What it means to be a CPA in industry. (includes related articles) (Cover Story)by Craig, James L., Jr.
A natural and frequent career path after attaining the CPA designation is a position in private industry. Such a career change can be both dramatic and traumatic. Often the CPA feels separated from the profession. Maintaining a license to practice is no longer a job requirement. Yet the CPA designation is proudly worn by the CPA in industry. The CPA Journal gathered a group from a wide range of settings to discuss what it means to be a CPA in industry. The positions held and experiences of the panel members have a significant bearing on their points of view. It may be helpful to an understanding of the discussion to refer to the brief biographical sketches of the panelists appearing in the accompanying side bar.
The panel consisted of Peter J. Adamski, Controller of McNeil Specialty Products Company; Gilbert E. Ahye, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Consumer Lending, American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.; Rona Cherno, Chief Financial Officer, Elder Craftsmen, Inc., Brookhill Equities and Global Executive Network Associates; Arthur F. Dignam, Vice President-Finance, Chief Financial Officer, Panavision International; Harold M. Hendler, Tax Manager, Prime Hospitality Corp.; Mary B. Molloy, Manager Accounting Policies, The Chase Manhattan Bank N.A.; Ralph J. Scala, Vice President Internal Audit and Security, Petrie Stores, Corporation; and Ira Weissman, Chief Financial Officer, Omega Fashions Limited.
The CPA Journal: Does the fact that you are a CPA make any difference in your position with your company? Does it bring any added value?
Gilbert Ahye: Being a CPA means immediate credibility from colleagues and peers. In dealing with difficult matters of judgment and experience, especially in the areas of financial management, those I interact with will often defer to my opinion and suggestions because they have respect for my background and training as a professional.
Rona Cherno: People seem to realize the effort and education involved in becoming a CPA and tend to give those possessing the title a certain amount of respect.
Ralph Scala: In any position I have had or have sought, the CPA designation has been a prerequisite. Certainly, in my present position as Vice President Internal Audit, because of my interaction with outside auditors, audit committees, and our Board of Directors, the certification is a must. In my department we strive to employ a high percentage of CPAs, not because they are necessarily smarter, but because the designation brings a level of experience and knowledge and creates a sense of respect by those whom we audit.
Peter Adamski: Early on in a career the CPA designation is the outward sign of having gone through a demanding and difficult process. It shows you have analytical skills and a drive to attain whatever you set out to achieve, no matter how difficult. Later on as you advance through a career in finance and accounting, it is a tag line at the end. It is another credential that creates credibility.
Arthur Dignam: At various points in my career the designation has had differing implications. Initially, it was the door opener to get a position. However, as a chief financial officer, on a day-to-day basis, it doesn't mean as much. However, it is a big factor in my dealings with outside accountants and motivates me to pursue a continuing education program.
Mary Molloy: A very real benefit of the CPA designation is the knowledge and fundamentals that must be learned to achieve it. This core of knowledge provides an important foundation that allows us as CPAs in industry to address the more difficult and complex transactions that we continually face in our work environment.
Harold Hendler: The CPA tag is beneficial to me in dealing with the IRS and state and local tax auditors. Instant credibility.
Ira Weissman: I have found that the CPA designation has meant more to me in dealing with outside parties, which includes our bankers, auditors, attorneys, and other professionals with whom I come in contact. It is at that level the designation commands the respect which serves as a benefit to my employers.
CPAJ: Do all of you use the CPA designation after your name when signing correspondence or otherwise identifying yourself? You don't. Why not?
Adamski: I have CPA on my letterhead, but do not use it after my name in the closing of my letters.
Ahye: My colleagues at work and my usual outside contacts know I'm a CPA. I don't need to broadcast it. Also, at this point in my career, my job title and position is more important in helping me negotiate through the mine fields of today's business environment.
Dignam: In the circles in which I operate, it is well known and, for that matter, implicit for the position I hold.
Adamski: At Johnson & Johnson, we have a policy that those aspiring to reach the level of CFO of an operating company must have a professional designation, either CPA or CMA. In effect we have adopted an up-or-out philosophy. This policy comes from the CFO of Johnson & Johnson who is a CMA and very much supportive of that program.
Weissman: Internally I do not use the designation. My business card has it. Throughout my career I have always been involved in teaching, either CPA review courses or undergraduate and graduate college courses, and I always make it known in those surroundings. I pick and choose where the designation will have meaning.
CPAJ: Are there any negative consequences of being a CPA?
Cherno: The narrow image and stereotypes of the CPA are still out there- -green eye shades, catching crooks, only doing tax returns. Sometimes it almost comes out like a slur after I have had contact with someone who later learns I'm a CPA, "But you don't act like a CPA." The world assumes no creativity, it expects a bean counter.
Dignam: Everybody, whether in a social or business setting assumes we're good at taxes. And they expect us to take a very narrow, conservative posture on all issues.
Ahye: Most people seem to view CPAs from the view point of public practice. In that role, CPAs are not usually the author, creator, or decider, but rather the auditor, second guesser, and critic. They expect us to tell them why they can't do something, rather than give ideas on how to do it better. When you cross the street to the private side, some may not expect that you will be able to demonstrate the creativity necessary to manage and lead.
Adamski: Often times the role that is expected of us as financial people is that of the "bad cop." We're the person to put the breaks on, to contain the marketing people.
Scala: On the positive side of this image, because we are CPAs, we are automatically considered to be trustworthy and to possess a certain degree of objectivity and ethics. I saw a cartoon once: "I missed the 60's--I was a CPA." I've seen the negative stereotypes--you're square, you're boring--but I dismiss this and enjoy the other side of being respected for my objectivity and professionalism.
CPAJ: A CPA in public practice is subject to a code of conduct. How does that carry over to the CPA in industry?
Molloy: CPAs in industry play a very important role in many organizations in the preparation of financial statements. While specific sections of the AICPA's Code of Conduct apply to all CPAs in industry, adherence to the Code is particularly important for CPAs who prepare financial statements.
Weissman: The CPA in industry has a dual responsibility to both management and outside parties to represent and report the facts in an ethical and professional manner at all times. This places additional burden and stress, but this is a consequence in representing yourself as a CPA.
CPAJ: Does your responsibility to adhere to a code of conduct cause conflict in your organization? Do you have to take a stand that may cause you to lose favor in the eyes of more senior management?
Molloy: I see many transactions in the banking world--off-balance sheet products and derivatives--for which there is minimal authoritative accounting guidance. We have to make the rules as we go along. So there is greater responsibility to arrive at reasonable answers in the execution of our daily activities.
Dignam: As a CPA there is an absolute presumption on the part of people you deal with that you are ethical--that you stand for ethical behavior. And they will turn to you with that understanding and look for you to give the "right" answer.
Cherno: I am a bridge-type person in start-up organizations. I'm dealing with bankers, investors, and regulators on behalf of organizations that have no track record. Accordingly, these outsiders look to me, as a CPA, to provide a sense of stability and reliability. They are depending on my moral and ethical underpinnings to give information on which they can rely.
Ahye: We can find ourselves in very difficult situations where we have to face the chairman or other senior managers and tell them that you don't think it can be done that way. Recently there was some question at my company as to the way certain things were being handled. The company in trying to resolve the issues and regroup has realized the importance of integrity and openness.
CPAJ: One of the major chinks in the public accountant's armor is the need to at times criticize the entity that is paying the fee. In industry, that situation is even more direct. You may be called upon to say no to the person that writes your paycheck. That has to produce an additional burden or stress point in the performance of your duties.
Scala: I have made a point in my career of only accepting employment from companies that have high ethical standards. It has not been unlike the CPA firm deciding whether to accept a client. You only want to work at a place where the tone at the top is at a high level.
Hendler: In the tax area where the signing of a tax return may be required, it is particularly important to know that you will not be expected to take a tax position that cannot be adequately supported. In a job interview I try to feel the prospective employer out as to what the important issues in the industry are and the position that it may or may not have taken. I would walk away from a prospective employer where I did not feel comfortable with the answers I heard.
Molloy: In difficult economic times you may begin to see more "interesting proposals." The CPA in industry becomes the first line of defense against irresponsible accounting. The outside auditors may not see the transaction, if at all, for some time. The CPA in industry must step forward and set the matter on its proper course. We don't get much recognition for this kind of behavior, but the public and shareholders are being served when we do this.
Ahye: In many ways, the CPA in industry is ahead of the CPA/auditor in public practice. Industry is creating new ways of looking at economic events. The CPAs in public are in a catch-up mode. We are the front line of apostles out there doing our best to see that reality and realism prevail.
Dignam: This brings out a very important point. The CPA in industry is where the action is. Industry is where economic plans and events are being planned, written, and played out. CPAs in industry are often in a better position than those in public practice to identify and help resolve emerging accounting problems and procedures. Yet CPAs in industry are not that involved in the technical committees of the State Societies.
CPAJ: You raise a very interesting point. Why isn't the CPA in industry as active in the State Societies?
Malloy: Many CPAs in industry are very interested in keeping current on technical issues and actively seek out technical support networks. It is not that CPAs in industry don't care or are waiting to be asked their views on technical matters. I just don't think state societies are structured to actively seek out participation of CPAs in industry. My state society just completed a project to examine how to better serve and take advantage of the talents of CPAs in industry. This is a significant step forward.
Cherno: I have always been involved in state society committee activities. Initially I was interested in the technical aspects of the profession. Now I am more interested in the special issues impacting women in the profession--perception, fairness, etc. I have been employed by smaller businesses where I have not had a peer group of professionals in the work place. I therefore have turned to my state society to get that.
Scala: When I was in public accounting I didn't have time for state CPA society activities. I now have greater control over my time and am more active.
Adamski: I have been involved in my state society for a dozen years. I am chairman of our members in industry committee. The more I put into my state society the more I get out. The contacts you make, the support you get from your colleagues in industry--I have found it to be invaluable.
Hendler: The technical tax committees in my state society work very well; there is a common ground of tax knowledge that brings us together. Now that I am active in the CPAs in industry committees I find we come from such divergent fields and with divergent interests.
Dignam: A big factor in determining how active a CPA will be in his or her state society depends on the person employing the CPA. CPA firms often push and actively support participation in state societies. In industry you have to almost prove on an event by event basis that the time you are taking out of the workday to attend a meeting or seminar directly benefits the organization. Is there meat and substance enough to get something out by putting time in? Somehow we have to get our employers to buy in that there are benefits to the company from our participation. That can be a tough sell.
Weissman: Since leaving public accounting, I have developed both the maturity and interest in serving on various committees within the state society. This involvement has broadened my professional standing within the industry and has given me the opportunity to interact and share with my peers. This kind of activity is not available within my own organization.
CPAJ: What do your employers feel about you taking time out of your work day to attend continuing professional education courses?
Adamski: At Johnson & Johnson, there is a very supportive attitude towards CPE. All my dues, and license and membership fees are paid for by the company. The company pays for my attendance at the AICPA members in industry conference. Our internal training courses and conferences, where appropriate, are designed to qualify for CPE credit. J&J feels that there is added value to the CPA designation and would not want that value eroded by a failure to keep current and participate. A course or conference can act as stimulus for ideas and create enthusiasm which can be brought back to benefit the organization.
CPAJ: Is that true for the rest of you? Time for a survey. Does your firm pay for dues, licenses, and attendance at CPE courses?
Molloy: In this day of cost control and profit maximization, many companies of all sizes have become very selective. My company, with a large number of CPAs on staff, does not pay for courses merely to maintain a license or meet professional requirements. If the course or event will directly benefit the company, it will pay for it, otherwise not. My organization does not object to my involvement in the profession. Rather, active participation is encouraged. There is also the expectation that any time away from the office will be more than made up. If you want to be active, you can. It's up to the individual.
Weissman: Because I work or have worked for smaller, closely held businesses, very often I have been the only CPA in the organization. Some of my employers have reimbursed me for the cost of maintaining my license, memberships, CPE, etc. In these situations I have been able to be very active in the profession and in fact chaired committees of my state society. Some of my other employers were not as willing to allow me to remain as active. Under these circumstances I have had to satisfy my CPE requirements through the use of weekend and home-study courses.
Cherno: For me it is a very mixed bag because I am part-time at several companies. Again, it is the direct benefit syndrome. There are broader issues, however, because I think the reimbursement matter reflects how our employers perceive our worth. Do they need to see us at our desk every day? As a practical matter I think I need at least 40 hours of updating and new information every year to be effective in serving my employers. I get CPE from my state society, but I also am invited to qualifying presentations from suppliers, accounting and law firms, and others with whom I have business relationships.
Scala: My company believes that it is important for its internal auditors to maintain the CPA designation and meet the continuing education requirements. We give time off to take the CPA exam and pay for CPA review courses. In dealing with the external auditors we have to be up to full speed, not half a CPA. On the other hand, I polled a number of internal auditors recently and found about half were not being reimbursed for the cost of maintaining the designation, not even license fees.
Weissman: I would like to see the profession somehow join together to assist all CPAs in meeting the maintenance aspects of the CPA designation. For example, the outside public accounting firms should encourage their clients to support CPAs in industry participation in professional activities. Another way would be to establish a fund from a dues surcharge on all state society members, or perhaps an assessment to firms that are large enough to sponsor in-house courses. These funds would be used to help subsidize the cost of courses taken by CPAs in industry, or perhaps sole practitioners in public practice, that have to bear inordinate costs themselves.
CPAJ: The image of the CPA in public practice has been severely tarnished. Some regulators are beginning to suggest that the CPA profession as it is known and practiced today is in a fight for survival, both financially and professionally. How does this CPA bashing affect the CPA in industry?
Ahye: The image took a beating in the 80s. The profession did not keep pace with what was happening in industry. And this failure to know for example in the S&L industry, just won't go away. The press and the lawsuits continually bring the matter to the public's attention. How do we correct the situation--we have to find some way to live our values and stand up for what we believe.
Cherno: It's a perception thing. Business went sour on our watch, and the public holds us responsible. We are supposed to tell people "no!"
Dignam: No doubt some of the blame that has been laid at our feet is deserved. But there does remain this expectation gap problem that we have to deal with. Many in the public still do not understand, and it is an unfair rap that we are taking.
Ahye: But Arthur, perception is reality. It may be unfair, but...
Molloy: Walter Schuetze, Chief Accountant of the SEC, in a speech before the American Accounting Association was extremely critical of the profession, saying that independent accountants were too comfortable with their clients. He is beginning to talk about the need for regulators to step in if the profession can't self-regulate and he is placing the idea of mandatory rotation of auditors on the table.
Weissman: Some of the attacks made on the performance of CPAs are warranted. Some have not done the job, for whatever reason. But all too often people join bandwagons and fault finding mushrooms and escalates. In my secondary role as teacher and professor I try to teach young and aspiring accountants about the importance of quality work and of preserving the image of the profession. The CPA designation is more than just a knowledge of SASs and FASBs; it is a sense of professionalism and being responsible to the public interest. We are under attack and we must all do our share to fend off the attackers. The place I try to do this is in the classroom by trying to instill values and professionalism into the students.
CPAJ: You seem to be saying that outside auditors have not dealt with the problems and have not kept current. Are you saying that the audit process is flawed? That CPAs don't understand the reality?
Ahye: I see a different side of the process. I see the audit partner being very active and involved and telling management, no you can't do that, when appropriate. But the public doesn't see it. At American Express we have had some negative publicity over the last several years. Finally we said the only way the investing public will feel OK about us is if they stop seeing negative things about us in the newspapers. In the same vein, we as a profession have to stop doing negative type things.
Dignam: To get ourselves out of the hole, some sort of dramatic event has got to occur. We must come forward and state: "We have a problem and this is the way we are going to correct it."
On the more personal level, I can see how auditors can fall into the trap of complacency on long-standing engagements. At my company we have had a restructuring, and there have been a series of new issues to consider and resolve. As a result our auditors have been very much involved--the creative juices are flowing on both sides--there has been active debate of the issues, and we all have been operating at high energy levels. This is the proper environment for an audit. It was very satisfying.
Hendler: I joined my company a year or so before it filed for Chapter 11. As the company emerged from bankruptcy, the auditors decided it was necessary to restate the prior years' earnings. Did they miss anything? I don't know. Did they fail to recognize the economic reality of the situation? Perhaps with hindsight they did.
Weissman: The quality of audits of companies I have worked for has varied. At times the quality of the people has not been there. In others I felt I was a teacher working with young staff. And in still others the senior people didn't spend enough time to truly understand what was happening.
CPAJ: To sum up then, on the image matter, yes bad things happened to businesses that CPAs audited. From your own personal experiences, you do not see any grave deficiencies in the audit process. The profession has been in many ways a victim of a lot of events coming together at one time. As Gil says, however, it will only go away when we stop seeing bad things in the press, and that may in fact be dependent on our own changed behavior. CPAs in industry can help as the first line of defense.
On another subject, have you ever found yourself in a position where you had to blow-the-whistle on some transaction or circumstance within your company?
Dignam: When I was an internal auditor in an earlier position, I was involved in what first appeared to be a relatively insignificant fraud. Upon digging further, it was found to be a major fraud involving numerous people across many locations and management levels. Top management did the right thing--involved the audit committee and even went to the SEC.
Weissman: If you come across some sort of impropriety, you owe it to yourself and your profession to bring the issue to the table. Outside people rely on you, bankers, etc. You should consult with your management and make them aware that you will have to make the facts known to the appropriate parties and give them the opportunity to take the necessary corrective steps. If they do not ... I have been in that situation in my career. As a result I ended up securing new employment. In the long run it was the right thing to do.
Ahye: The first level of whistle blowing is at the transaction level where something that just doesn't look right. It may not be illegal or immoral, but it just doesn't pass the smell test. I have been involved in such situations and with much trepidation had to give senior management my opinion. The second level is where you actually find a situation where results have been manipulated. I also saw such a situation, and management did the right thing and used the events to restate the company's commitment to integrity.
Molloy: I too have found myself in a similar situation in which a transaction was being proposed by another department. Our examination of the facts indicated that the financial results being shown were improperly presented and would not be achieved. We in the financial function challenged the transaction, and management took appropriate steps to clarify and properly reflect financial implications. But all this happens only when industry accountants step up to the plate and express the values of integrity and professionalism.
CPAJ: Most of you have been confronted with situations requiring a "gut- check" of your professional values. All went unnoticed, without fanfare.
What about quality of life since you left public accounting? Is it better? Do you have more time for yourself and your family?
Dignam: I left public accounting to increase my personal satisfaction in what I was doing. Since I left, the nature of my work has been such that my sense of contribution and involvement has been at a satisfying level. I work just as hard, I am away just as much, but my wife continues to notice how much happier I am. This is the right answer for me.
Hendler: I viewed my time in public practice as a training ground. But ultimately I wanted to specialize in corporate taxation at a level I just could not achieve in public. And so I departed to become employed in a corporate tax department. In this environment I could use the knowledge I gained from my MBA in taxation and get involved in matters such as tax planning and audits by tax authorities, in addition to return preparation.
Cherno: I left public because of a lack of personal choice. My life is not centered around my career. I obtain personal satisfaction from all that I do. I am not dependent on my work as the basis of whether my life is a success. I think I enjoy my work because of the things I do outside of the job. When I first went into public accounting my goal was to become a partner in a major firm. In looking back I don't understand how I felt that way. I am very pleased with what I'm doing now.
Molloy: I enjoyed public accounting very much--the collegial environment and the variety of the work. But I have found just as challenging and diverse assignments in the private sector. Life now is also much more predictable, which is better from my family's perspective. Secondly, I am able to influence decisions and work in partnership with business units to determine the financial impact of the business transactions and how best to structure them. Lastly I am simply happier in what I do. I am generating and bringing value to the company, rather than checking and reviewing what others have done.
Weissman: I was offered a position in private that was financially extremely attractive--so I took it. With hindsight, I perhaps left the profession too soon. I think I had a bright future, but didn't give it its full chance. Moving to private has allowed me to pursue a teaching career, which I truly enjoy and thrive upon. That first move, because it may set the pattern for future moves, is extremely important and must not be taken lightly.
Adamski: Today I am viewed as a business partner--a part of the business process. This is so much different than being greeted by a client as a person from the bowels of the earth seeking to find fault. I decide when and how I will accomplish my objectives. I can go home, have dinner with my family, and, because I have the tools at home, put in an hour or two on the computer after I have read a story to my son.
Scala: I work just as much as I did, but my choices are much different. For example, I now teach a course at Fordham University, which I would never have been able to do. I am able to allocate time to be coach of my son's little league team. The ability to influence decisions, to know that people rely on my judgements and input are very satisfying. The number of hours hasn't changed that much, its how and when the time is put in.
CPAJ: Any regrets.
Weissman: I have to express the one dissenting view. I am a public accountant at heart. In looking back I left too soon and didn't give its full measure. I express my continuing interest in the profession by staying active in the state society as well as my university involvement and encouragement that I offer to the young students in considering the profession of public accountancy as a worthwhile and viable field of employment.
Please don't misunderstand, I have had a financially successful career. But it has meant some movement to find continuing growth opportunities.
CPAJ: Final remarks?
Adamski: I would like the state societies and the AICPA to do more to change the image of the CPA, from the narrow, conservative, bean counter view that the world seems to have.
Scala: Yes, it is important that the profession be more active in enhancing the image of CPA.
Ahye: We have a perception war going on out there. We have to take charge of that and be the masters of our own destiny.
CPAJ: Thank you for joining us for this discussion. I see that being a CPA is very important to you. On the other side, you are very important to the profession. Let's do it together.
THE CPA IN INDUSTRY AND THE AICPA CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct provides guidance and rules to all its members, whether in public practice, industry, government, or education, in the performance of professional responsibilities. The AICPA Code consists of two sections--the Principles and the Rules. As stated in the preamble, the "Principles call for an unswerving commitment to honorable behavior, even at the sacrifice of personal advantage."
Some of the Principles and Rules are directed exclusively to CPAs in public practice, whereas others apply to all CPAs. Principles that would apply to all CPAs would include:
* Responsibilities--In carrying out their responsibilities as professionals, members should exercise sensitive professional and moral judgments in all their activities.
* The Public Interest--Members should accept the obligation to act in a way that will serve the public interest, honor the public trust, and demonstrate commitment to professionalism.
* Integrity--To maintain and broaden public confidence, members should perform all professional responsibilities with the highest sense of integrity.
* Objectivity--A member should maintain objectivity and be free of conflicts of interest in discharging profession responsibilities.
* Due Care--A member should observe the profession's technical and ethical standards, strive continually to improve competence and the quality of services, and discharge professional responsibility to the best of the member's ability.
Section 100 of the Rules--Independence, Section 200--General Standards Accounting Principles, and Section 300--Responsibilities to Clients would relate primarily to CPAs in public practice. Rule 501, Acts Discreditable, of Section 500--Other Responsibilities and Practices, would apply to the CPA in industry. Rule 501 states "A member shall not commit an act discreditable to the profession." Interpretations issued by the AICPA in support of the Rule that would apply to CPAs in industry deal with:
* Discrimination in employment practices; and
* Negligence in the preparation of financial statements or records.
CPAs are also bound by the code of conduct of the state society to which they belong and by state licensing requirements. The latter would generally relate solely to those providing professional services to the public.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
PETER J. ADAMSKI. After two years with a large national firm and obtaining my CPA credentials, I joined Johnson & Johnson where I have now been employed in one capacity or another for 14 years. I am currently the controller of a division and have had a happy run with J&J.
GILBERT E. AHYE. I spent six and one-half years with a large national firm. I moved to International Paper in an analytical role to broaden my perspective of American business. I joined American Express and ascended to the position of Treasurer of our North American operations. Last year because of problems in the Optima Card and the customer lending business I was asked to assume the position of Chief Financial Officer of Consumer Lending.
RONA CHERNO. My career in public accounting began after I went back to school to obtain a masters degree in accounting. I spent five years with a large national firm ending up in an audit advisory group. I especially enjoyed my work in the financial services area and left the firm to join a major bank. I was employed for seven years until becoming a victim of a downsizing program about two years ago. Now I spread my time as chief financial officer of three entities, Brookhill Equities and Global Executive Network Association, two very small broker dealers, and Elder Craftsmen, Inc., a not for profit which has many programs to help the those over 55.
ARTHUR DIGNAM. I started with a large national firm and, except for two years with the U.S. Army, was with them from 1967 to 1978. I then spent ten years with NBC in a variety of roles including CFO in the News and Technical Services Divisions. Three years ago I joined Panavision International, a then newly created company, as Chief Financial Officer.
HAROLD M. HENDLER. I started my career in public accounting, 25 years ago, with a medium-sized local firm. After a few years I moved into industry, specializing in corporate taxes. My present employer, Prime Hospitality Corp. has just emerged from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The tax problems associated with this have been a real challenge to me. I am also the editor of the CPA in Industry department of The CPA Journal.
MARY B. MOLLOY. I began my career with a large national firm and left after six years, having reached the position of audit manager. My experience was principally in mining, construction, and service industries. I had absolutely no experience in banking. I have been with Chase Manhattan Bank for eight years and am presently an advisor or consultant to other departments about the accounting ramifications of transactions and issues.
RALPH SCALA. My career began on the audit staff of a large national firm at which I remained for eight years. I then left to become the chief internal auditor of several companies including Gulf & Western Industries and Allied Stores Corporation. About six years ago I went to Petrie Stores and started its internal audit function. Petrie has about 1700 retail stores throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
IRA WEISSMAN. After obtaining a masters degree in finance I joined a large national firm. Several years later, I decided to move into the private sector, where I have been for the last 20 years, principally as chief financial officer of local, privately owned businesses in the apparel industry. In addition, I am an instructor for the Person Wolinsky CPA examination review school and an associate professor or adjunct at Hunter College, Pace University, Long Island University, and Rutgers University.
The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.
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