The first few years of the 21st century were challenging for the accounting profession. From 2000 to 2003, an unprecedented number of scandals were exposed from companies like Computer Associates, Xerox, Enron, Duke Energy, HealthSouth, Global Crossing, WorldCom, AOL, and their auditors, ad nauseam.
Naturally, the 24-hour news cycle was riddled with images of CFOs in handcuffs and details of their fraudulent financial reporting. Public trust toward the accounting and finance industry was at a new low.
But David Costello, president of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), knew there was another story in the accounting profession that the media was missing, a much larger one: the vast majority of CPAs, firms and businesses around the country—many of whom he worked with on a daily basis—were still showing up to work each day and providing upstanding, honest and ethical service to the public.
Compelled by the negative impact that a small percentage of executives were making on the reputation of the accounting profession, Costello enlisted the support of more than 160 individuals and organizations to found the NASBA Center of the Public Trust (CPT) with a mission: to champion the public trust by advancing ethical leadership in business, institutions and organizations.
The CPT is principally about good news, good people and good companies. By developing, encouraging, acknowledging and promoting ethical leadership, the CPT aims to help American businesses and accounting professionals regain the public’s trust, improve their ethical decision-making abilities, and highlight them for being leaders who are trustworthy, ethical, and being a difference in their businesses and communities.