by Lauren Randazzo
John Veihmeyer, Americas Chairman of KPMG International and Deputy Chairman of KPMG LLP, spoke to accounting students on April 10 about the sustainability of the accounting profession; a question on many people’s minds due to recent events that have occurred in the field. Veihmeyer proudly reported, “The profession is stronger today than it has ever been in my career.”
Audit quality was the major topic of Veihmeyer’s lecture. He discussed four primary factors not in the control of individual firms that have the potential to impact audit quality greatly: accounting standards, relevancy of public accounting firms, profession structural issues and finally human capital issues.
Veihmeyer spoke about financial statements and restatements in relation to accounting standards. “While this issue has been trending downward in the past twelve months,” he believes “the numbers are still extremely high and unacceptable.”
The relevancy of public accounting firms, Veihmeyer urged listeners, is based on respect for reasonable judgments which will help keep firms relevant in the eyes of the market place. “Without the relevancy of firm opinions, sustainability suffers.”
The structural issues of the accounting profession, for both the firms as well as the regulators also affect the continual improvement for audit quality. Veihmeyer stressed the importance of globalization in order to stay consistent.
“The culture of ethics and integrity is very important” in the accounting profession, Veihmeyer concluded, based on the issue of human capitol. He emphasized the importance of diversity in the work place along with a work-life balance for employees to flourish in the profession.
Veihmeyer reassured listeners that people should “take comfort in the fact that the profession is being discussed publicly because of the critical role public accountants play in the capital market system today.” Veihmeyer urged, “The only thing that could threaten the sustainability of the profession is a lack of confidence in it.”
Lyceum Series – Department of Accountancy