The Aleph Blog » Blog Archive » A Call For Accounting Integrity

A Call For Accounting Integrity

This post is not one where I go through one of my “pet issues” in accounting (e.g. fair value accounting, goodwill accounting, pension accounting, or employee stock option accounting).  Rather, I am writing to encourage all finance bloggers, and those that read me to write Mary Schapiro at the SEC, and encourage her to appoint Jack Ciesielski to be Chief Accountant at the SEC.

Why do I write this?  I only track the blogs of two accountants, Jack Ciesielski, and Tom Selling.  Tom has written a post supporting Jack for the position of Chief Accountant for the SEC.  Here is a confirmation of the possibility in this Bloomberg article.

I first met Jack Ciesielski in 1997 at a lunch for the Philadelphia Financial Analysts.  I immediately appreciated his acumen.  After that, when I moved down to Baltimore, I got to know him better at the Baltimore Security Analyst Society (Now Baltimore CFA Society) meetings.  I have learned a lot from him.

Now, I have nothing to deprecate the other fellow being considered, the acting Chief Accountant.  He may be a wonderful choice for the position, but Jack is a CFA Charterholder, so he understands the concerns of investors.  Further, his newsletter has pointed out flaws in accounting methodologies for over a decade.  Jack is not merely a critic, but he understands where US GAAP and IFRS accounting are weak.  He has not “gone along to get along,” but has offered helpful criticism on accounting standards.

To my fellow bloggers out there, please link to this post, and ask your readers to petition the SEC Chairman to appoint Jack CiesielskiThey can do so here.  To my readers, please also petition the Chairman of the SEC, and ask her to appoint Jack.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just that you know that Jack has supported accounting integrity for many years.  If there is any doubt look in the deep past on his blog, where his musings went to everyone, not just clients.

I will write my own missive to Ms. Schapiro tomorrow.  If it is any good, I will post it here.






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3 Responses to A Call For Accounting Integrity

  1. ephpostfacto says:

    As per the CFA Code of Ethics,

    Jack cannot be a CFA, he is a CFA Charterholder.
    I also don’t think you’re allowed to imply that being a CFA charterholder makes one more understanding of the concerns of investors. As I recall, being a CFA Charterholder does not entitle you to make many claims other than that you have completed the requisites to earn the charter…

    • You are correct — CFA Charterholder. Taking the CFA exams teaches one to be a user of financial statements, versus the CPA, which teaches one to make them. Jack also has been active in the Baltimore CFA society, and has encouraged his staff to be active in it as well.

      It would be a very good thing for the SEC to have a financial analyst as Chief Accountant. The users of financial statements need to be represented for reasons of investor protection. The accounting profession has been negligent there, favoring statement-makers over statement-users.

  2. ephpostfacto says:

    I would agree that having a financial analyst as Chief Accountant. You’re more careful with the recipe when you’re the one eating it.

Disclaimer


David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at RealMoney, Wall Street All-Stars, or anywhere else David may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, David is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do. David is fond of saying, "The markets always find a new way to make a fool out of you," and so he encourages caution in investing. Risk control wins the game in the long run, not bold moves. Even the best strategies of the past fail, sometimes spectacularly, when you least expect it. David is not immune to that, so please understand that any past success of his will be probably be followed by failures.


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