The Auditor's Contribution to Financial Reporting
by JOHN W. QUEENAN Partner, Executive Office
Presented before the Rotary Club of Memphis—December 1967
IF THE AMOUNT OF PUBLICITY devoted recently to accountants and accounting
problems is any criterion, we must conclude that there is, today, a new and growing interest in the accounting profession. We welcome
this interest. I believe, however, that it has come as a surprise to many people. It has even surprised newspapermen, who, more than most people, respond quickly to public interest. For instance, William Clark, who wrote a series of articles about the accounting profession in the Chicago Tribune earlier this year, said that, in the beginning, he wouldn't have given a plugged nickel for the chances of articles on accounting principles possessing a modicum of general interest. But then he found that as he talked with people in the business, the subject of accounting took on a new appeal.
GROWING INVESTING PUBLIC
For the most part, I believe this new interest in our profession is a natural result of the substantial increase in the number of people investing
in American and foreign businesses. To give you an idea of just how tremendous that increase has been, when Keith Funston became head of the New York Stock Exchange sixteen years ago, average daily trading volume was less than two million shares, and there were 6½ million stockholders in this country. This year, as Mr. Funston steps down, volume
has been averaging about 10 million shares daily. There are now an estimated 22 million shareholders in the United States, and the number has been growing by a million a year.
PUBLIC INTEREST IN ACCOUNTING
As this growing investing public concerns itself more and more with the increasingly complex financial affairs of business, its attention has very naturally turned to the accounting principles used in financial statements
of companies and to the role of the independent public accountants
whose opinions accompany those statements.
We accountants haven't done much to stimulate this attention. Bas-