Tuesday, June 09, 2009

90th IMA Conference: Day 3--The Very Good, the Not-so-Good and the Quick (Books)

Another big day at the Denver conference--tomorrow will be shorter and the final day. My first session today probably was the best to date, Marianne Jennings of Arizona State did a very good (if somewhat convicting) session on ethics in business. She highlighted nine danger points regarding ethical behavior after citing dozens of businesses and government agencies who had ethical failure. Dr. Jennings included nine cautions: watch the pressure and stress; watch the rationalizations, watch the fear that silences; watch for complacency; watch out for conflicts (best option: don't do it; next best: disclose); watch and enforce rules; watch out for the intoxication of innovation; watch out for the belief in goodness (hello, Sam Antar) and watch out for ethical complexity and fog. One of the sobering parts of the talk is how EASY it is to lapse into subethical behavior and the equal ease of rationalizating or using euphemisisms for lapses.

Lunch was a chicken dinner similar to many served before with the luncheon speaker being Richard Lamm, former Colorado governor. Like David Walker yesterday, Gov. Lamm was no herald of cheer, warning that increased taxes, reduced government services and tough political decisions were inevitable. An interesting sideline--Gov. Lamm pointed out that while increased life expectancy was good for individuals; it complicated public policy. Had a good conversation with a CFO of a Sault Ste. Marie, MI fabricator about what can be done to make teaching of managerial accounting more relevant to the workplace.

I chose a seminar on Quick Books mistakes for the early afternoon session. Pam Newman unquestionably knew her stuff and probably should have easy enough to follow, but a combination of very limited familiarity with Quick Books and a post-luncheon slump meant that I was unable to get full value out of Ms. Newman's presentation.

The late afternoon session was somewhat disappointing to me--at least part of the reason is that I found the title of "Nonfinancial Role of the Finance Professional" somewhat misleading--a better title in my opinion would have been "Understanding and Improving Information and Document Flow." The speaker (David Giannetto)clearly knew what he was talking about, but I did not find him easy to understand and the pace limited question opportunities. Additionally, I think of nonfinancial factors as being things such as employee morale, human capital development and community reputation. By contrast, the speaker concentrated on information flow issues; certainly legitimate as a nonfinancial factor but far from the only such factor. Nevertheless, practitioners with better IT backgrounds may have found this seminar of value.


Blogger another71.com said...

Hi Dan,

Shoot me an e-mail when you get a chance...I can't find any contact info on your site for some reason...


10:57 AM  

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