2003 – Business management, ethics and accountability: how to restore public trust?

The last two years have been among the most difficult since the Depression for businesses, directors , executives, accountants, auditors, regulators and shareholders. According to Bankruptcy Data.com 186 listed US companies went bankrupt in 2002. Thousands of employees lost their jobs and investors and pensioners lost more than $10 trillion ($10, 000,000,000,000) on the stock market. The dot-com bubble, deceptive accounting practices, executive compensation, mismanagement, fraud, greed and the ethics of corporate leaders, auditor integrity and independence, personal accountability and the loss of faith in corporate America have all been discussed in political, academic and professional circles. In addition, many of these issues have generated intense criticism and have made headlines in both the popular and financial press. Recent poll conducted in US found 74% of respondents do not have faith in the CEOs of large corporations. Resolution of these issues is critical to the welfare of both corporate stakeholders and the society at large. Reforms are urgently needed to restore public confidence in companies, boards, management, auditors, financial information, and financial markets. This conference focuses on the challenges posed by these issues and on the actions being taken (and yet to be taken ) by different involved parties to restore public trust. Our panel of speakers will discuss fundamental changes to business management, ethics, and accountability from a variety of perspectives, including the following:
  1. The necessary role, qualifications and responsibilities of corporate board members and board committees;
  2. The business climate between accounting firms and their clients;
  3. The performance, accountability and compensation of CEOs;
  4. The disclosure of relevant and reliable information;
  5. The role of ethics in business management;
  6. The initiatives accountants should undertake to save accounting.

Speakers:

Corporate Governance- Everyone’s Business Dr. Michelle Causton, Canadore College, School of Business. The Role of Risk Bearing and Information in Financial Markets Dr. Peter J. Barry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ethics and Financial Reporting in a Post-Enron Environment Dr. Gary L. Sundem, University of Washington, School of Business A first step to restoring public trust:Understanding how and why ethical dilemmas are resolved Dr. Sally Gunz, School of Accountancy, University of Waterloo The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and Accounting Regulation in the U.S. Dr. Rick Antle, Yale University, School of Management Restoring Public Trust: Recent Canadian Responses Dr. Merridee Bujaki, School of Management, University of Ottawa