“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”—Deepak Chopra
“Sustainability” terminology may be interpreted or used differently by stakeholders. The term ‘sustainability’ is broadly understood to refer to information related to environmental, social, or governance (ESG) matters (be they related to reporting on investor focused sustainability information material to enterprise value and the effective functioning of global capital markets or multi-stakeholder focused sustainability reporting that captures impacts of a reporting entity on economy, environment and people) and, therefore, is consistent with the public expectations for the work of this board.”
“There is always some chance of recession in any year. But the evidence suggests that expansions don’t die of old age.”—Janet Yellen
“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of.
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”—Mother Teresa, Missionary and Saint
“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”
“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”
“Professional skepticism is about asking ourselves ‘how do we know and how can we be so sure?’. It is about asking critical questions. Audit quality is best achieved in an environment where there is both support and challenge from other participants. Auditors also should be challenged by other stakeholders.”
Recently, I received an e-mail from two students in accountancy of a state university down south. They sent me some queries re my opinion on what happened in the Tyco accounting scandal in 2002 as they were completing a paper on this. While obliging, I could not help but recall the major aberrations in the accounting discipline’s practice that hugged the headlines in the first decade of this century and now, being used as case studies in schools.
“I’m most grounded on the role of technology. Ultimately to me it’s about the human capital and the human potential and technology empowers humans to do great things. You have to be optimistic about what technology can do in the hands of humans.”—Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corp., USA
“To survive and succeed, every organization will have to turn itself into a change agent.” — Peter Drucker
A writer once said, “True love has no happy ending.” Why? It is because true love never ends.
Many may still recall the Enron accounting scandal and how it precipitated the significant changes in the accounting and auditing landscape. As a consequence of the incident that had global impact, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed in 2002 in the United States. This paved the way to the creation of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). The PCAOB (the Board) is the independent, quasi-government oversight entity that has the statutory authority over the registration, standard-setting, monitoring and disciplinary actions for public accounting firms that audit public clients. It conducts periodic inspections of audit firms meant to restore and enhance public confidence in the auditing profession.
The boundaries of physical and digital worlds are melting at unprecedented speeds, leaving many of our policy-makers, heads of government and business people unprepared to integrate new concepts into decision-making processes.– Global Agenda Outlook 2013, World Economic Forum
“In the absence of sound oversight, responsible businesses are forced to compete against unscrupulous and underhanded businesses, who are unencumbered by any restrictions on activities that might harm the environment, or take advantage of middle-class families, or threaten to bring down the entire financial system.”— Barack Obama
When virtue is lost, benevolence appears; when benevolence is lost, right conduct appears; when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder. —Lao Tzu
“To see a wrong and not to expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance. ”
“Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: Who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life….”—Pope Benedict XVI
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change” —Charles Darwin
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
“An accountant is someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.”—Anonymous
“If you do not hold your ground in the Pacific, you cannot be a world leader.”—Lee Kuan Yew
“Honey ants survive in difficult times by depending on certain members of their group known as “honey pots.” They take in so much nectar that they swell up until they resemble little round berries, hardly able to move. When food and water become scarce, these ants act as “social stomachs” and sustain the entire colony by dispensing what they have stored in their own bodies.”
“…In uncertain economic times, there is a stronger temptation to defend one’s interest without concern for the common good, without paying much heed to justice and legality. For this reason, everyone, especially those who practice a profession which deals with the proper functioning of a country’s economic life, is asked to play a positive, constructive role in performing their daily work.”
THE major financial debacles in the United States in the past brought about significant reforms in the regulation of the accounting/auditing profession. The Enron and World Com incidents, among others, paved the way to Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that created the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to oversee the auditing profession. It ended the profession’s framework of self-regulation.
“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates.”—John F. Kennedy
Numbers are axiomatic in terms of decision-making. Unless you have the right numbers, you can’t be sure that you have evaluated your policy options correctly, and you can’t accurately report on the outcome of your decisions and therefore can’t be held accountable.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. —Barack Obama
Like any other professions, the accountancy profession has its Code of Ethics as set by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA). The IESBA (or Ethics Board) is an independent standard-setting board that continuously develops and issues high-quality ethical standards and other pronouncements for professional accountants worldwide.
If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of 10 years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.—Confucius
ON June 23 the United Kingdom had a referendum to decide whether it should “Leave” or “Remain” in the European Union (EU). The Leave vote had it at 52 percent to 48 percent. BBC reported it was highest in the UK-wide vote since the 1992 general election with a registered 71.8-percent turnout, representing more than 30 million people. The projected departure of the UK will still leave 27 EU member-states.
“There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding, education, organization, action that raises the cost of state violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis for institutional change—and the kind of commitment that will persist despite the temptations of disillusionment, despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future.” —Noam Chomsky
“Defeating corruption—and, thus, immeasurably improving the lives of citizens—can only be achieved through reenergized collaboration between, and commitment of, leaders from both the public and private sectors. Both sectors require transparent, consistent and robust anticorruption measures, and effective internal controls that are critical to good governance and holding officials accountable. A greater focus on strong governance and compliance structures will help cultivate self-reporting cultures that empower individuals to do the right thing.” –Olivia F. Kirtley, President, International Federation of Accountants
If governments did not mislead their citizens so often, there would be less need for secrecy, and if leaders knew they could not rely on keeping the public in the dark about what they are doing, they would have a powerful incentive to behave better. –Peter Singer
Organizations are using integrated reporting (IR) to communicate a clear, concise, integrated story that explains how all of their resources are creating value. IR is helping businesses to think holistically about their strategy and plans, make informed decisions and manage key risks to build investor and stakeholder confidence, and improve future performance. It is shaped by a diverse coalition, including business leaders and investors, to drive a global evolution in corporate reporting.
“This clear signal from a broad, nonpartisan group in one of the world’s most important trading centers highlights the urgent need for a more globally consistent approach to regulation…. The current fragmentation is creating a regulatory environment that encourages more risky trading and financing activities in often unregulated domains, and allows for the exploitation of gaps in regulation globally… ”
“What goes up, must come down
“A distinguishing mark of the accountancy profession is its acceptance of the responsibility to act in the public interest. The IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (the Code) provides ethical requirements and guidance to help professional accountants to meet this responsibility.”
As organizations become infused with value, they are no longer regarded as expendable tools; they develop a concern for self-maintenance. By making a distinctive set of values, the organization acquires a character structure, an identity. Maintaining the organization is no longer simply an instrumental matter of survival but becomes a struggle to preserve a set of unique values. A vital role of leadership is to define and defend these values.” –— Institutions & Organizations / By W. Richard Scott