Chief executives of two of the nation’s largest accounting firms spoke at Fordham in October and November, telling students that the profession is in the midst of a “global war for talent” and highlighting the importance of integrity in a business that has been rocked by controversy in recent years.
Timothy P. Flynn, chairman and chief executive of KPMG, LLP, and Barry Salzberg, managing partner of Deloitte & Touche USA, LLP, spoke to Fordham business students on Oct. 27 and Nov. 2, respectively, each addressing the state of the profession to packed audiences of students, faculty and administrators.
Flynn told students that ethics and integrity are not negotiable. They are not something that can be adjusted case-by-case or client-by-client, and he reminded students that integrity is always within an individual’s control.
“I am often asked what it takes to succeed in business,” he told the gathering in Flom Theater at the Walsh Family Library. “I would tell people that it takes hard work, a little bit of luck and taking advantage of some breaks when they come your way.”
“There is also one thing I recently also add to the discussion and maybe I took it for granted when I first started out,” Flynn said, “it is operating at the highest level of integrity.”
Salzberg, meanwhile, told students that in recent years he has gone out of his way to understand their generation, so called Generation Y. The reason, he said, is because Generation Y now makes up 30 percent of the population and by 2010 will outnumber both Baby Boomers and Generation X.
“As a leader, I have to think about all of the old timers and the newcomers, minorities and women, everyone in our organization,” Salzberg said. “Frankly, that’s the part of the job I love the absolute best… . It’s my job to create the kind of place where differences become powerful strengths, where everyone in the organization matters.”
“In that sense, my organization, which is a partnership, is like a family and today with your generation, Generation Y, there is a whole new twist to this family saga,” Salzberg said. “You may not know it but in our house your generation has shaken things up quite a bit, raised big questions, forced hard decisions, and no wonder, you are different. You are digital, multitasking, diverse, globally minded and socially networked,” he said.