The son of Silas S. and Mary Wertz Blough was born on November 11, 1895, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. After residence in Pennsylvania and Illinois the family moved to North Manchester, Indiana in 1911, where he attended Manchester Academy and Manchester College from which he graduated in 1917. While in the Academy he was active in baseball and basketball. In his senior year he lost his right arm in a railroad crossing accident while on a basketball trip. Accordingly, in his college years he turned to tennis and ultimately made the College team.
In 1922, the same year he was certified as a CPA (Wisconsin), he received a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin. An honorary Doctor of Laws degree was bestowed upon him by Manchester College (1944) and an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree by Bridgewater College (1972).
He taught commercial subjects at Bridgewater College (1917-18), was head of the commercial department of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin High School (1918-20), and was an instructor in accounting at the University of Wisconsin (1920-22).
He was employed in the Income Tax (1922-24) and Public Utility (1924-27) divisions of the Wisconsin Tax Commission, then became Executive Secretary of the Wisconsin State Board of Public Affairs (as such he was both Budget Director and State Auditor) until 1929. He resigned his position with the state of Wisconsin to become Professor and Head of the Accounting Department at the University of North Dakota (1929-33). During the 1932-33 school year he took a leave of absence to do additional graduate work at Harvard University. In 1933 he resigned from North Dakota to become Professor and Head of the Social Science Department at Armour Institute of Technology from which he resigned in 1934 to join the staff of the newly created Securities and Exchange Commission.
From 1934 to 1938 he served on the staff of the SEC as a financial analyst (1934- 35), as assistant director in the Registration Division (1935), and in December 1935, he was selected as the first Chief Accountant of the Commission.
In 1938 he joined the firm of Arthur Andersen & Co. as a manager and was made a partner in 1940, a position he held until 1942, when he resigned to work for the War Production Board. During World War II he served as chief of the Contract Review Branch (1942-44), Deputy Director of the Facilities Bureau (1943), and Director of the Procurement Policy Division (1943-44) of the War Production Board. From 1942 to 1945 he also served as coordinating member of all of the Price Adjustment Boards and during 1944-45 as a member of the Contract Termination Board. In 1944 he became the first full- time Director of Research of the AICPA (with time to serve on the Price Adjustment Board, and Contract Termination Board until the end of the war), the position he held until retirement in 1961. While at the A[CPA, he served as Adjunct Professor of Accounting at Columbia University (1947-61).
He was active in professional organizations, serving as vice president (1939) and president (1944) of the AAA, chairman of the War Manpower Committee (1941-42), a member of the Committee on Accounting Procedure (1938-42), and a member of the APB (1959-64) of the AICPA. From 1928 until leaving the state in 1929 he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Accountancy.
He was elected an honorary member of Beta Alpha Psi and Beta Gamma Sigma at the University of North Dakota in 1930. In 1953 he received the AICPA's Gold Medal Award and in 1955 he received the Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation Accounting Award. A Chair of Accounting was established in his name at the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce in 1969.
Following his retirement from the AICPA, he served as consultant to Arthur Young & Co. (1961-63), Educational Director of the International Accountants Society (1964-71), a professor or Distinguished Visiting Professor at five state universities, and he served as an expert witness in many court cases. He was a lifetime trustee of Bridgewater College.
He wrote many articles for professional journals and for the period 1947-63 had a column each month in The Journal of Accountancy dealing with accounting and auditing matters. He authored Practical Applications of Accounting Standards (1957).
He was married to Lillie Katherine Flory on August 17, 1922; they had one child. He died March 9, 1981 at the age of 85.