New York (July 24, 2002) -- Under increasing pressure in the face of earnings restatements, fraud allegations and unease in the financial community, corporate finance executives shared their thoughts on earnings management and other issues this week in a Webcast hosted by CFO.com.
"When and if the public and analysts start to take a more visionary and longer term look at companies, and stock prices stop being volatile based on quarterly earnings - then we will see management less tempted to perform unnatural acts," said panel member and finance consultant Sharlene Abrams, speaking on all of management's responsibility to be truthful. "The focus needs to change from making the quarterly numbers to the overall health of the business. This will begin to lessen the pressure to skew earnings one way or another."
The panel discussion held Monday was moderated by CFO.com editor-in-chief John Goff and senior editor Marie Leone. Topics covered included: problems with some Financial Accounting Standards Board rules, the use of "cookie jar" reserves, and how analyst expectations, stock prices and executive compensations all motivate earnings management attempts, as well as the Microsoft, Rite-Aid and Xerox rulings.
Other panelists were Mark W. Nelson, associate professor of accounting at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management; and Theodore J. Sawicki, Partner of Alston & Bind LLP. The webcast will be available via an archive and transcript on http://www.cfo.com early next month.
-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff
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