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Finding the Corporate Story Often Hidden In the Numbers

Al Ghosh

Professor Aloke (Al) Ghosh's work was recently showcased in a special issue of CUNY's Salute to Scholars magazine that featured CUNY Faculty Dream Makers (see pages 24 and 25).

ALOKE (AL) GHOSH, an accounting professor at Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business, says he "sits on the border territory of accounting and finance, with a forensic eye."

He received a 2016 Fulbright Distinguished Chair Award, reserved for what Fulbright calls "eminent scholars." Over the next two years, he will conduct research with a cross-disciplinary group of Finnish scholars into the banking industry, the quality of audits and cross-country variations in corporate governance. He also will lecture and lead seminars for doctoral students and faculty at Aalto University in Finland.

At Baruch, his repertoire includes teaching challenging accounting courses required for the CPA Exams. His goal is to help students become proficient in diverse accounting standards and practices while teaching them how to parse corporate financial statements.

Under U.S. laws, publicly traded companies must report their financial status. "I specialize in detecting the quality of those financial statements, and what you can discern about a company from them. Accounting is dense and often complex and tricky. The common parlance may be a red flag to something a company is trying to hide, but the numbers often tell a hidden story."

Ghosh ranges more widely on his blog,, which is read by business-oriented academics and accounting practitioners. It offers concise case studies of financial smoke, mirrors and skullduggery, along with thoughts on overlapping topics in accounting, finance and economics.

Take the 2016 scandal when the Swiss attorney general revealed that $4 billion had been misappropriated from state-owned companies in Malaysia — including more than $1 billion swallowed by the prime minister's personal bank account.

His post details how the transactions occurred, then provides the bigger picture: "Emerging markets and less developed countries must rely on reputation to attract much needed private and public funds to spur economic development. Therefore, the costs to society from corruption … are disproportionately higher than [in] wealthier countries. Yet, much too often, the most egregious cases of corruption are confined to poorer countries. Because of the massive benefits of corruption, there are few incentives to institute legal and enforcement structures to confront corruption … which in turn hinders economic development."