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Hans Christian Riis establishes the Business and Economics Study Club. Self-taught, but nonetheless considered Denmark’s first-ever scholar in accounting, Hans Christian Riis is appointed as Handelshøjskolen’s first reader in 1923. Photo: The Royal Library

Hans Christian Riis

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In 1907, Hans Christian Riis (1878-1938) started teaching English and German commercial correspondence and shortly after, bookkeeping at the Copenhagen School of Commerce and Niels Brock’s business college. In 1918, Hans Christian Riis was employed by the newly-established Handelshøjskole.

In 1920, Hans Christian Riis established the first diploma programme in accounting and later he was appointed as the first reader of Handelshøjskolen. He established accounting as a principal course in all programmes offered by Handelshøjskolen and contributed to academic development with the establishment of Handelsvidenskabelig Studieklub, the publisher of Handelshøjskolen’s first journal, which was called Meddelelser fra Handelsvidenskabelig Studieklub.

As the first accounting theorist in Denmark, he had a significant influence on the development of this discipline in the next 20 years. A trained clerk, he advanced quickly to being a foreign language secretary while he continued his language studies.