in Memphis, Nashville and Birmingham. The Harrisons love to travel, collect bourbon and wine, and visit their kids and granddaughter.
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