Coupled with the various political conflicts unfolding around the world, those concerns are making everyone—companies, investors, consumers, employees—uneasy. Uneasiness, history has taught us, tends to dampen economic growth. CEOs today also point to the U.S.’s onerous regulatory environment and high corporate tax rate as crippling business growth and—by extension—economic growth.
At the same time, there is some merit in efforts to enact stronger controls, says Nusbaum, who acknowledges that accounting firms have benefited across the board from the need to comply with more stringent requirements, but also argues that those measures have helped curtail fraud. “Five years after Sarbanes-Oxley, if you asked CFOs—not CEOs—whether they were better off, they would say they were,” he says. They have better controls, better systems and less hassle from crazy ideas about derivatives. So some good has resulted from it. There’s no doubt in my mind that some good has also come from Dodd-Frank.
“Going forward, the challenge will be for both businesses and the accounting firms that service them to promote changes in regulation that can help businesses but still protect investors,” he adds. “Our role is to find out how we can benefit our clients; but more importantly, what’s right for the overall business community and the capital markets system.”