The 3rd General Membership Meeting of The Association of Certified Public Accountants in Commerce and Industry was held last May 17, 2012 at the Bahia Room, Penthouse Lounge of the Hotel Intercontinental Manila in Ayala, Makati City.
Three guest speakers were invited to deliver lectures on a variety of topics: Mr. Rex C. Drilon, II, President of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and Ms. Ma. Filomena S. Hopilos, Managing Consultant of Punongbayan and Araullo for the two technical sessions, and Dr. Noel C. Racho, Director for Human Resources of Miriam College for the Luncheon Meeting.
In the first technical session, Mr. Drilon II discussed the subject Corporate Governance: New Trends and Best practices. He shared to the members what the world thinks about the Philippines in terms of Corporate Governance and our ranking vis-à-vis with our Asian counterparts based on the CG Watch Market Scores 2010 vs. 2007 as released by the Asia Corporate Governance Association. Sadly, our country was at the tail end. The good news, however, was that based on the World Economic Forum 2011 Competitiveness Report, the Philippines’ overall CG scores have moderately improved.
Apart from his organization ICD, Mr. Drilon also introduced to the members the different groups which have been in the forefront of promoting CG reforms in the country like the The Governance Commission for Government Owned and Controlled Corporation (GCG), Institute of Directors in East Asia (IDEA.Net), Good Governance Advocates and Practitioners of the Philippines (GGAPP) and The Shareholders Association of the Philippines (Sharephil).
Also, the ICD President presented best practices that could equip companies in achieving improved CG like robust internal audit and control system, enterprise wide-risk management, integrity of financial reports and the external auditing function, and disclosure and transparency, and their impact to the comptrollers and accountants. In the end, he surmised that “poverty eradication is the ultimate end of Corporate Governance and Competitiveness, and beyond being governance warriors is being patriots on the streets and being patriots in the board room”.
Ms. Hopilos talked about the Role of Accountants in Fraud Detection and Management in the second technical session. In this lecture, the ACPACI participants gained and improved their knowledge and understanding of fraud, its definition and elements; the factors why a fraud is committed; the portrait of a fraudster; red flags and symptoms of fraud; tools and techniques, best practices and approaches to detect and manage fraud and to successfully prosecute the perpetrator(s) plus the different measures to prevent fraud.
She also explained in details the different roles and responsibilities of the different personalities of the company like the Board of Directors, the management, the internal and external auditors, the fraud investigators, and company employees in fraud detection and prevention. In summary, she said that fraud was indeed a global problem in terms of high costs and number of cases; although the management was the primary responsible, everybody in the company played an important role in detecting and preventing fraud and the existence of a thorough control system was essential to fraud prevention.
The topic Balancing Life and Work was discussed by the humorous Dr. Racho during the lively Luncheon Meeting. He started his talk by quoting the famous 30-second speech of Bryan Dyson, former Coca Cola President and CEO:
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.
Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest. Value has a value only if its value is valued.”
According to Dr. Racho, our increasing fast-paced and competitive world made the employees search for work-life balance more and more elusive. He enumerated various reasons why people work like providing basic needs of the family, and work being the core of existence and a vehicle for fulfillment. Dr. Racho emphasized the things that truly matter to the Filipino workers based on surveys: family, relationship, friends, work and career, personal development, spirituality and health.
He discussed the stress of juggling work and family, the different sources of stress, the consequences of stress, and ways of managing and coping stress. He altruistically shared his personal experiences with regards to maintaining a balanced work and life. He discussed his struggles as a father to a son and a daughter; the things he did and the choices he made when his daughter threw a tantrum when he failed to witness her grade school graduation; the fatherly advice he gave to his son who was on the verge of manhood, among others.
At the latter portion of his presentation, Dr. Racho cited the different wellness programs instituted in Miriam College to help its employees achieve a good work/life balance. He gave tips for a better balance such as managing time around priorities, getting support from colleagues and boss, delegating assignments, being efficient and making time and space for oneself, which Dr. Racho aptly labeled as “me time”.
Truly, listening to the lecture of Dr. Racho was a collective uplifting experience. The audience felt it. His stories were so funny (yet poignant) that the members were giggling/chortling practically every minute. “Churvah” and “thunders and lighting”, referring to the elderly and senior citizens, were the words of the day.
Also, during the GMM, the members were invited to join the ACPACI’s annual family outing in Camp Pugad, Silang, Cavite which was to be held, by then, on May 19, 2012, two days after the 3rd GMM. The emcee for the occasion was Mr. Jayson M. Ayson, ACPACI Director for Fellowship and Sports.