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School Joins CFO Magazine as Academic Sponsor for New Miami Conference

December 16, 2011
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DJ Nanda, a professor of accounting (left), with panelists George L. Pita (BBA ’83) and Patricia Souza (MBA ’11).

The School of Business was front and center as nearly 200 CFOs and other senior finance executives gathered in Miami in early December to gain insight into the unique growth opportunities and challenges they will face as the economy recovers. The School was the academic sponsor for the CFO Playbook for Private Companies Conference which focused on topics facing senior finance executives of small and midsized businesses (SMB) such as the CFO/CEO relationship, navigating the politics of family business, mastering the art of negotiation and measuring the impact of innovation.

DJ Nanda, a professor of accounting at the School, moderated an interactive round table case study, “To Disclose or Not to Disclose- An Ethical (Faustian) Dilemma.” The controversial case study placed CFOs in a hypothetical dilemma as they deliberated whether to disclose information to customers, owners and potential venture capitalists regarding the identification of a compliance problem with a supplier.

Round table participants included James Cline, CFO of United Data Technologies Inc., George L. Pita (BBA ’83), EVP and CFO of Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC and Patricia Souza (MBA ’11), market strategy manager for INTCOMEX.

The three agreed that getting to the root of the problem is essential, as well as knowing whether such a problem is an isolated incident.

Pita stressed the importance of keeping a paper trail and knowing what to disclose to whom and when.

“As a CFO, you’re ripe for criticism if you haven’t thought about these things,” he said.

While all three placed considerable weight on honesty with employees, stakeholders and board members, they most agreed on waiting as long as possible to disclose.

“Coming forward with incorrect or incomplete information would be just as negative for your company,” said Cline.

Both participants and audience members concluded, however, that positive outcomes could result from every situation.

“You can always move forward, put new bounds in place and give a positive spin while looking to the future,” said Souza.

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