Don’t Lose Sight of Enduring Values

BY KAY ZEKANY

The Crisis in Accounting Education” encourages CPAs to become involved in helping to improve accounting education because they are in the best position to provide expert insight.

The business environment has changed rapidly, and the accounting profession’s response to these changes may indeed be visionary in some respects. However, some changes that have occurred in CPA firms may prove not to be enduring.

For instance, Andersen, along with other major CPA firms, reengineered itself as a “professional service” rather than a “public accounting” firm. Currently, however, in the wake of the Enron collapse, the entire audit community is rethinking how it approaches consulting services for its audit clients. According to “Restoring Public Confidence” ( JofA, Apr.02, page 37), “the largest five CPA firms in the United States have recently agreed to impose unprecedented restrictions on the consulting services they offer to their audit clients, and Congress is currently considering federal legislation along these same lines.” Apparently, the investing public still needs CPA firms to be “public accounting” firms.

I agree CPAs should play a leading role in fostering continuous quality improvement in accounting education. However, in this process, I hope accounting educators do not discard qualities that have enduring value in favor of swinging with the pendulum as society’s trends come and go.

Kay Zekany, PhD
Assistant Professor of Accounting
Ohio Northern University
Ada, Ohio

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