The son of Elmer Joseph and Marian Briggs Miller was born on August 11, 1914, in De Witt, Iowa. He graduated from that small town high school, along with 24 classmates, at the age of 17. He received a bachelor's degree (1936) and a master's degree (1937) from the University of Iowa and a doctor's degree from the University of Minnesota (1944). He was certified as a CPA in 1945 (Iowa). He received the AICPA's Elijah Watt Sells Gold Medal for the highest score on the May 1945 CPA examination.
For one year (1937-38) he was an instructor of accounting at Samson College in Indianola, Iowa. He was associated with the University of Minnesota (1938-1946) first as an instructor (1938) and later as an assistant professor (1944). He joined the University of Michigan in 1946 where he served for 15 years (1946-61)--associate professor (1946) and professor (1949). Later he joined Michigan State University as a professor of accounting and finance (1961-70). He held visiting professorships for a portion of academic years at such schools as University of Iowa (1945), Stanford University (1960, 1962, 1965), University of Hawaii (1964), and Georgia State University (1970).
After more than 30 years of teaching, he changed from education to full time accounting practice in 1970 when he became a partner of Arthur Andersen & Co. He remained with the firm until reaching its mandatory retirement age, at which time he returned to academia (1978) as the first director of the J. M. Tull School of Accounting at the University of Georgia. He retired from the University of Georgia in 1983.
Beginning with the fourth editions, he joined Hall of Fame member Harry A. Finney as co-author of the well-known Finney and Miller three-volume series of Principles of Accounting--introductory, intermediate, and advanced textbooks during the period 1951-65. He edited and contributed to five editions of a pioneering C.P.A. Review Manual which was first published in 1952. George C. Mead became a joint author beginning with the 5th edition (1979). Miller's published works also include Principles of Financial Accounting: A Conceptual Approach with Harry A. Finney (1968). He has also published extensively in academic and professional journals.
He has been active in professional organizations serving as vice president (1957) and president (1965-66) of the AAA. From 1945 to 1948 he was book review editor of The Accounting Review. In 1946 he was appointed to chair the AAA's Committee on the Revision of the Statement of Accounting Principles. The revision was published in 1948 under the title "Accounting Concepts and Standards Underlying Corporate Financial Statements: 1948 Revision." He was also a member of the Committee on Professorial Development (1972-74), Committee to Prepare a Statement of Long-Range Objectives for the AAA (1973-76), and Committee on the Roles of Sectional and Regional Groups (1976- 78). He chaired the AAA's Committee on Auditing Education and the Committee on Courses and Curricula--Professional Degree Education in Accounting.
He was a member of the AICPA's Council (1966-69), Board of Directors (1967-70), and chairman of its Board on Standards for Programs and Schools of Professional Accounting (1974-77). He co-chaired the Joint AAA/AICPA Committee to Establish an Accreditation Body (1976-78). Other AICPA committee appointments included membership on the Awards Committee (1949-51), the Uniform CPA Examination Advisory Committee (1951-53), and the Education Executive Committee (1972-75). He was a member of the AICPA's Committee on Accounting Procedure (1956-59), Terminology Committee (1956-58), and Accounting Principles Board (1959-63).
He co-chaired the Accountants' Graduate Conference Committee of the Michigan Association of CPAs for ten years (1948-58) and he served as a member of the Michigan Association's Education Committee (1956) and Board of Directors (1968-70). He also served as president of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy (1981).
He has been a member (1942) and a supporter of Beta Alpha Psi for almost a half of a century. He has served as the fraternity's secretary-treasurer (1959-61) and president (1961-62). He also holds membership in Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi.
Among his many awards are the Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation Accounting Award (1970), AAA's Outstanding Accounting Educator Award (1977), Beta Alpha Psi's Accountant of the Year Award (1978), and the AICPA's Gold Medal Award (1981). He was the AAA's Distinguished International Lecturer in Accounting in 1981. In 1982 he received the Doctorem Honoris Causa Degree from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and in 1983 he received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from DePaul University. A Chair in Financial Accounting was established in his name at the University of Georgia's J. M. Tull School of Accounting in 1988.
He married Lenore Snitkey on July 1, 1938; they have one child. In his leisure time, he enjoys playing the organ, sailing, and attending auto races, particularly the Indianapolis 500.