Professor White with Ms. Masilina Rotuivaqali, an Assistant Lecturer in the USP School of Accounting and Finance. Professor White supervised Ms. Rotuivaqali's M.Com thesis."
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Accounting and Finance (SOAF) hosted a public lecture in memory of Professor Michael White at the Japan Pacific ICT Centre on 25 October, 2017.
Over 250 people, including senior members of the accounting profession, members of FIA, the USP community and the general public attended the lecture which was held in association with the Fiji Institute of Accountants (FIA).
Dr Nacanieli Rika, the Acting Head of School confirmed that the lecture will be an annual event, featuring a guest speaker from academia and industry in alternate years.
Dr Rika acknowledged the FIA as one of the School’s most important stakeholders, which provides accreditation for Accounting programmes at USP.
The annual lecture has been instituted in memory of the late Professor Michael White who contributed immensely to the accounting profession across the Pacific for over 30 years before he passed away in October 2016.
Professor White first joined USP in 1980 as a Lecturer in Accounting within the School of Social and Economic Development (SSED) and re-joined in 1995, serving as Head of School until 2000.
In 2004, USP introduced the new Faculty structure and Professor White became the first Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Business and Economics. He retired from USP in 2014 and subsequently taught postgraduate courses on a contract basis.
Professor White is highly regarded for his academic and professional contributions, particularly in the areas of accounting regulation, corporate governance and financial reporting.
In 1997, Professor White together with Professor Roman Grynberg and Doug Munro co-authored a book on the collapse of the National Bank of Fiji which Professor Grynberg describes as “an excellent effort at inter-disciplinary investigative research into an event that shaped the history of Fiji.”
USP postgraduate students in Professional accounting study this case as part of AF437 - Issues of Governance and Ethics in Accounting.
Professor White also contributed to the FIA by delivering numerous technical workshops and serving on committees for Standard Setting and Education, Membership and Admissions.
The inaugural lecture was delivered by Ms. Jenny Seeto, the Senior Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Fiji, who is a graduate of the School and served as the first female president of the FIA.
Ms. Seeto shared some warm memories of her long association with USP, from her student years in the 1970s to her later experience as a Fiji government representative on the USP Council where she worked closely with Mr. Savenaca Siwatibau while he was Pro-Chancellor.
In relation to corporate governance, Ms. Seeto stressed the need for directors to “give their best, stand up and do the right thing”.
At the same time, she highlighted that the way in which a message is communicated can have an important effect on the outcome of sensitive issues and situations.
“Therefore it is important for managers to think carefully about how they put their message across,” she stated.
Addressing younger members of the profession, Ms. Seeto emphasised the importance of mentorship and acknowledged the late Adam Dickson who had recognised her talent and mentored her.
She also encouraged members to grow sustainable relationships, maintain professional skepticism and remain analytical, critical and relevant.
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