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Wharton Impact Tour: São Paulo 2023

Jennifer Blouin and Dean James Peer into the Future of Accounting and Taxation

Next year, the Wharton Global Forum will bring a constellation of alumni from across the world to São Paulo, one of Latin America’s most entrepreneurial cities.

In recognition of the city’s impact on business creation — and the concentration of Wharton alumni who call Brazil’s capital home — alumni joined Dean Erika James and Jennifer Blouin, Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management, at the latest stop of the Wharton Impact Tour.

“Accounting is at the heart of every business,” said James in conversation with Blouin about the critical role of accounting in corporate governance.

In addition to discussing the potential for artificial intelligence to revolutionize the field, by searching for patterns in data, Blouin and James also touched on the role of accounting in corporate scandals, from the collapse of multi-billion-dollar Brazilian retailer Americanas, earlier this year, to the demise of Enron.

“Accounting is more than just numbers,” said Blouin, who pointed out that disclosures to stakeholders, ranging from regulators to investors, play a crucial role in ensuring transparency in the market. “You have to read deeper than the face of the financial statements,” she added. “It’s like the ultimate sudoku puzzle.”


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