MARG London School of Economics Conference
A conference to be attended today at London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE).
I reached at around 9:00 am at Holborn Tube Station and then started walking towards LSE. LSE is at a walking distance from Holborn Tube Station in London. One finds range of shops on the road. Right from road-side stores selling newspapers, scarves, bags, etc. to chain of leading multinational brands. Passing through the Peacock Theatre, I finally reached the Old Building of LSE.
Several visits to LSE that I have made till now have made me learn various things. I suddenly realized that I visit almost twice a month (sometimes even 4 times!) in last 2 years. It seems to be at ‘GNYAAN KI PARAB’ in Hindi language which nearly means ‘at the place of knowledge’ (sorry I could not recall more appropriate English word for ‘PARAB’).
Lastly, I visited LSE on 10th March during presentation made by the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Mr. Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim during which the chair was none other then the Director of LSE, Prof. Howard Davies. This was at Hong Kong Theatre (where one finds a statue of an Indian political leader and architect of the Constitution of India, Dr. B R Ambedkar), in Clement House.
After entering into the Old Building and passing through gallery of pictures of Noble Laureates, I checked on the electronic notice boards to confirm the venue. Yes everything was fine and as per schedule I had. I reached the 6th Floor and completed formalities at the Registration desk and collected the conference kit.
Since I was a bit early, I was browsing the interiors of the lounge. Beautiful Victorian style furniture and oil painted paintings including landscapes and portraits. I realized that these portraits were actually of professors and leaders of LSE which were painted by various artists. This was awesome and so admiring that a university library has portraits of its professors and leaders displayed on the wall. To my view, this is a symbol of utmost respect. This is the first time I have seen in my life till now. I do have seen a photo of a renowned scientist Dr. Vikram Sarabhai in the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, (IIMA) in India since he founded the institute but not yet seen any portraits of other professors and leaders in IIMA or in any other university till now. May be, I have not seen all the rooms in many universities till now.
There were tables serving tea, coffee and cookies and so I had my cup of flavoured tea – strawberry. Meanwhile, a couple of my old associates turned up and we mingled with each other. Couple of new introductions and couple of old associations and we spent some time knowing about each other and about our current works. I realised that more then 50% of the participants in this conference were from industry. There were professional directors, CEOs, finance heads, management accountants, academicians, directors of universities and a few students too in the conference. Participants represented various sorts of organizations such as (in alphabetical order):
ABN Amro Bank
American Express Bank
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
Copenhagen Business School
Cranfield School of Management
Delioitte & Touche LLP
Foresters Friendly Society
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
International Federation of Accountants
Leeds Building Society
London Metropolitan University
London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
London Southbank University
Manchester Business School
Manchester Metropolitan University
Said Business School
Thomas Miller & Co.
Transport for London
Tuck School of Business
University of Bristol
University of Glasgow
University of Salford
There were stalls of professional organizations in the field of accounting and finance. The stalls were of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). There were representatives from both the organizations and they were distributing leaflets and booklets to promote their respective organizations. They were also distributing their research reports and white papers. Needless to mention, that many of the reports that they were distributing are very expensive ones but they were doing for free. In fact, this entire conference was jointly sponsored by CIMA and ICAEW.
What I really admire is the linkages between universities and professional bodies. This is worth appreciating that CIMA and ICAEW are partnering and sponsoring activities of LSE.
The conference started at 9:30 am at Shaw Library which is located on the 6th floor of the Old Building on Portugal Street. The Chairman of the conference was none but a guru and an authority in management control and business performance measurement area – Prof. Michael Bromwich, Professor at LSE. He welcomed all the participants and briefly introduced the conference. The main them for the conference was ‘Risk Management, Cybersecurity and Financial Control’.
Since I received a detailed schedule of this conference last week, I was eager to listen to the presentation of my guru and role model Prof. John Shank from Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth, USA. He was to make a presentation today on ‘Merging Financial and Management Accounting: Strategic Cost Management and Enterprise Risk Assessment under SOX’ (co-author: Prof. Joseph San Miguel). To my utter shock (and equally for all the participants), the chair of the conference Prof. Michael Bromwich (MB) announced that Prof. John Shank expired last week. This was very sad to know. God bless his soul and my prayers are with his family. MB requested all the participants to observe silence for a while for him and we all did so.
Very kind of the family members of Prof. Shank that they passed on his paper to us and we received it in our conference kit. This seems to be a very thought provoking paper on application of strategic cost management to tackle issues raised out of recent legislation of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) in the US.
The conference presentations included the following: (in order of time):
Mike Power, Professor at LSE on ‘Organizing Uncertainties: Operation & Reputation Risk Management Compared’.
Lawrence Gordon, Professor at University of Maryland on ‘Risk Management & Cybersecurity: A Management Accounting/Financial Accounting Perspective’.
Richard Sharman, KPMG on ‘Industry views of Risk’.
Bill Connell, CIMA Distinguished Practitioner on ‘Strategic Risk’.
All the presentations of during the conference were fantastic. They were all powerful and path breaking ideas and contemporary practices. Unfortunately, I don’t have PowerPoint slides soft copy otherwise I would have uploaded the same.
In between these presentations, there was also a lively and pragmatic panel discussion. And in between there was also an announcement made by Prof. Peter Miller, the head of Accounting Department of LSE that Prof. Michael Bromwich is retiring.
Overall, it was rich learning during the time spent at LSE.