The Role of Professional Accountants

Barry Salzberg, Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte LLP, spoke to accountancy students Feb. 12, 2009 on the importance of having sound judgment and clear decision making in their future profession. His presentation, “Tomorrow’s Judgments” gave students an explanation of why their judgment is so important, citing the recent problems in the financial industry as history, and gave them tips about how to succeed and make the best, most informed decisions possible.

Salzberg started his speech by commenting not only on the caliber of the University, but also of the students in attendance.

“This institution is truly cutting edge,” Salzberg said. “You got the stuff, not just the GPA, but the DNA.”

DNA however, is not enough to make important, correct decisions when necessary. Salzberg went on to explain that to judgment is a process used to reach a well reasoned conclusion and pointed to several important trends that are increasing the importance of the decisions today’s students will face tomorrow.

These trends included new global standards of financial reporting, the expectations of the digital age, a new generation of knowledge consumers and the global economic downturn.

Salzberg described the current economic situation as one in which everyone is looking around and thinking “never again.” He cited this as an example of professionals making poor decisions and putting aside common sense to follow the herd.

“We will all have a role to play in rebuilding the capital markets,” he said.

However, Salzberg offered a more optimistic perspective on the worldwide economic downturn than is often perpetuated in the news media today.

“My attitude is anything but gloom and doom,” Salzberg said. “As hard as times seem when they’re happening