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Research Forum Debates the Need to Improve Australia's Corporate Reporting Networks

14 Jul 2010

The need for more thoughtful structuring and auditing processes of Australian corporate groups and why so many companies get it wrong will be the theme of a research forum sponsored by the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Sydney on Thursday 15 July.

Professor Graeme Dean Chair of the faculty's Discipline of Accounting will draw on his recent research about deficiencies in accounting generally, and more specifically, the proposed new federal regulations about determining new constraints on paying company's dividend payments. He'll also discuss the amendment proposing relief in preparation and provision of a parent company's financial statements.

Professor Dean's research has found that the proposed legislative changes will result in significant changes in the way data is reported. For example when an ASIC class order deed of cross guarantee is in place the consolidated accounting data will not provide any financial statement of the position or performance of any constituent companies within a group. Only data about the 'economic group' will be provided. This, he says, has significant implications for interested parties - shareholders, creditors, employees.

Professor Dean will also highlight recent high profile business catastrophes to emphasise the need for commerce to have 'trust' in audited accounting information.

He will be joined by a panel of leading industry experts who will dissect solvency dilemmas such as the Bell Banks' group and One.Tel cases and the James Hardie asbestos conundrum.

Adjunct Professor Wayne Lonergan from Lonergan Edwards and Associated Ltd will facilitate the panel which includes:

  • Joycelyn Morton - Non-Executive Director Noni-B and Count Financial Ltd.
  • Charles Littrell - Executive General Manager, Policy, Research and Statistics, at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APR A);
  • Stuart Washington - Fairfax Business Journalist
  • Sandra van der Laan - Senior Lecturer Discipline of Accounting, Faculty of Economics and Business

Background on Graeme Dean

For nearly thirty five years, Professor Dean's research has comprised three main areas: an analysis of corporate failures and the role of accounting in those failures - as well as an analysis of optimal distributions in liquidations, public sector accounting and accounting for inflation. His latest major work (with Frank Clarke) Indecent Disclosure: Gilding the Corporate Lily (CUP 2007) was shortlisted for the prestigious Blake Dawson Business Literature Prize for 2007.