Jim Copeland, CEO of Deloitte & Touche
This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, August 16, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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BRENDA BUTTNER, GUEST HOST: From bankruptcies to companies cooking the books, it's never been a busier time for accounting firms. Just ask our next guest. Jim Copeland is the CEO of Deloitte & Touche. He joins us now from Cleveland, Ohio. Jim, thanks so much for joining us.
JIM COPELAND, CEO, DELOITTE & TOUCHE: It's a pleasure to be here.
BUTTNER: Well, it must be tough times to be an auditor. I mean, they're almost as reviled as, say, CEOs or even baseball players today.
COPELAND: Yes, you should try being a CEO of a CPA firm. That's sort of the worst of all worlds.
BUTTNER: How do you turn around basically consumer sentiment, because you've got to do that in order for your firms to flourish?
COPELAND: Absolutely. I think at the end of the day, this is all about performance. And when all the talking is over and we have done whatever we're going to do with regulations and with laws, it really boils down to our just doing a better job day after day. And we're working hard on that. We're doing all that we can to assure the investing public that, you know, we're going to be doing a better job and we're going to be working hard at continuous improvement.
BUTTNER: Exactly what Arthur Andersen would have said though.
COPELAND: Well, you know, I think, again, what we say probably doesn't matter so much as what we do. And we're working hard at going through a process of self-improvement. For years, we have offered business compliance and ethics consulting to the general market. And we have now become our own client. We have our specialists in that area working at our own firm, you know, looking at the way we do business, to see if there are things that we can do to encourage even better performance out of our professionals.
BUTTNER: Now, ironically, actually, fees are up quite substantially, aren't they? I read some figures that they were up by as much as 20 percent in the auditing profession.
COPELAND: Well, I think it is too early to tell what impact the changes will have on auditing fees. But I do believe that they will probably be less downward pressure on fees from audit committees than we have seen in the past.
BUTTNER: So they are up? I mean, are you seeing more money coming into your firm?
COPELAND: It's too early to see any impact from the changes that have occurred in the market, post-Enron. But my expectation would be that audit committees will be a lot more concerned about the quality of what we do and the scope of what we do and the risk that we're dealing with as opposed to the fees that we're charging.
BUTTNER: And, right now, your auditing and consulting are separate?
COPELAND: We're in the process of separating Deloitte consulting.
COPELAND: We've been separate, you know, in a limited way for years.
BUTTNER: I'm sorry, sir. I'll just have to take your yes for that. I appreciate that.
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