CFOs Still Feeling Pressure from Above

News Brief

By: Cydney Posner

You might be interested in the results of a survey of 179 CFOs recently conducted by CFO Magazine to assess progress in the aftermath of Enron and progeny. Nearly half - 47% - of those surveyed reported that they still feel pressure from their superiors to use aggressive accounting to make results look better. Of those who have felt pressure in the past, only 38% think there is less pressure today than there was three years ago, and 20% say there is more. The CFOs identified personal greed, weak boards of directors and overbearing CEOs as top causes of the corporate scandals.

With respect to confidence levels generally, few finance executives expressed much confidence in the numbers of other companies. Only 27% indicated that, if they were investing their own money, they would feel "very confident" about the quality and completeness of information available about public companies. (The rest were either "somewhat confident" or "not confident.")

The only positive note here is that, while 3/4 of the CFOs surveyed believed that SOX has made their jobs more difficult, 77% responded that the law makes it easier to resist pressure from a superior to misrepresent results.

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