Saturday, February 27, 2010

Greece ... Another failure for responsible financial reporting

Dear Colleagues

Greece ... its national accounts are another example in the systemic failure to have responsible financial reporting. My position is that the accountancy profession has completely failed to ensure that the reporting of critical financial information is being done correctly. I thought this was the core function of the accountancy profession when I qualified in 1965 in the UK ... but I appear to have been sadly mistaken.

My college friend Peter Allen, observed almost 20 years ago that the profession had become a business. He was right about that. But there is a need for a profession that is going to stand up and ensure that the numbers being reported are clear and understandable and right. There also needs to be something that makes clever organizations like Goldman Sachs think twice about gaming the system while at the same time profiting on every side of every trade.

I would support creative financial services if they would explain to me how their creative work results in socio-economic value adding ... but bottom line, there seems to be nothing more than a very profitable (for Goldman Sachs and similar firms) zero sum game, which means that for every dime of profit they make someone loses. In the end, the socio-economic system crashes ... but the typical bank executive really could not care less because his (or her) social economy is safely off in some walled community that lives in a luxury bubble that seems secure ... for the moment!

I thought the worst of the financial crash was behind us ... but maybe I was wrong. The derivative virus has probably infected everything that the banking and financial sector quants have touched!

Peter Burgess
Community Analytics (CA)

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