Magazine article Strategic Finance

Taking a Stand

Magazine article Strategic Finance

Taking a Stand

Article excerpt

If you are comfortable when floating with the tide, what about when it's necessary to swim against it? Do you rise to the occasion and challenge the status quo? I had a mentor at work who encouraged me to speak up, emphasizing that the failure to challenge or correct a misrepresentation would only undermine my credibility. He was a supportive person to work for, as he expected that everyone should state and defend what they believed was in the best interests of the enterprise. Not only that, but he gave you license to do so even when you disagreed with him in a forum of his peers and superiors. It was a great lesson because credibility and trust are at the heart of leadership, good governance, and personal relationships. When there is mutual trust and respect--and an environment of openness--it's easy to swim against the tide.

Today the management accounting profession finds itself swimming against a tide of highly visible business failures and a general public distrust of business ethics stemming from these failures. And the latest revelation on backdating of option grants will only increase the volume of voices calling for greater controls and disclosures. Will we drown in the rising tide of increased regulations and additional reporting and auditing requirements? As a management accountant, do you find that you have less and less time to support and participate in the critical decisions of your firm?

Recently I had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting of IMA's Financial Reporting Committee in Washington, D.C. I can't overstate the importance of this committee to and its contributions for management accountants. It represents our point of view and has great credibility with the regulatory bodies. During the two days, both Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) representatives participated in a give-and-take on recent pronouncements and emerging topics. …

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