Keiter and Modern Day Accounting

Posted on 08.09.17

Keiter and Modern Day Accounting

By Olivia Prillaman, Keiter Tax and Business Assurance and Advisory Intern

On July 19th, Abraham Briloff, one of the founding fathers of modern day accounting, would have turned 100 years old. Briloff was a financial prophet of sorts: he called for reform and greater accountability years before the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed. He has been described as the “defender of his profession” and sought to educate the wider audience with his articles in Barron’s rather than just in scholarly journals. He wanted accounting to be a positive force that helped businesses to operate fairly and disclose information in a clear, transparent way.

Accounting has drastically changed as a profession from when Briloff obtained his CPA to when he eventually passed away in 2013. He lamented about the days where “accountants were professionals looking out for the public interest” since he viewed today’s accounting through the lens of the Arthur Andersen scandal and the great recession. It’s true that there are some companies that use unscrupulous methods to portray earnings as more favorable than they actually are and there are companies that act in ways that are not lawful. However, accounting in today’s society is making sure that financial statements are correct and usable by the company, the shareholders, and the public. Accountants help businesses of all sizes complete their tax returns and give advice about the riskiness of their processes.

Keiter is a company that shares values with Briloff. The Firm’s mission is to deliver outstanding client service, provide rewarding careers and support their communities. Through my internship this summer, I’ve seen that the Firm cares about doing the best job possible for its clients but also working hard to support its community. Keiter looks out for “the public interest”, aiming to help businesses make sure they are being accountable to their shareholders, employees and the public. Keiter is in the Richmond community to enrich the area, not just to make a profit. The Firm’s employees support many Richmond non-profits, from Maymont to Junior Achievement. Accounting may have changed from Briloff’s ideal, but there are those who still “defend the profession” and truly keep the public’s interest at heart.