by Lauren Yang
Bryan Segedi, Vice Chair of Ernst & Young LLP, spoke to students on November 13, 2008 about the effect of the volatile economy on public auditing. His presentation, “Public Company Audit Challenges Circa 2008,” provided students with information about current trends, issues and implications in public auditing, as well as advice for those planning to follow this career path.
Segedi began by calling attention to the U.S.’s current economic state, which he described as a “period of change in a dynamic environment that the Great Depression can’t hold a candle to.” Using timelines and graphs, he illustrated the events leading up to recent stock market falls and their effect on the global economy.
“Many people have talked about (global interconnectedness), but this is reality setting in,” Segedi said. “It’s how interconnected our global world is today—the investors, sellers and what we face.”
The presentation then focused on the effect these happenings have had on audit companies. Segedi’s diagrams indicated the implications from a number of perspectives, including audit management, auditors, committees and investors. He also explained how it would impact business students, emphasizing the importance of skills like valuation expertise.
“You need to stay abreast of where are the winners and losers going to be in the industry,” said Segedi. “It’s having peripheral vision to look at and be able to identify anomalies and trends.”
Segedi wrapped up by stressing the importance of the role their education would play in the opportunities and challenges ahead; “Just the diploma sends a message to prospective employers about who you are and your quality.”
"(Segedi’s) presentation provided a lot of information and a lot of insight,” said Brian Dunbar, another senior in accounting. “The things he said about the crisis and how it impacts auditors and audit committees were really important, especially for students like me who are planning to go into the field.”