Magazine article The CPA Journal

Campaign for CPA or CMA Requirement for CFOs of Public Companies

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Campaign for CPA or CMA Requirement for CFOs of Public Companies

Article excerpt

Isaac Assael, retired partner of M.R. Weiser & Company LLC and now recruiter of accounting and auditing professions with Enwood Personnel, last year sent a letter to Arthur Levitt, chairman of the SEC, championing the benefits to public companies of instituting the requirement that the chief financial officer of all such companies be a CPA or accredited by another professional accounting body, such as the IMA's CMA designation.

Assael in his letter states, "I have always found it rather amazing that the highest ranking financial officer of so many companies are neither licensed or bound by a set of ethical principles required by some professional body." Assael goes on to say:

...the reporting company is primarily responsible for the preparation of its own financial statements.

The auditors' function is to give further assurance to the reliability of the financial statem e n t s. However, in my opinion, the auditors will generally only see what the client company wants them to see. Since we live in a world of gray rather than black and white, it is difficult for me to accept that the person at the company making the decision with respect to a difficult accounting issue may not be someone who has the background and discipline of a CPA or hold a similar credential. Such a requirement would be a major step forward in improving the quality of financial reporting.

Assael went on to state that unless CFOs are required to have professional credentials, everything will not have been done to give the necessary integrity to the financial reporting process. …

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