The USC Leventhal School of Accounting held its 40th annual SEC and Financial Reporting Conference Thursday, June 2 in-person for the first time since 2019. Also streamed online, the hybrid model enabled registrants to participate from around the country. More than 500 people attended total, near the pre-COVID level.
In a world of rapidly evolving modes of investment such as digital assets, and investor demand for environmental, social and governance-linked features (ESG) in corporations, regulatory and standard-setting agencies like the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) are deep in discovery to update rules and accounting standards to meet the changing environment.
For those in the financial reporting professions, there is no better way to hear from industry leaders about what’s coming down the pipeline. Attendees heard from leaders of the major financial accounting, reporting, and auditing regulators and standard setters, including the SEC and FASB, as well as from top corporate and service firm executives.
“I am struck by how incredibly rich and deep and meaningful the relationships are between the Leventhal School and the world of practice,” said Marshall Dean Geoff Garrett in his opening statements. “Business education must constantly be engaged in a two-way dialog with the world of practice, and this event is just one of many exemplary examples of that.”
Five panels addressed topics of the moment, including ESG reporting, talent, and digital assets, and the difficulties faced by both preparers and auditors in today’s fast-changing environment.
“Preparers, auditors and investors need to know the rules,” said Tony Aaron, adjunct professor of accounting and director of USC’s SEC and Financial Reporting Institute. “And the rules are always changing.”
The opening keynote panel was moderated by Christine Davine, National Managing Partner, Audit & Assurance: Quality, Risk & Regulatory, Deloitte & Touche LLP, and featured Richard Jones, Chair, Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB); Kevin L. Vaughn, Senior Associate Chief Accountant, Office of the Chief Accountant, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and Diana Stoltzfus, Deputy Chief Accountant, Professional Practice Group, Office of the Chief Accountant, SEC.
While most every panel in the conference touched on ESG reporting issues, the final panel brought out the leading experts on the topic.
It included Richard Clark, Chief Accounting Officer & Chief Transformation Officer, Business Enablement, Accenture, Richard Sloan, Deloitte & Touche LLP Chair in Accounting, Professor of Accounting, Finance and Business Economics, USC Marshall, and Joe Allanson, Executive Vice President, Finance ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), Salesforce.com, Inc. Allanson is also the chair of USC Leventhal’s Board of Advisors.
“Our 40th annual USC SEC and Financial Reporting Institute Conference was a stunning success!” said Aaron. “Our attendees heard in-person from leaders of the major financial accounting, reporting and auditing regulators and standard-setters, as well as from top corporate and service firm executives. We look forward to an even greater level of interest in future years as the pandemic subsides and we welcome back our network of stakeholders."