Chicago — The vast majority of U.S. senior financial executives surveyed support stock option expensing and uniform global accounting standards, according to a poll of executives at public and private companies released by Grant Thornton.

When asked if stock options should be expensed, an overall 71 percent of 101 senior financial executives at public and private companies surveyed by the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University said that they should, while 29 percent said they should not. Among public company executives, 72 percent favored expensing options, while 70 percent of private company execs supported expensing.

Overall, 76 percent of respondents believed that there should be global accounting standards. Slightly more public company executives (85 percent) thought there should be global standards, while 75 percent of private company execs were for global standards, GT reported.

Seventy percent of all executives said that we need greater transparency in financial reporting, while 72 percent of public company executives said that greater transparency is needed. Nearly the same number of private company execs (69 percent) said that greater transparency is needed, according to the survey.

Depending on where they worked, executives differed widely on whether there should be quicker disclosure to investors regarding insider trading. Only 38 percent of public company executives said there should be quicker disclosure, compared with 76 percent of those at private companies.

An overall 80 percent favored adopting a principles-based approach to accounting standards, with a greater number of private company executives (85 percent) favoring a principles-based approach, compared with 69 percent of executives at public companies. The same number of executives at both public and private companies (76 percent) said that we need a comprehensive revenue recognition statement.

When asked, “Do you think it is right for an accounting firm to both do the audit and assist with documentation of internal controls?” more than half of public company executives (52 percent) said no.

The overwhelming majority (83 percent overall) of executives said that they think it is appropriate for an accounting firm to do both audit and tax work for a company. Roughly the same number (82 percent) of private company executives said that it was appropriate, while slightly more (86 percent) of those at public companies said that it was.

Far more public company executives said that their firm has set up a whistle blower policy (83 percent of public company executives versus just 27 percent of those at private companies), according to the report.

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