Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Conference without a Room, Speaker without a Podium

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Conference without a Room, Speaker without a Podium

Article excerpt

The American Institute of CPAs held the its first online conference for two hours on June 19; the occasion was an auditing standards board panel discussion on fraud. The more than 80 attendees needed only a computer and a Compuserve account. Anyone who wanted to attend simply entered Compuserve's virtual convention center. Attendees then had two screens: the larger one on top continually scrolled whatever the speaker was "saying" (actually typing a message into his or her computer); the screen's left margin displayed the name of the speaker--much like the printed version of a play script. The smaller screen on the bottom allowed attendees to see whatever they were typing before sending it online to appear on everyone else's big screen.

Thomas Ray, director of AICPA audit and attest standards, moderated the conference. At its start he introduced the panelists: Edmund R. Noonan, ASB chairman; David L. Landsittel, chairman of the ASB fraud task force; Glenn J. Vice, a member of the ASB and fraud task force; and Jane M. Mancino, technical manager, audit and attest standards. Their discussion appeared on the screen; periodically Ray solicited questions: attendees could type them m, and Ray screened and presented them to the audience and the panel members. He also conducted polls; attendees could respond by checking boxes on screen and the results became available in a few moments. At the end he opened the floor for a casual discussion between attendees and panel members.

A good beginning

Noonan was pleased with the way' the conference went and said he would certainly do it again: "I think the AICPA should consider online conferences as a cost-effective way of communicating with members," he said. …

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