The son of William Frederick and Caroline Barbara Kuhn Mautz was born on April 12, 1915, in Fort William, Ontario, Canada. His parents were U. S. citizens, and they returned to the United States before he was a year old. They made their home first in East Grand Forks, Minnesota and later in Grand Forks, North Dakota where he received his primary and secondary education in the local school system. He was graduated from Grand Forks Central High School in 1933. He received a bachelor's degree (1937) from the University of North Dakota and a master's (1938) and doctor's (1942) degree from the University of Illinois. In 1940 he was certified as a CPA (Illinois).
Following graduation, he joined Deloitte Haskins & Sells in Chicago as a staff accountant. After only about a year (1942-43) with the firm, he volunteered and served with the U. S. Naval Reserve during World War II (1943-45). He returned to civilian life and recommenced his work with Deloitte Haskins & Sells (1945-46). In 1946 he transferred to the accounting firm of Alexander Grant & Co., a smaller firm than Deloitte Haskins & Sells, to obtain broad experience before returning to education, which was his goal when he first entered public accounting. He returned to the University of Illinois in the fall of 1948, serving as assistant professor (1948-49), associate professor (1949-54), and professor from 1954 until 1972. During part of this time (1969-72) he held the Weldon Powell Professorship in Accountancy. During the academic year 1968-69, he taught at the University of Minnesota as the AICPA's first Distinguished Visiting Professor. In February 1972, he left the University of Illinois and became a partner in the accounting firm of Ernst & Whinney, helping to formulate the firm's views and serving as the firm's spokesman to the FASB and others. During late 1978 he reached the firm's mandatory retirement age and subsequently became the director of the Paton Center for Accounting Education and Research at the University of Michigan. He retired from the university in 1985.
As a long-time member of the AAA, AICPA, Illinois Society of CPAs, and Ohio Society of CPAs, he has served in a number of capacities and on a variety of committee assignments. He was president in 1965 of the AAA and a member of that organization's Executive Committee for a number of years (1958-61; 1963-66). He served as editor of The Accounting Review (1958-61), and as founding editor of Accounting Horizons (1985-August 1988). In the AICPA he served as a member of the Committee on Auditing Procedure (1963-65), Commission to Study the Common Body of Knowledge for CPAs (1963-66), Council (1965-67), and Board of Directors (1969-70). He was one of the original members of the Cost Accounting Standards Board (1971-77), and a member of the FASB's Financial Standards Advisory Council (1973-77). He was a member of the U. S. Department of Treasury Committee on Federal Consolidated Financial Statements (1976-77) and from 1966 through 1977 he served as a consultant to the United States General Accounting Office. As of January 1, 1981, he became the first accountant appointed to the Public Oversight Board which independently monitors the SEC practice section of the AICPA's division for CPA firms.
He received the Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation Accounting Award in 1971 and the General Accounting Office Public Service Award in 1976. He was the recipient of the AICPA-AAA's Notable Contributions to Accounting Literature Award in 1970 and he received the AICPA's Gold Medal Award in 1979. In 1984 he was awarded the Outstanding Accounting Educator Award of the AAA. He holds memberships in Beta Gamma Sigma, Beta Alpha Psi, Phi Kappa Phi, and Delta Sigma Pi.
He has written numerous articles for professional journals and he has authored a number of monograph-length research studies and books including The Philosophy of Auditing with Hussein A. Sharaf (1961), Financial Reporting by Diversified Companies (1968), Functional Accounting, Intermediate with C. A. Moyer (1950), An Accounting Technique for Reporting Financial Transactions (1951), Duties of Junior Accountants (1953), Fundamentals of Auditing (1954), A Statement of Basic Accounting Postulates and Principles with E. J. DeMaris, Philip E. Fess, C. A. Moyer, Kenneth W. Perry, Arthur R. Wyatt, and V. K. Zimmerman (1964), Corporate Audit Committees with F. L. Neumann (1970), Effect of Circumstances on the Application of Accounting Principles (1972), Corporate Audit Committees: Policies and Practices with F. L. Neumann (1977), Financial Disclosure in a Competitive Economy with W. G. May (1978), Internal Control in U. S. Corporations: The State of the Art with Walter G. Kell, Michael W. Maher, Alan G. Merten, Raymond R. Reilly, Dennis G. Severance, and Bernard J. White (1980) and Criteria for Management Control (1981).
He married Ruth S. Sundby on September 9, 1939; they have three children. In his leisure time he enjoys photography, tennis, sailing, hiking, camping, jogging, and reading.