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Gupta recognized for SEC work

Parveen P. Gupta

Just one day after settling into his position as an Academic Fellow at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Parveen Gupta started keeping a journal of research and teaching innovation ideas stemming from his upcoming involvement in a few projects.

The goal was to keep a running list of topics he might be interested in learning more about.

It should come as no surprise, then, that a year and 10 pages later, Gupta returned to Lehigh University with a new outlook on the SEC and the changing dynamics of corporate accounting.

“The issues I was fortunate enough to work on in Washington could probably feed my research interests for more than six years to come,” says Gupta, who ended a year-long stint in the nation’s capital in July. “The lens through which I see accounting education has changed. It’s become a little more mature, balanced and practical.”

Gupta comes back to Lehigh having made significant contributions to the regulations that implement Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley law. This law was passed by the U.S. Congress in July 2002 in the wake of such financial scandals as Enron and WorldCom.

For these efforts, Gupta and his colleagues on the SEC’s Sarbanes-Oxley 404 team were recognized with the prestigious Law and Policy Award at the SEC’s Annual Awards ceremony.

The award was presented to Gupta by SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. The team was specifically recognized for developing “legal theories that respond to the nation’s changing capital markets, and … [demonstrating] dedication to the goals of the securities law through their untiring efforts on legislative issues.”

Gupta played an instrumental role in helping to craft the SEC's Management Guidance and revising the Internal Control Auditing Standard. He also reviewed registrant filings and regularly worked with the SEC’s Office of Chief Accountant on complicated accounting matters, such as revenue recognition, pensions, leases, derivatives and fresh start accounting.

“The capital markets are becoming global and, ultimately, we need to look at ways to modernize our regulatory system to protect the interests of investors while making it easier for companies in the U.S. to do business on a global scale,” he says. “We need to be more innovative in how we use the regulations to further promote capital formation in our country.”

A strong foundation for success

It’s a lesson he plans to take into the classroom and, just as importantly, into his new role as chair of Lehigh’s nationally renowned accounting department. He enters his 20th year at Lehigh with a promotion to full professor of accounting.

Gupta takes over for Kenneth Sinclair, who guided the accounting department for nearly two decades and now serves as special advisor to College of Business and Economics Dean Paul Brown.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of this program and to follow the tenure of Ken Sinclair, who worked tirelessly to raise the department’s profile among the academic accounting community,” Gupta says.

He has a supporter in Brown, who—as a past chair of the department of accounting, taxation and business law at New York University’s Stern School of Business—shared Gupta’s research interests in corporate governance and financial reporting and analysis.

“Parveen and his accounting colleagues here at Lehigh have really made a name for themselves in the accounting community and deserve all the attention they’ve been getting over the past few years,” Brown says. “Parveen is a great choice to lead the department and take it to the next level.”

In order to do that, Gupta is aggressively recruiting three to five tenure-track faculty to join his department within the next two years. He thinks the college’s recruiting campaign is important as the college tries to distinguish itself as a top-tier undergraduate program.

“I strongly believe that our accounting department has a very significant role to play in helping Paul realize his vision for the College of Business and Economics,” adds Gupta. “More than ever, I am convinced that skills learned through accounting education and training will continue to provide a strong foundation for success to business leaders of tomorrow.”

--Tom Yencho

Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2007

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